You love your pet but you definitely do not love those pests that suck on its blood for nourishment. Flea and ticks are irritating pests that cause so much discomfort in your pet.
Ticks vs Fleas: What’s the Difference?
Both of these organisms are common external parasites that are found in humans and pets. The problem does not only do these cause itching but these are potential organisms that can transmit various kinds of diseases.
For example, your beloved pet can get tapeworms from fleas. In the same way, that Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever can be transmitted to your pet via blood-sucking ticks.
While both of these pests have many similarities including the type of treatment, but did you know that there are some differences between these two irritating organisms? They differ in appearance, life cycle, and even in the type of temperature to thrive and multiply.
Fleas are smaller than ticks. These are wingless parasites with 6 legs. Though small in size, fleas can jump from one host to the other.
But, fleas are lazy parasites, meaning they prefer to stay on a single host until they die.
For many weeks, fleas will get pregnant and lay up to 40 eggs in a day. These eggs will be with your pet wherever your pet goes. Even those hairs that shed on the ground contain flea eggs.
On the other hand, ticks have 6 to 8 legs and belong to the arachnid family, meaning, the spiders are their cousins. Like spiderman, ticks prefer to move around.
The problem is that ticks can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time after they have fed on the blood of your pet.
Preferred Weather Conditions:
Most pet owners think that spring is the time when fleas and ticks make their pets as their summer ‘vacation home’. Though that is true but not in the case of ticks-yes, ticks thrive in warmer temperature but they also survive and adapt well to cold and snowy temperatures.
Can Fleas and Ticks Cause Harm to Your Family?
Yes, these parasites can make you and your family sick. Take for example fleas-they carry with them potential health risk to you and your family like typhus and the cat scratch disease also known as Bartonella.
In case you own a dog or a cat, your pet can get infected with cat scratch disease if it is exposed to infected fleas. This disease can be passed on to you if you have an open wound and then your pet licks it.
You can get infected with anaplasmosis if you get bitten by ticks.
Now that you know your enemies, it is time for you to act and do something to stop these little creatures from infesting your pet and even you!
The best move that you can do is to give your pet all-year-round protection from fleas and ticks. This is the only way that you can do to reduce the exposure of your pets to fleas and ticks.
5 Efficient Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks
- Check Your Pet All the Time
Do you see your pet constantly scratching itself? Areas that your pet constantly scratches are behind the ears and in-between paws. If allergies are not the issue, then most likely, there are fleas and ticks hiding beneath those furs.
You can manually remove these parasites by using a tweezer carefully.
You can also run a flea comb to check for the early detection of fleas.
- Prevent Your Dog from Going to Infested Areas
Pets, especially dogs, love the outdoors. But be wary because taking your pet in areas like a park with dense vegetation may risk it from getting infected with fleas and ticks.
We recommend that you groom your pet thoroughly after enjoying the outdoor so you can detect if any parasites clinging on to your pet.
- Check the Surroundings
Ticks are attracted to carpets and upholsteries. They hide behind those thick materials so make it a habit to check these and keep your eyes open for these little creatures.
You may want to sprinkle some baking soda or borax on your carpet to kill fleas and ticks.
- Treat Your Lawn
Treating your indoor alone will not solve the issue. You also need to maintain your outdoors like spraying your lawn with flea and tick yard spray to remove the enemies. It also helps if you will maintain your lawn by mowing it regularly.
- Clean Your Pets
Giving your pet a nice bath regularly is an efficient way to prevent ticks and fleas. This is especially true if you are going to use a shampoo that will prevent ticks and fleas from clinging to your pet’s body.
Plus, it is a good idea to vacuum your pet’s sleeping area and wash its beddings to lessen the number of fleas and ticks.
How to Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks?
The best way to combat fleas and ticks is by maintaining a healthy coat. Fleas will be attracted to your pet if it has flaky and itchy skin.
For your dog or cat to have a healthy coat, you can add flaxseed oil as well as buffered vitamin C to its diet. B-complex vitamins also contribute to a healthy coat.
Flea and Tick Treatments for Your Pet
- Pet Shampoos
Usually, dogs and cats can use the same flea and tick shampoo but if you care for a hamster, then, there are effective flea and tick shampoos for hamster use specifically.
Flea and tick shampoos work by killing on contact the existing pests on your pet’s skin. But, you have to repeat the process of every two weeks as the ingredients do not last as long compared to other treatment options.
- Flea and Tick Collars
There are 2 types of collars. The first type of collar releases chemicals to fend-off fleas and ticks.
Then the second type seeps into your pet’s fatty layer of skin. The fleas and ticks will be killed once they bite your pet.
Depends on your choice, some collars serve just one purpose but others act as repellant and treatment at the same time.
You can use these collars as preventive tools but these are not appropriate for all pets. We do not recommend flea and tick collars if you have more than one dog because each of them might lick the medicated collar.
- Topical Drops
These drops are the spot-on treatments that are applied at the back of your dog or cat. These spot-on treatments come in a vial form and are effective for 30 days.
Is your pet a hamster? Did you see signs of fleas and ticks? Then no worries since there is also a spot-on for hamsters to get rid of these external parasites. The active component is Ivermectin which is also safe if your pet is a rabbit or a guinea pig.
Tip: Avoid bathing your pet at least 24 hours before application. The natural oil in your pet’s skin allows the medicine to spread out faster.
- Oral Insecticides
These pills are usually prescribed by a Vet doctor and the amount depends on the weight of your pet. It is available in pills and chewable tablets.
Oral insecticides target flea adults and eggs and have efficacy for 30 days.
- Powder and Sprays
These products are directly applied to your pet’s fur. If you choose this option, you can apply these products daily but be sure to avoid the eyes and ears of your pet.
What makes these products awesome is that these can be safely used for all life stages for both cats and dogs.
Some versions can also be applied to your furniture, carpets, and upholstery to keep your pets safe from fleas and ticks.
- Tick Dips
This is a concentrated formula that you mix with water and then apply at the back of your pet by a sponge. The mixture can also be poured over at the back of your pet. This kind of treatment is not to be rinsed after application.
But we suggest choosing this treatment option only if your pet is heavily infested as this is a strong concoction. It is not for pups and nursing bitches.
As a pet owner, one of your major concerns is how to keep your pets and even you, safe from fleas and ticks. The great news is there are more methods in this article to help you win the battle and for sure, those blood-sucking pests will be controlled and eradicated.
Jaden is an author of mypetience.com, a pet blog sharing knowledge about taking care of a pet. He has more than five years of experience in raising small animals like dogs, cats, hamsters, and freshwater fish. What he always focusing on is offering valuable and useful information to pet enthusiasts.