The best defense against fleas and ticks is to keep your pets on a year-round flea and tick preventive medication. It’s always better to be on the safe side and keep your pets protected from potential diseases and associated problems. And while it’s common to know that pets who go outdoors need to be treated with flea and tick preventative medicine, it’s also key to treat your strictly indoor pets as well.
What Are Fleas, Exactly?
More than 2,500 different species of fleas exist, yet one is the most common among American dogs and cats. It’s called Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea. That’s right. If your dog has fleas, they’re most likely cat fleas.
Fleas are the most common external parasites on dogs. Adult fleas are about an eighth of an inch long. They’re reddish-brown and very thin. It’s difficult to see what they look like without a microscope (though it’s easier on light-colored fur), but they do have big back legs. They can jump, by some measurements, upward and outward at least a foot in a single leap. And one estimation finds that for every adult flea found on your pet, there are at least 100 immature ones hanging around.
The reason for the itch is that when fleas bite, their salivary glands release a substance that causes skin irritation.
Does your indoor cat like to hang out in the windows? Fleas are everywhere and will attach themselves to cats who sit in front of screened windows.
What Are Ticks, Exactly?
Ticks are related to spiders and like them, ticks have eight legs. They have flat, oval bodies that swell when they eat. And they feed on the blood of your pets.
Ticks are very small. Even adult ticks are only about the size of an apple seed unless they’ve just fed. That means they’re tough to spot, which is partly why they’re so good at passing along illnesses without getting caught.
Although it’s rare, ticks can consume enough of your pet’s blood to cause anemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs due to a toxin they produce while feeding. More important, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet.
How Do I Treat Fleas And Ticks On My Pets?
It’s best to use a flea and tick preventive year-round. Though many species of ticks and fleas are slowed down or dormant during the winter, these parasites still exist during the winter, and you never know when a thaw will happen. Plus, these pests survive when temperatures hit above 33 degrees. Because ticks and fleas can carry diseases that could harm your pets, it’s best to keep them protected all year long.
Oral treatments are available from your vet and come in easy-to-apply topical treatments or even simple chews that pets actually like to take, thanks to their flavoring. Your vet will work with you to choose the prevention method that works best for you and your pets.
At PetWow, we believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle for our furry friends, that’s why we work hard to create a positive experience for them during their visits. More than 30,000 pet parents trust the health and grooming of their best friends to us, and we take that care seriously. To schedule your appointment, call us today at 513-738-9691 to schedule your appointment at our Highland Heights or Florence Kentucky locations, or for At Home Veterinary Care. For more pet care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn!