TIS THE SEASON FOR FLEAS AND TICKS
Rose Pest Solutions urges pet owners to protect their four-legged friends
Many pests can pose serious health threats to humans during the summer season, but there are also a handful of insects that can be problematic for family pets. Rose Pest Control Chicago, warns that dogs, cats and other animals are at an increased risk of encountering fleas and ticks during the warmer months.
The threat of ticks and fleas in the yard
“When the weather is nice, pets are likely to spend additional time outdoors enjoying long walks or playing in the yard. Unfortunately, this means they are more susceptible to attracting fleas and ticks,” said Brian Mitchell, Branch Manager at Burr Pest Control Rockford IL. “Not only can these pests make your beloved pet sick, but they can lead to an unwanted infestation in the home.”
Fleas mounted on slide, Image by Ricky Kluge, courtesy of IL Natural History Survey
Whether hiking in the woods or simply enjoying a barbeque in the park, people and animals are likely to encounter these bloodthirsty pests. Blacklegged deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease to pets, while American dog ticks are known to spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and in severe cases can cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord.
While some symptoms can surface immediately after a tick bite, others can be difficult to recognize and many owners may not realize their pet is sick until the symptoms become severe and significant treatment is needed.
How to prevent ticks
In addition to tick collars, medications from your vet and annual check ups, NPMA recommends the following tick tips:
- Upon returning indoors, inspect dogs and outdoor cats thoroughly.
- If a tick is found attached, it should be removed with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. If possible, it’s best to use forceps or tweezers and grab on or just behind the mouthparts. If using fingers, the fingernails of the thumb and forefinger should be placed on or just behind the mouthparts. Once removed, flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle since ticks are difficult to smush. Then, wash hands and the attachment site thoroughly with soap and water.
- Keep grass cut low, including around fence lines, sheds, trees, shrubs, swing sets and other difficult to cut locations and remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.
- Inquire about lawn tick treatments; especially those that focus on the edges of the lawn where it interfaces with natural areas. This method has the greatest chance of preventing ticks from establishing themselves in your back yard.
Fleas cause itchy, red bumps that lead to excessive scratching, along with unpleasant conditions such as anemia, dermatitis and tapeworms. Additionally, fleas breed at lightning speed and can quickly grow into a large infestation in pet owners’ homes.
Dogs and cats most often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or by spending time outdoors. Most pets experience itching from fleas, but some sensitive animals can have more severe reactions such as hair loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Flea saliva can also cause anemia, dermatitis, and facilitate the transfer of tapeworms. Because of fleas’ ability to jump great heights, they are easily able to hitchhike into homes while hidden in the fur of family pets. Once inside, fleas quickly multiply and infest bedding, furniture and clothing.
How to prevent fleas
Because fleas can quickly become a big problem, prevention is the best way for pet owners to avoid a major headache. NPMA suggests owners discuss which preventative measures are best for their pets as several effective products exist. Additionally, NPMA encourages owners to bathe their pets frequently, regularly wash human and pet bedding, pet collars and their plush toys, and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture on a regular basis.
How to keep your pets safe from fleas and ticks in the yard
To keep your animals safe from pests, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, recommends the following tips:
- Keep an eye on pets for excessive scratching or licking
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where pests often gather
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals
- Wash pet bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently
- Talk to a veterinarian about treatment options to protect your pet, and seek medical advice if ticks or fleas are found on your pet
Check your pets!
“It’s important for pet owners to be on the lookout for fleas and ticks, checking their pets frequently throughout the summer months,” added Mitchell.
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For more information on fleas and ticks, please visit www.rosepestcontrol.com.