Preventing Fleas and Ticks on Dogs, Cats and Other Pets
As a pet owner, you know it is important to provide your pet with regular exercise, a nutritious diet and lots of love and affection. But you also have a responsibility to protect your pet from health risks, such as those posed by pests. Ticks and fleas can make your pets – and you – sick and can lead to infestations in your home.
Ticks can be especially dangerous for pets, including animals that spend any amount of time outdoors, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses.
Ticks can also cause “tick paralysis” in pets. Tick paralysis occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord, causing muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
The best way to protect your pets and your home from common household pests is to prevent an infestation before it ever happens. Luckily, there are many steps pet owners can take to protect their pets from pests like fleas and ticks:
- After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly. Brush their coat to remove any debris or insects. Be especially vigilant if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses, where pests thrive.
- Bathe dogs regularly, using a shampoo that can kill pests.
- Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks or red, itchy skin. Excessive scratching is a good indicator that they have skin irritations.
- If your pet has long hair, consider having them groomed in the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are most prevalent. Not only will this help to prevent insects from latching onto their long hair and help you to spot any that do, it will also help to keep your pet cool during the warmest time of the year.
- Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet
- Wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls and sleeping areas on a regular basis
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free to deter pest infestations and make it easy to spot any pests that do find their way indoors. Vacuum frequently and wash linens on a regular basis
- Keep your lawn cut short and gardens well maintained to prevent breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to extract the head and mouthparts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the consult of a veterinarian.
- If you suspect your home is infested with ticks or fleas, contact a licensed pest professional.
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