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How to Protect Your Pets from Ticks and Fleas

Your furry family members like spending as much time outside as you do. Unfortunately, some bugs, like ticks and fleas, take advantage of this. They hop onto your pet in order to use them as a host. This can cause problems for your pets. Check out what you can do to keep your pets safe from ticks and fleas.

Protecting Pets from Ticks and Fleas Infographic

Ticks

Tick

Ticks are arachnids that feed on the blood of their hosts. They have flat, oval bodies. They prefer areas that are wooded or contain vegetation. They begin to emerge when temperatures rise. While they enjoy the warmth, they look for spaces with moisture and shade. Ticks are known to target humans, but some species prefer dogs as their host. The American dog tick and the brown dog tick are the ticks most likely to be found on your dogs. American dog ticks are brown with gray markings. They will grow to be about 5 mm. Brown dog ticks can reach about 1/8″ in size and have a reddish-brown body. Though typically small, when a tick feeds, its body will swell. Even though dogs are more frequently targeted because they spend more time outside, cats can become a host for a tick.

Fleas

Flea

Fleas are one of the most common pests that give your pets a fit. They require a host to obtain their blood meal. Fleas will use a variety of creatures as a host, but they tend to target dogs and cats. They have powerful legs that they use to hop onto a host. Fleas have a flat body that can range in color from reddish-brown to black. They are usually 1/12″-1/6″ in length. Cat fleas are the species that most commonly end up in homes. They can be brownish-black or black and are about 1/8″ long. Though cat fleas are more common, dog fleas have no problem invading your home. They are similar in appearance to cat fleas with a brownish-black or black body. Fleas multiply quickly and can infest your bedding, furniture, and even your clothing.

Check for Ticks and Fleas

 Checking for ticks

One of the best things you can do to help protect your pets is to regularly check for ticks and fleas. Any time your pet spends time outside, take the time to look them over. Ticks have a few favorite hiding spots on dogs. Examine in and around their ears, around eyelids, under their collar, their tail, and legs. Ticks will latch on to similar places on cats. Make sure to examine their face, neck, ears, feet, and legs. If you find a tick on your furry friend, use tweezers to gently pull the tick off. Once it’s removed, flush it down the toilet. Wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water. Fleas can be a little tricky to spot especially if your pet has darker fur. Excessive scratching or licking can be a good indicator of fleas. You’ll want to pay close attention to their back, neck, and underside. Flea dirt can also be a sign of a flea problem. If you spot dark specks that resemble pepper, there’s a chance that your pet has fleas. If you use a flea comb to remove fleas, place them into a dish with hot soapy water. The soap will make it so the fleas can’t jump out which will kill them.

Lawn Care

Raking

Taking care of your yard can keep your pets safe. Ticks like areas with tall grass and vegetation. They wait in these areas for potential hosts. If the grass is high, it makes it easier for them to hop onto your pets. Mowing your lawn frequently and removing any weeds can make it harder for ticks to find your pets. This will also help eliminate nesting spots for rodents that could be carrying fleas. Wood piles and leaf litter can act as hiding spots for ticks. They like areas that will protect them from direct sunlight and any potential threat. Creating barriers around trees or even the perimeter of your yard can reduce the migration efforts of ticks. You can use gravel, stones, or even wood chips to separate your yard from wooded areas. Remove any trash that could attract carriers of fleas and keep trash cans tightly sealed. Fleas also love areas with moisture, so reducing spots where moisture builds will help.

Regular Bathing

Dog getting a bath

Good hygiene is important for your pet’s health. Giving your pet a bath can help prevent and treat pest problems. Keeping your pets clean will make it more difficult for pests to hide in their fur. Baths can help rid your pet of fleas and other bugs before it becomes a serious problem. Any time your pet spends a lot of time outside or interacts with other animals you should give them a bath. Keep the water at a lukewarm temperature and use a mild soap. Spend a few minutes scrubbing your pet. Start at their head and work your way down. If you decide to use a shampoo formulated to treat and prevent ticks, pay close attention to the instructions on the label. You can always contact your veterinarian before using a new product on your pet. It’s important to remember that while bathing your pet will help with a pest problem, it won’t completely eliminate an infestation. 

Clean Up

Cleaning house

Your pets will benefit from a clean house. Regular cleaning is a great way to prevent tick and flea problems. If vacuuming isn’t on your weekly to do list, you’ll want to add it to the list. Fleas are known to live in rugs and your carpet. While vacuuming your floors and rugs is important, you don’t want to stop there. Pests like to hide in areas with less activity, so you don’t want to forget these spots. Vacuum on and under furniture and even on your baseboards. This will help to keep your pets safe from any sneaky pests. Wash your pet’s bedding and yours too especially if your furry friends like to cuddle with you. Adding their plush toys to the wash is also a good idea. Make sure to regularly clean their toys with hot water and soap. This will help to kill fleas and their eggs.

Veterinarian Care

Flea and tick pet treatment

Your pets may pout with this one, but they will thank you later. Keeping up with their veterinarian appointments is important for reducing tick and flea encounters. Their veterinarian can help you choose the best medications and tick collars to prevent these pests. If your pet is dealing with a flea problem, their veterinarian can provide treatment options. They can also help if your pet is bitten by a tick. While not all tick bites will cause severe reactions, this can sometimes happen. If your pet has a loss of appetite, fatigue, or muscle weakness, a tick could be responsible. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your pets are healthy.

Home Treatment

Mosquito & Tick KillerBed Bug & Flea Killer

Treating your home and yard can help keep your pets bug-free. Pets are part of the family and it’s important to use a product that won’t hurt them. Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products are formulated with natural plant essential oils. This means they are an effective and more environmentally and family-friendly solution. When used as directed, they are safe to use around your furry family members. To help solve your tick problems, try our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Mosquito & Tick Killer. Not only does it kill on contact, but it also repels ticks. This will help to prevent any future tick problems. If you’re dealing with a flea problem, our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Bed Bug & Flea Killer aerosol can help. While this product is great for treating areas where pets hang out, it shouldn’t be applied directly to your pet.

Pets are a huge part of your family. We know that keeping them safe from ticks and fleas is a top priority. If bugs are giving you or your pets a fit, we’re here to help. Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.

For more information on how to get rid of fleas and ticks, also check out:
Fleas & Ticks: Control Strategies and Products
How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally
How to Protect Your Pets from Ticks and Fleas
Where do Ticks Live in the United States?
Types of Ticks
How to Prevent Ticks in Your Yard
Tick Killer: What do You Use?

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