Pet lovers: Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means? It’s not just longer, warmer days that lie ahead, but also menacing flea and tick season.
This year, experts are calling for a “severe” flea and tick season. And it’s all because of climate change. Warmer temperatures equal a wonderland for fleas and ticks. We at the Kitsap Humane Society want to make sure you and your pet are prepared for battle!
“Kitsap Humane Society has Advantage flea medication in stock and for sale to the public,” said Natalie Smith, KHS director of Animal Welfare.
“Not only are all of our adoptable animals treated with flea and tick medication before they go to their new homes, but we also make it available for purchase to the general public.”
Applying a flea and tick medication to your pet is not the only way to ensure they are protected. We gathered the following preventative measures you can use to help keep your pet flea- and tick-free:
Treat for fleas and ticks year-round. While fleas and ticks thrive in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees, some can survive indoors during the winter. We want to make sure your pet is covered 365 days a year, so that’s why Kitsap Humane Society sells Advantage at a great price. Advantage not only protects against fleas and ticks but also mosquitoes (another pest that thrives in a warmer climate).
Toss out any expired flea treatment. Experts warn that expired flea and tick products lose their effectiveness. So, while it might be tempting to use up that last tube of treatment that’s a few months post-expiration, it’s not worth putting your pet at risk.
Conduct regular tick checks. Be sure to check your pet’s skin, ears, toes and armpits for ticks. Ticks prefer to stay close to the head, neck, feet and ear area, but in severe infestations, they can be found anywhere on your pet’s body. Although not every tick transmits a disease, it’s a good idea to alert your veterinarian if you do find your canine or feline companion has been bitten.
Groom. Groom. Groom. Not only will your pet appreciate a thorough brushing, regular grooming also helps you identify if your pet is infested with fleas or ticks.
Keep your yard clean. Warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris are havens for fleas. Keep a “no vacancy” policy strong by regularly raking leaves, brush and clippings from your yard. And ticks just love to hang out in tall brush or grass, so keep that lawn mowed.
The doctor knows best. Make sure your pet receives regular checkups. Your veterinarian will examine your pet for any signs of pesky fleas or ticks.
Not only does an infestation of fleas and ticks leave your pet in an itchy, miserable state, it can also cause a number of health problems for your four-legged friend. Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-related ailments and can cause swollen joints, lameness, poor appetite and fever in pets.
Tapeworms are not directly transmitted by flea bites, but fleas can commonly cause tapeworms in your pet. Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to flea saliva that can cause several uncomfortable symptoms for your cat or dog including itching, inflammation and hair loss. These are just a few of the ailments that can plague your pet, so be sure to contact your veterinarian if you do find fleas or ticks and see a change in your pet’s behavior or temperament.
So, what do you do if you discover that your beloved furry friend has a flea or tick problem? Immediately get your pet a bath – any regular pet shampoo or Dawn dish soap will work. Avoid “flea shampoos” as they typically contain poisonous ingredients that can be harmful to your pets.
After bath time, there is an abundance of pills and other spot-on treatments to help rid your pet of fleas. Your veterinarian can provide you with both medication and advice for ridding your home of pesky fleas. Should you discover a tick on your faithful companion, take care when removing it. First, treat the area with rubbing alcohol and pluck the parasite with tweezers, making sure you’ve gotten the biting head and other body parts. It’s also a good idea to make sure to follow up with your veterinarian who may want to perform blood tests to rule out any diseases transmitted by ticks.
We hope these tips and tricks will help keep your best buddy comfortable all season long. May your summer be fun and your pet itch-free.