Those nasty fleas and ticks!Warmer weather doesn't just mean summer is here, it also signals the arrival of flea and tick season.
Most of us love summer, but if your dog is bothered by those summertime pests - fleas and ticks, he won't be having much fun.
Itchy skin, excessive scratching and the possibility of serious illnesses such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, are just a few of the annoying (and dangerous) accompaniments to a flea or tick problem.
Fleas - Fleas are very tiny, black creatures which can sometimes be seen crawling through your dog's fur. They're easiest to spot around the eyes, ears and on the tummy. If your pooch is allergic to the elements of flea-saliva he, or she, could develop flea-allergy dermatitis. This is a condition which causes itchy, irritated, sometimes weepy skin, excessive scratching and the loss of hair in patches which can sometimes be fairly large.
One flea can bite as many as 400 times in one day! If your poor pup had a whole community of these little pest crawling all over him, imagine how uncomfortable he would be!
Ticks - Ticks can vary in size from very tiny ones, about the size of a pin-head, to some that can be as large as a kernel of corn – especially when engorged with blood. They have tear-drop shaped bodies, 8 legs and can be black, brown, tan or a dark-red color.
When it comes to nasty parasites such as fleas and ticks, prevention is definitely better than cure and there are many different products on the market that have been designed to repel, kill or prevent fleas and ticks from making their home in your dog's fur.
Products such as flea collars, sprays or powders are not usually very effective. The best, most fast-acting and longest-lasting protection comes from the popular topical liquids (such as Advantage or Frontline Plus) which are applied to your puppy's skin on a monthly basis.
You need to consider your dog's level of infestation and choose carefully when deciding which flea, or flea and tick medicine to use. Advantage works very quickly (killing all fleas on your pet within 12 hours) but only kills hatched fleas. Frontline Plus works almost as fast (killing all fleas and ticks on your pup within 18 hours) but kills adult fleas, eggs and larvae PLUS it kills ticks too.
Flea and tick preventatives such as Advantage or Frontline Plus are very safe and effective if used according to the manufacturers instructions. However, as with any kind of medication or drug you need to be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging very carefully.
Here are a few tips to help you kill your puppy's fleas and ticks safely :
1. Make sure your pup is at least the min. recommended age for the product you intend to use.
2. Pay close attention to the directions and be particularly careful to adhere to the weight guidelines. Never use a medication meant for dogs on cats – or the other way around!
3. Wash your hands thoroughly after applying the liquid and avoid it coming into contact with your skin or eyes.
4. Keep medications in a cool place, safely stored out of reach of children or pets.
5. If you think your puppy seems unwell or is acting in an unusual way after treatment, seek advice from your veterinarian promptly.
Once you have your puppy free of fleas and ticks, it's usually a good idea to treat their bedding, blankets, crate, carpets and soft furnishings as well. Any live fleas in your house will continue to multiply and jump back onto your little pup. The topical medication will then kill them but it'll be a much faster process if you do a thorough job of elimination in the first place.
You can buy several different kinds of sprays or ‘bombs' (pressurized canisters of chemicals that will kill fleas) and one treatment should be enough, unless your pup had a severe flea problem. If that's the case, it wouldn't hurt to do it twice or call in a professional pest control company to treat your home.
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