Fleas are one of the most common pests we see on our dogs and can be difficult to get rid of. Prevention is always easier than treatment since it takes at least three months of continuous treatment to get control of a flea issue in your home. Ticks have been increasing annually in their prevalence. Deer ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are now endemic in our area. Both these are blood-sucking parasites and can cause some significant irritation to your dog!
How can I tell if my dog has fleas or ticks?
Thankfully, these parasites are easily identified by the naked eye. You can generally see fleas and ticks on your dog. Ticks stay in one spot once they begin feeding, however, they can be in hidden areas like between the toes and behind the ears. Fleas can move very quickly and can jump very high so can be easily missed. Often what you will see is the digested blood (flea dirt) the flea passes in your dog’s hair coat. The best way to find this is by using a flea comb or putting them on a white towel and rubbing them all over. The flea dirt will likely fall off onto the white towel, and if you place some water on it, it will change to a red or rust colour indicating the presence of the blood whereas normal dirt just stays brown or black in colour.
How can I prevent fleas and ticks on my dog?
Different products are available for the prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks. Some products can be given by mouth, and others are applied directly on to the skin. You can use products for just fleas or in combination for fleas and ticks. Generally, the products last anywhere from 1-3 months duration. You can also get combination products that cover other parasites like heartworm or intestinal worms. Talk to us about your dog’s lifestyle, and we can recommend the best product for you.