Summer is open season for parasites; they are the inevitable cloud to summer’s silver lining.
Early warmth is a wake-up call for parasites and prevention is better than cure. So to get your pets flea and tick-proof let’s start with a closer look at ticks.
Ticks love woods, fields, gardens and parks. Exactly the sorts of places we walk our dogs in fact.
They wait for dinner to come for them and they’ve dined out on that successful strategy for years. They don’t need to move much – not so much a drive through as a dish of the day conveyor-belt as your pet passes by. The ticks just grab a fist-full of fur, hitch a ride and grab a free lunch.
And they are great ones for finding the best hard-to-spot places to chow down – elbows, toes, anywhere where there’s a fold of skin. They just nip an incision and dinner is served.
As they are difficult to locate it is extra important to routinely treat your pets with a good flea and tick preventative measure. Why is it important? Well some UK ticks offer more than the discomfort of a few stolen meals – the leftovers can be more serious.
There are several nasty tick species that live in the UK. Long names for such a tiny parasite but Ixodes ricinus (‘the sheep tick’) is common - and a carrier of Lyme disease.
Another tick, Dermacentor reticulatus, can transmit a dangerous parasite called Babesia that can cause fatal disease in dogs. Around one in three ticks are likely to carry an infectious disease that could harm your dog. Ticks can also cause irritation or abscess formation where they attach to your pet. So yes, prevention is much, much better than cure.
Fleas are warmth-lovers too. From egg to adult flea is done and dusted in between 12 – 22 days. Perfect flea conditions are when temperature and humidity aligns 70-85°F with 70 percent humidity is flea heaven.
Around 5% of a flea infestation is made up of adult fleas while the rest is in your home as eggs, larvae and pupae. Using a great flea defence product regularly is the best defence – it’s a much bigger job to give fleas their marching orders once they’ve set up camp. Then you really need to get tough on the environment at home as well as your pet’s coat.
It’s out with the vac regularly for several weeks and bedding and toys into hot soapy water to eliminate eggs, larvae, and pupae.
Seal and remove vacuum bags after a cleaning session.
Treat your pet with quality shampoos, sprays, dips, or spot-on medications or medicated collars to combat fleas and ticks but remember to keep up the good work and stick to the regime for a flea-free and thoroughly ticked off summer.