What You Should Do if Your Pet Has Fleas or Ticks

Fleas, ticks, and other parasites are terrible hosts for your pet. Not only do they create havoc on the skin and cause a variety of serious diseases, they are also problems for human family members. This is because what they carry can be zoonotic, meaning that they can pass the disease on to humans. Aside from the harm they cause, they cause itchiness and discomfort, as well as an infestation of the home.

Your team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is here to help you combat these awful parasites by giving you tips on what you should do if your pet has fleas or ticks. Read on!

My Dog Has Fleas! Now What?

When it comes to fleas, they don’t just arrive as a few. Fleas are smaller than an apple seed and are often detected by their excrement, small black specks on the skin. They come to a pet as an infestation that spreads to the home and wherever else the host carries them. That is why getting them treated right away is key to avoiding a serious problem that may require an exterminator.

If you find fleas on your pet:

  1. Treat your pet with an approved flea medication. There are several spot-on applications and shampoos on the market that kill fleas and the larvae. Make sure the flea treatment you choose is designed for your pet’s species. Never use other pet treatments on your cat or dog, since they can be toxic. The treatment must also target the life cycle of the flea, including egg, larvae, pupa, and adult.
  2. Treat your home at the same time. If your pet has fleas, then you can bet that the home is infested with them. It will take time to get them out entirely. Wash all bedding, including your pet’s bed, with hot water. Vacuum often and consider a deep clean with a professional carpet cleaner. Remove all vacuum bags to the outside trash containers.
  3. Use natural flea sprays. If possible, stick to herbal based flea repellents. Depending on the infestation, you may require an exterminator, but this will mean both you and your pet will have to leave the home for a while. Look for pet friendly insecticides that target fleas.
  4. Prevent future infestation. Consult your veterinarian on the right preventive that will work against fleas (among other parasites).

What to Do If You Find a Tick

Ticks are another gross foe we find plentiful in the spring and summer months. These tiny arachnids feed off of the blood of mammals. They are responsible for some serious diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

When you see a tick, it’s important to remove it quickly as disease can be transmitted if left attached. To remove a tick safely:

  1. Use fin-tipped tweezers and grasp the head of the tick, as close to the skin where it is attached.
  2. Pull up with steady, even pressure, making sure not to jerk or twist the tweezers.
  3. Make sure no parts of the tick remain embedded in the skin. 
  4. Wipe the area with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Be sure to also wash your hands with soap and water.
  5. Dispose of the tick in alcohol in a sealed container. If you want the tick tested for disease later, keep it in alcohol.

Contact us if your pet develops any redness, rashes, or other skin issues at the bite site, as this can indicate an infection. 

Parasite Prevention for Pets

Fleas and ticks are a part of nature and we must learn to live with them in our midst. The good news is that you can prevent parasites by keeping your pet on a year-round parasite prevention program. Along with flea and tick control, regular grooming can help keep the skin and fur condition amazing and will give your groomer a chance to inspect for parasites.

For more information on what to do if your pet has fleas or ticks, please phone us. Stay itch-free!