Flea & Tick Treatments for Dogs
It can happen at any time, your dog has a tick or fleas! This causes stress for your dog, which, naturally, you want to treat as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are many different products that you can use to not only treat, but also protect, your furry best friend.
There are many different species of fleas that can affect your dog. Fleas are tiny insects that live on blood and prefer to nest in warm, sheltered areas between the hair. The itching is caused when flea saliva is injected into the skin and not by the bite itself. In some cases a flea infestation can even result in the development of tapeworms.
Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!
How do you find out that your dog has fleas? If your dog jumps up suddenly and furiously starts scratching or rolling around, your dog could have fleas that are causing irritation. Fleas are barely visible as they hide well in your dog's fur. To check for fleas, take a look at your dog's skin in common hiding places, such as the abdomen or hind legs. Red, fiery spots can indicate flea bites and, therefore, the presence of fleas. Push the fur aside and see if you can spot any of the little bugs; a flea comb can facilitate this process.
You can choose to wash your dog with a flea shampoo, such as Defencare Shampoo. Flea shampoo is a safe and highly effective way of removing fleas, but should be applied in copious amounts. Due to its rapid efficacy, this method is highly recommended for a severe flea infestation.
The most common and animal-friendly way to treat and, more importantly, prevent fleas is by using flea drops. Flea drops come in a small, easy-to-use pipette. Squeeze the pipette onto your dog's neck (make sure you read the instructions carefully) and it will provide at least 4 weeks of protection against fleas. Flea drops such as Frontline Spot On for Dogs also protect your dog from ticks. It is important to treat all animals with a flea problem in your household to prevent fleas from spreading.
Don't forget your surroundings!
Only 5% of the infestation on your dog will consist of adult fleas. The remaining 95% consists of eggs, larvae and cocoons, all of which live near your pet! Therefore, it is important to treat your home environment to minimise the risk of recontamination. You can do this with a spray such as Bolfo Fleegard Environment Spray or Virbac Indoor-X Flea Spray. It is also important to wash all clothes at a high temperature.
Ticks: blood suckers
A tick is a small, spider-like parasite with six legs and a bag-shaped abdomen. The tick digs itself into the skin and begins sucking on the host's blood. Once the tick is full, it often leaves of its own accord. However, they can still transmit nasty diseases through their saliva when in contact with blood.
Diseases caused by ticks
The most common disease transmitted by ticks is Lyme disease. Contrary to popular belief, Lyme disease is not caused by the tick itself but by bacteria that they carry, however, it is more dangerous to humans than it is to dogs. There are different diseases that ticks carry that can seriously affect your dog, such as Babesiosis (also known as piroplasmosis or tick fever) and Ehrlichiosis. Symptoms of Babesiosis can include high fever, jaundice, or discolouration of the urine (usually a red or greenish colour). The symptoms of Ehrlichiosis include high fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, swollen lymph nodes and bleeding. Contact your vet straight away if you think your dog is suffering from one of these diseases.
There are different methods to combat ticks. Many people give their pet a tick collar, which is safe, effective, and long-lasting, such as the Scalibor Protectorband, which protects your dog against sand flies, ticks and mosquitoes.
Check your dog regularly for ticks and remove them immediately by using a O'Tom Tick Twister, tick remover or with the innovative tick gripper. Do not anaesthetise the tick as this triggers it to release, potentially disease-infected, saliva into the dog's bloodstream. Keep a close eye on your dog and the skin where the tick was removed. If you have any doubts about your dog's health, contact your vet.
Prevention is always better than treatment. Make sure that your dog is well-protected against ticks. Vetsend offers many different products for this purpose, such as Spot-On (drops) and tick collars.