Summer weather is here and flea and tick populations are on the rise. Make sure you can spot the behavioral signs of fleas and ticks in your pet!
If your dog or cat has been scratching, excessively licking, or biting at themselves-particularly at the ears, armpits, groin, or rump areas, you should check for fleas. Fleas like these areas since they are warm and usually contain a lot of blood vessels for the parasites to access for their blood meals. Though you may not see the actual fleas (since they are quite small and great at hiding in your pet’s fur), the skin in these areas may be red and bumpy as a result of these bug bites. Your pet may experience hair loss as well if he or she is excessively scratching, biting, or licking at the areas.
Ticks, on the other hand, will attach and remain on you pet for up to 3-4 days to fill up on your pet’s blood. Ticks are able to attach themselves to pets and practically embed themselves in the skin. This makes it very difficult to remove them and you may feel a small bump on your cats or dogs as you are petting them. Your pet may excessively lick or nip at the site of an embedded tick, causing scabbing. Ticks also sometimes embed themselves in the ear canals, causing the pet to shake his or her head or itch at the ears. If you see your pet demonstrating any of these behaviors, it is definitely a cause for closer examination and potentially a trip to your veterinarian.
It is best to consult a medical or veterinary professional to remove a tick [from yourself or your pet]. If you try to pull the tick out, its head may detach and stay embedded in the skin, making removal even more difficult. Experts are predicting that the tick populations will be booming this year, so be sure to stock up on your flea and tick prevention and to be wary of tall grasses and wooded areas.
Some cats and dogs are allergic to flea or tick bites, intensifying these symptoms and putting your pet in a lot more discomfort.
Also remember that most fleas and ticks have become immune to popular pet-store brands of flea and tick prevention. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian about an over the counter or prescription product.
Finally, if you spot a tick or flea in your home (whether it’s on the floor, on your pet’s bedding, or anywhere else), it’s best to check both your pet and yourself. Chances are that there is not just one flea or tick and closer inspections should be done of all family members and your home.
Think there’s nothing else to know? Check out these weird flea and tick facts!