Bye-Bye Bugs: The Importance of Flea and Tick Prevention
We all want to take the best possible care of our pets, from choosing the right food to daily exercise and regular wellness checkups. Flea and tick prevention is another important component of responsible pet ownership, and one that’s also easy to overlook.
Fleas and ticks transmit disease and pose a serious risk to pets and people. The health of pets and their families is our top priority at Soundside Animal Hospital, and we want to make sure you have the tools you need to keep everyone in your home safe and healthy.
Fleas are insects that are found almost everywhere in our environment. Because fleas prefer a warm, humid climate for breeding, infestations can happen in the spring, summer, and even winter inside the cozy environments of our homes.
Fleas play a role in transmitting diseases such as Bartonellosis, also known as cat scratch fever, and tapeworm. Not only that, but some pets are severely allergic to fleas and even one bite can trigger a serious reaction leading to intense itching and potential skin infections as a result.
Of the 80 or so species of ticks found in the United States, only a few of them (such as the deer tick and the brown dog tick) have the potential to negatively impact pets and people. These ticks can spread serious diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick-borne encephalitis.
Year-Round Flea and Tick Prevention
Keeping your pet on a year-round flea and tick prevention product is absolutely essential to his or her overall health and well-being. Fleas and ticks are found in all 50 states and, thanks to our warm climate and mild winters in Florida, our pets are at risk year-round.
Besides a monthly preventive medication, there are other ways to reduce your pet’s exposure to external parasites, including:
- Lawn maintenance – Tall grasses and weeds, as well as piles of leaves, brush, or grass clippings, make the perfect home for fleas and ticks. Keeping the property around your home trimmed and free of debris is crucial in the fight against these tiny pests.
- In the home – Fleas can survive and thrive easily inside our homes, and regular cleaning is essential in order to remove them during the early stages of the flea life cycle (eggs, larvae, pupae, adults) before they’re full-blown adults. Besides regular vacuuming of carpets and upholstery, be sure to launder your pet’s bedding weekly. Keep pets clean, groomed, and perform a “tick check” each time your pet comes inside.
- Wildlife control – Wildlife such as raccoons, foxes, squirrels, and mice can carry fleas and ticks, so controlling their exposure to your property is essential. Keep bushes and brush trimmed to reduce potential hiding spots, and consider installing a fence if you don’t already have one. Never welcome a stray pet into your home, as this is another potential harbinger of fleas and ticks.
If you haven’t started your pet on a year-round flea and tick preventive yet, or need to pick up a refill, don’t hesitate to contact your team at Soundside Animal Hospital!