What are two five letter words that pet owners never want to think about? Ticks and fleas of course! Unfortunately, as the weather warms up, flea and tick populations increase and become an unpleasant reality. How can you tell if your pet has fleas or ticks and what can you do when faced with this situation?
Not to worry, Morris Animal Inn has got you covered with the best advice on handling this situation.
There are three different types of ticks prevalent in New Jersey: the deer tick, the Lone star Tick, and the American Dog tick. Deer ticks are the smallest and are black in color. The deer tick is a transmitter of Lyme disease. The American Dog tick is much larger in size, looks like a white or grey kernel of corn when engorged, and is the tick that is most frequently encountered. The American Dog Tick can be a transmitter of the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The Lone star tick can be identified by the white spot on its back but is less common in this area.
Fleas appear as small red or black dots about the size of a pinhead and can be found on any part of the body, but tend to congregate around the neck and tail area of cats and dogs.
Ticks tend to favor wooded areas with overgrown grass. After every hike or walk with your dog, take the time to diligently scan his or her body for ticks. Use a brush or a flea/tick comb to slowly comb through the hair. If any fleas or ticks were on your dog’s body, it would get trapped in the fine tines of the comb. It is important to speak with your veterinarian about the best preventative measure but for owners convenience Morris Animal Inn carries Frontline for all size dogs and would be happy to administer the application.
What do you do if you find a tick on your dog’s body? Use tweezers to pull the tick straight out, do not twist. Try not to grab the tick’s body but rather the mouthparts attached to your pet. Drop the tick in a jar of alcohol to kill it. If you want to be sure it is not a disease carrying deer tick, bring the tick preserved in alcohol to your local veterinarian to have it examined. Simply flushing a tick down the toilet will not kill it. Clean the bite wound with antiseptic.
Fleas are less dangerous than ticks but are much more annoying. As soon as a flea sucks blood it is able to reproduce and will soon lay eggs. To completely eradicate fleas from your pet and your home it is crucial to wash all bedding where your dog or cat sleeps in hot soapy water. Vacuum the entire house making sure to focus on baseboards and the corners of every room. Seal the vacuum bag in a plastic trash bag and either freeze it or pour flea powder into the bag to ensure the fleas do not return and then dispose in an outdoor trash receptacle. It may take several weeks to entirely wipe out those pesky fleas so continue to wash bedding, rugs, and pillows and become a vigilant with your vacuuming. If these natural solutions prove ineffective after several weeks, it may be time to invite an exterminator over. Just make sure that whatever fogger or spray is used contains an IGR, or insect growth regulator, to exterminate the flea in all its life cycles, from larva to adult.
To remove fleas from Fluffy or Fido, wash them in hot soapy water. There are many natural remedies out there that you may want to try before resorting to flea shampoos which contain harsh chemicals but may later prove to be necessary. Discuss your options with your veterinarian to determine the best and safest solution for your pet. If needed, Morris Animal Inn does provide flea shampooing.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be able to show any tick or flea whose boss!
What tick and flea remedies have you found most effective?