March 24th, 2021
As the weather gets warmer during the spring, ticks and fleas start to become active again. Both of these bloodsucking pests are drawn to your dog’s warm coat. A pest will land on your pet and burrow into the fur while they consume blood. Ticks generally leave after their meal, but fleas will hang on until removed.
Having fleas or ticks can be uncomfortable for you and your pet. Fleas cause itchiness and allergies in dogs, and ticks can spread deadly diseases through their bites. Your dog can also bring these pests into your home where they spread to your family members, other pets, and furniture.
How to Keep You Dog Safe
The best way to keep biting insects away from your dog is to stop them before they latch onto your dog. Failing that, you’ll want to identify fleas and ticks early on to prevent their spread or any potential illnesses. To do this:
- Talk to Your Veterinarian - Your vet will know best what fleas and ticks are in your area. Go over what types of medication they respond to best and any risks you should be aware of.
- Use Preventative Medication - There are over the counter medication and prescription medications that, when applied or given regularly to your dog are effective against fleas and ticks. Flea collars can also help deter fleas. Your vet can provide more information about what will work best for your dog.
- Check Your Dog’s Coat - Even with medication, frequently check your dog, especially if she went through any areas with long grass or bushes. Fleas will show up as black spots or white eggs, a hot spot, or itchiness. Use a flea spray to remove any if you see them. A tick will be visible as a little round brownish bug or you might feel it while petting your dog. If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers.
- Limit Ticks and Fleas Around Your Home - Dogs that spend more time in wooded areas or walking through brush may be more likely to come into contact with ticks and fleas, but suburban dogs are still at risk. Keep grass and bushes trimmed around your yard and don’t let brush collect as these areas harbor pests.
If you missed a tick or flea on your pup, you will likely begin to see signs over time. Fleas cause itching, but their ongoing blood consumption can lead to anemia as well, particularly in young puppies. An anemic dog will have a lack of energy and may have pale gums.
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ehrlichiosis to dogs. Symptoms of these conditions include fever, lack of appetite, joint pain, and swelling. Any symptoms that might be the result of a tick bite or fleas are reason to call your vet.