Fleas and Ticks – Preparing Your Pet for Summer

Temperatures are steadily getting milder, and spring is now most definitely upon us. This is a great time of year to enjoy the weather and be more active outside with our dogs once again. Unfortunately however, as the mercury rises it is important to protect your dog from fleas and ticks. We have had a particularly mild winter, and spring so far has also been fairly warm, so being proactive is particularly relevant.

There are numerous ways to treat and prevent these bothersome pests. If you do not use prescription flea and tick treatments all year round, now is the time to start with topical applications of “spot-on” pipette formulas or tablets. These should kill any fleas and ticks that your dog comes into contact with before they have a chance to spread. They also work by sterilising the flea, halting its life cycle. Try to invest in a combined tick and flea treatment if possible, and always purchase either through a vet or through a licenced trader.

 Fleas

Fleas are the most common external parasite to affect your dog. They can carry diseases and fleas can more commonly cause dermatitis, as many dogs are allergic to flea saliva. It is therefore vital to check and treat your dog regularly. As well as using a prescription treatment, you should use a comb to monitor your dog’s coat, especially around areas such as the belly and tail. This allows you to identify any problems quickly.

If you do find any fleas in your dog’s coat, wash the animal with some insecticidal shampoo such as Vetzyme JDS. This should kill any fleas on the dog. You can also use Groomers Ridasect as your regular dog shampoo, which includes a powerful insect repellent.

Ticks

Ticks can be brown, black, red or tan in colour. Initially the size of a pinhead, tick can grow to the size of a small pea as the fill with blood. Tick are often found around the face and neck. You can remove ticks yourself at home, but approach with caution, as you must ensure the tick does not leave its mouthpiece behind, which can cause infection.

If you are confident, ticks need removing immediately. Do not use alcohol or attempt to burn the tick off, as this can make the tick bury itself deeper into the skin. Also, be careful not to squeeze or squash the tick as this can cause them to release toxins back in to the bloodstream if they are attached. Use tweezers, or a specifically designed tick remover, and always use gloves. If you are concerned however, you should consult your vet, who can teach you how to complete the process.

The easiest way to remove a tick is using a tick pick, which slides inbetween the body and the head of the tick and allows safe removal without squashing. Do this slowly and carefully by running the pick flat along in line with the body, do not pull upwards and no need to do it quickly.

Things to Consider

  • Always use gloves when applying tick and flea products.
  • Check when using topical flea and tick products (such as shampoos and sprays) that they will not interact with your dog’s prescription flea treatment. If in doubt, consult your vet.
  • Start using Ridasect shampoo now, especially if your dog spends a lot of time in rough country or areas where there are lots of other dogs.
  • If you need to de-flea your dog, ensure you wash your dog’s bed and any soft toys, hoover your carpet, and use an appropriate insecticide throughout the house. If you do not tackle all areas of the dog’s environment simultaneously it is difficult to successfully break the cycle.
  • Put a flea collar or a cloth soaked in flea spray in your hoover. This should kill any fleas living in the bag.

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