You may be tempted to think that the cooler weather brings an end to fleas and ticks. Don’t be fooled! These parasites loves this time of year because temperatures are cooler and autumn can bring more rain and wet weather. These conditions help fleas thrive so continuing prevention is vital.
Fleas are particularly active in temperatures of 70-75° Fahrenheit. In conditions such as these, they can complete their natural life cycle (from egg to larva to adult) in a matter of weeks so they can quickly overrun your home.
Did you know: A female flea typically lays 30-50 eggs a day!
Ticks, unfortunately, will live all year long and can survive in even the worst conditions. Both fleas and ticks are ubiquitous in the environment, being that they are found in almost every climate and territory.
Did you know: A tick can survive for over a year without feeding!
How can your “indoor” pet get fleas and ticks? It’s simple – they brush against a shrub or plant outside, or we do, and the bugs hitch a ride.
Reasons to prevent fleas and ticks
Preventative medication is a must in our area and we recommend doing it all year round. Here are just some of the things your pet can get from flea and tick bites:
- Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis
- Bacterial diseases
- Your pet may unknowingly be extremely allergic to bites, and will experience extreme inflammation and itching, and excessive scratching. If left untreated, this can lead to secondary infections.
Symptoms and signs of fleas and ticks
Skin allergies and flea/tick infestations may exhibit many of the same symptoms on your pet:
- Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
- Increased scratching
- Paw chewing/swollen paws
- Constant licking
Fleas can leave behind “dirt” which is a mixture of dried blood and flea feces. It often appears as dark spots that look like dandruff. Larger ticks can typically be seen on your pet, especially if engorged after a feeding. Some ticks are miniscule, about the size of a pinhead. You may be able to remove fleas through bathing and using a special comb, but use caution when removing a tick so that there are no pieces left behind. Your local pet store has special tick removal devices if you don’t feel comfortable using tweezers.
Prevention beyond your pet
Preventing fleas and ticks may go beyond your pet’s monthly preventatives. A great habit to get into is to do daily or weekly flea/tick checks on your pets. Within your house, try frequent vacuuming and laundering of pet bedding once a week. Outside, keep your grass mowed short and shrubs trimmed back. These bugs love moisture, so also be sure to keep leaves raked and cleaned up so they don’t have piles to hide in.
Did you know: Flea and tick prevention can be given orally (via mouth) or topically (on the skin) and works to kill fleas before they can reproduce.
If you have any questions about infestations/allergies or what types of products are best for treating your pet, contact Cross Keys Animal Hospital.