What Are The Dangers Of Fleas And Ticks For Dogs?
Fleas and ticks are a source of annoyance and potential health threat in every part of the US. While the seasons will affect the activity of these insects, it is possible to pick up fleas or ticks during most of the year. This is especially true because these insects can thrive in our homes. Dogs and cats which spend time outdoors are at equal risk of picking up fleas. However, because dogs spend a larger amount of time outdoors, they are at a higher risk than cats for ticks. While not as common, fleas and ticks can also enter homes from visiting pets and on people's clothes.
Your dog is both the home and food source for fleas and ticks. Once a flea gets on your dog, it will remain there until it is killed by a flea product or dies naturally. Just like the adult flea, the adult tick will remain on your dog and eventually produce eggs while feeding from your dog. Once a flea is on your dog, it stays on your dog and will produce 30-50 eggs within 24 hours. These eggs are the consistency of sand and will fall off the dog, land in the carpet or bedding, and become an adult flea in 14 to 365 days depending upon the environmental conditions. It is easy to understand how the house can become quickly infested with fleas. Ticks however, go through various life stages. Ticks will leave the host and "moult" from one stage to the next. Ticks transmit the most diseases to dogs and humans in the nymph and adult stages. If your dog is not on a preventative or adulticide (product to kill fleas and ticks), it is possible for dog and possibly your home to develop a serious infestation within just a few short weeks.
If not prevented or treated, fleas and ticks can cause a variety of potential health issues for dog, including:
- Skin irritation and infection
- Rashes and red inflamed skin
- Scabs and scales
- Transmission of disease and illness to you and your dog
- Psychological issues from constant scratching
Another danger of fleas and ticks for dogs is infestation of the home and possible transmission of disease to humans through sharing a living space. This is why it is critical that you are aware of the health dangers that fleas and ticks can pose. It is important that you take measures to reduce the risk of an infestation. With the right plan and products, flea and tick infestation is easily preventable. Our veterinarians are here to help you develop a flea and tick prevention program that will best suit your needs and lifestyle.
How Do I Identify Ticks On Dogs?
Because dogs spend so much time outdoors, ticks are a common problem and a big concern for owners. If left untreated, fleas and ticks can become a serious nuisance and potential health problem for your dog. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, and use tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into a dog's skin and tissue. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses. The adult tick is about 3mm and is visible to most. The larvae and nymph are about half that size and difficult to identify.
Ticks cause welts and bruises on dogs around the bite location. It is also common to find the tick still attached. If you find a tick on your dog, please contact us to tell you the safest way to remove the tick and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward.
We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian immediately if your dog has ticks. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on dogs, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe, effective and clinically proven.
How Do I Identify Fleas On Dogs?
Fleas are very itchy and annoying and will primarily cause your dog to scratch. If your dog is allergic to flea saliva, the itch can be insatiable. Too much scratching can lead to skin infections, and fleas on dogs can possibly lead to the spread of various diseases. Fleas can be difficult to detect, because they are only about 1-2 millimeters in length, but there are several ways to check for fleas on your dog, including:
- Looking for red, irritated skin on your dog's neck, belly or hindquarters
- Comb your dog's hair from back to front for a good look at his or her skin. Flea combs are available at pet stores, but really any fine-toothed comb will do
- The fleas may appear red or brown in color
- If you see a speck that is moving, it's probably a flea
What Are Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs?
At Veterinary Village when it comes to fleas and ticks, our primary focus is on prevention. Prevention is important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, that indicates that you are already dealing with an infestation. It is best to not reach that stage. With good education and the right prevention products you can easily avoid a flea and tick infestations. A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your dog's potential exposure to fleas and ticks.
It is important to be aware that there are numerous products on the market that our veterinarians would strongly suggest you avoid. Every year, our veterinarians review all available flea and tick products to ensure that our recommendations are as up to date as possible. Our considerations include safety, effectiveness and cost. Based on these factors we will work with you to customize a parasite prevention plan for your pets and family.
What Are Different Types Of Flea And Tick Treatments For Dogs?
Many years ago, flea collars, sprays, powders and shampoos were the maintain stay of flea control. These products are more toxic and less effective than the majority of products we now recommend. For this reason, we do not recommend any of these products. However, medicated shampoos can be very helpful in treating the secondary skin infections that your dog may have developed due to flea infestation.
There are many different cat flea treatment products on the market. This includes a plethora of remedies involving substances that have no medical validity where fleas and ticks for cats are concerned. Our Veterinarians would strongly recommend against numerous over the counter flea and tick treatments.
Today, the recommended flea and tick treatments for dogs include:
- Oral Tablets: These are a great choice for both prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks, while being safe for both your dog and your family. Oral tablets that treat fleas and ticks can only be obtained from your veterinarian
- Spot-On Flea Treatments: There are many different spot-on flea treatments with varying effectiveness and different spectrums of use. At your next veterinary appointment we will help you choose the most effective spot-on flea and tick treatment for your dog
We choose the products based upon safety and efficacy. However, as with any new medication or product there is a possibility of adverse reaction. If you notice any discomfort or behavioral changes after administering or applying, please call us at: (920) 269-4072. It is essential to discuss dog flea and tick treatment options with your veterinarian, in order to ensure the method you choose will be safe and effective for your canine friend. See which of our products have instant rebates!
What Should I Know About Dog Flea Prevention/Treatment?
There are many different flea and tick prevention products on the market. The amount of over-the-counter remedies has grown rapidly in the past 20 years. The influx of unapproved flea treatment for dogs in the early 2000's, and specifically spot-on treatments, led the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a warning in 2010 about possible toxic reactions to flea medicine for dogs. This resulted from a rash of dog fatalities attributed to the inappropriate use of some products.
To read more you can visit EPA webpage article from AVMA.org
As with any medication, there is some risk of adverse reaction to flea and tick treatment. These risks are extremely small. However, should you notice any symptoms or behavior changes, please call us. Our veterinarians would be happy to share with you their recommendations for the best flea and treatments for your dog at your next appointment.
Schedule A Flea And Tick Appointment For Your Dog Today
If you suspect your dog is suffering from the effects of fleas and ticks, we recommend scheduling a veterinary appointment immediately. Our veterinarians and support staff have extensive experience treating fleas and ticks for dogs. We know flea and tick infestations can be frightening and overwhelming, but we assure you they are treatable.