When we ask pet parents what they have been dreading the most during summer, fleas and ticks are one of the biggest concerns. Though these insects are not just a summer problem, the temperature and humidity of a region are some of the factors affecting their presence.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small parasitic insects that jump onto the skin and coat of pets and feed on their blood. Flea bites can cause skin irritation on your dog. Heavy flea infestations can cause serious problems including anemia in both puppies and dogs. Dogs can also develop severe allergies to flea bites (called flea allergy dermatitis). Just one flea bite will be enough to set off days of scratching, loss of fur and cause skin sores which can be very painful for your dog.
What are the signs of flea infestation?
- Abnormal scratching: Itching is a sure sign of flea infestation. If you’ve found your dog scratching uncontrollably, there could be fleas on your dog or around your house and you could be dealing with a major infestation.
- Unusual red patches on the skin: Flea bite saliva can also be allergenic for some dogs and cats. These allergic reactions need not be exclusive to the bitten body part either. Flea bite hypersensitivity can cause rashes or lesions anywhere on the body.
Pale gums: Pale gums is a common sign of anemia and can be an indication your pet has a serious case of flea infestation. This is due to the amount of new red blood cells produced by your pet is not sufficient enough to combat the loss of blood fleas are extracting from the animal.
- Flea dirt: "Flea dirt" which is flea feces can also signal that there is a flea problem. It looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin’s surface.
- Fur loss: A flea infestation may lead to loss of fur as dogs may also pull out some of its hair due to the continuous biting or licking of the flea bite areas.
How can I protect my dog from fleas?
Here are some ways to help you minimize and prevent ticks and fleas on your dogs:
Spot Ons: Spot-ons are an effective way to prevent ticks and fleas on your doggos. Spot-on pipettes need to be applied between their shoulder blades. It is necessary to apply the spot-on on their shoulder blades so that it is out of their reach, and that they don't swallow the medicine. Read on the backside of the product to know about how frequently you should be applying the spot-on for optimum results.
Sprays: Flea and tick sprays can be used on your pet's fur as well as on your furniture at home for the prevention of fleas and ticks. Before leaving your home, spray your dog's coat with the spray to keep the ticks and fleas out, some sprays also have natural fragrances to keep your dog smelling good.
Shampoos: There is a wide range of tick and fleas preventing shampoos that get rid of ticks & fleas, and also soothes and reduces hot spots and itchy, dry or irritated skin. This is caused by fleabites and dandruff on your dog's coat from any itchiness caused by the parasites. Tick and flea shampoos use natural ingredients to keep their coats soft, plush & shiny.
When using the shampoo, do not dilute it with water. Rub and lather the shampoo well across your pet's coat and rinse well avoiding their eyes and mouth.
Oils: Oils are a soothing way to get rid of any itchiness and irritation to your pets. Oils help strengthen joints and bones and improve their coat shine and softness. Massage oils are also a great way to calm your pet down.
Giving your pet a massage will also help you bond with them.
Grooming Tools: You can use brushes and combs to remove any excess hair and dry skin from your dog's coat. This also helps prevent ticks and fleas from hurting your furry baby coat. Trimming their hair with a blunt-nosed scissor also helps to prevent fleas and ticks.
Another fuss free way to prevent fleas and ticks is to attach an ultrasonic flea and tick repeller on your pet’s collar to keep them at bay.
There is a wide range of organic and natural products that help reduce itchiness and red spots caused by the parasites.
Petsy tips and tricks:
- Continue to inspect and comb weekly to monitor a flea infestation on your dog.
- If you have a flea infestation on your dog, there’s a good chance you will be fighting one in your home and yard because fleas lay eggs on your dog that fall off when they sleep on your sofa, lounge in your bedroom or roam around your backyard. So a few extra steps to treat your home and yard can give you some extra peace of mind.
Petsy recommends you to consult a vet before treating your pup with an oral medication.