Good morning sunshine! It’s a beautiful day, sun is shining, leaves are green and everyone seems to be in a good mood… that is except your pets. Lassy can’t stand the constant itching and annoying bites!! Miss Muffet on the other hand hides on top of cabinets and furniture, anything that gets her off the floor. Let’s not forget, both are not too thrilled to be shoved outdoors and into a wide range of bugs just waiting to pounce on them. But it’s summer!!!! Don’t we all want to enjoy it as much as possible?
What can we do to help our poor tick and flea victims enjoy being outside and even inside without suffering attacks? Well, it generally boils down to prevention and treatment. We will review in this blog 5 ways we can easily help our animals stay tick and flea free.
#1- Tick and Flea Detection and Removal
Ticks and fleas are a problem we definitely do not want to let get out of hand. The reasons for this are that these nasty little critters feed on your pet’s blood, which in turn, can trigger many undesirable side effects or diseases. Some of these include, skin irritation, anemia, tapeworms or Lyme disease and the list goes on. Needless to say, your pet can reach a simply miserable state if left unprotected.
Early detection of tick and flea infestation is always to be preferred. Of course every time your animal scratches does not automatically mean they are infested. To be on the safe side though, make regular check-ups. Let’s face it, your pet loves getting attention from you, so go on and get personal with them! Take a closer look beneath the fur, their skin is usually white so ticks and fleas are easier to spot. Comb them over a light colored sheet and see if black specs fall down (those are usually fleas). Ticks on the other hand are a little trickier to find and get rid of. They can range in size and color; some are actually skin or sand color, which make them harder to see. However, make sure you have a careful look behind the ears, in the armpits, neck and even between the toes as these are choice locations for them to attach to your pet.
Did you find any ticks and/or fleas? Not to worry we will help you.
If you find fleas:
Take action! Don’t leave your poor pet to suffer without doing something about it. If you are not already equipped you may need to go to the pet supplies store to buy a flea comb. You will also find it useful to prepare petroleum jelly, towels, mild dish soap and a bowl of hot soapy water. For animals that are not used to having baths, this part gets a little tricky and maybe even very messy. If it is possible to have an extra set of hands to help you hold on to your pet during this process it would be great! If not, hold on tight you may get a few scratches and bruises in the process while your animal tries to escape.
The idea is to try and submerge the animal in water up to their neck if possible, if not at least showering them down with warm water. Then lather the soap (away from the eyes) on the entire body. Through this whole process, as soon as you see any fleas drop them in the bowl of soapy water. Rinse your cat or dog with new fresh water and pat dry. Throw the used towel in a plastic bag and place your pet on a new towel for brushing. Don’t get discouraged if your pet in a little upset with you right now, it’s not fun for them since they have no idea this is for their own good.
Now you will need your flea comb, petroleum jelly and water bowl close to you. You can dip the comb in the jelly and comb your pet, especially in target areas like the neck, tail and even the face. When you see fleas stick to the jelly in the comb, rinse it in the soapy water to drown the fleas. Repeat these steps until you have combed the entire body. For those of you who have large dogs I apologize but yes it must be done.
Once you have finished, all supplies and towels should be put in a plastic bag ready for thorough washing. As for the fleas floating around in the bowl of soapy water, now is the time to feel your victory and flush them down the drain!
If you find ticks:
Tick removal is a simpler process yet this does not mean less of a headache. Ticks must be removed one by one. You will need fine-tipped tweezers and antiseptic ointment. When you find a tick never tug on it with your fingers or nails, this could only make matters much worse for your pet. We want to remove the entire tick, including its head. With the tweezers get as close to your animal’s skin as possible and gently pull up. If you jerk or twist you may find that the head is still in your pet’s skin! Ewww! This only causes more work for you, so don’t stress and stay calm. Use a sterilized needle to gently remove the head. As I mentioned above, it you can have an extra pair of hands to help you with this process, so much the better.
Once the whole tick is out you can either drown it in alcohol or flush it down the toilet. Ticks do not drown in water like fleas, so make sure you get rid of it. Resist the temptation to crush ticks as this can spread disease.
#2- Detox Your House
There is a reason we usually follow the words fleas and ticks by infestation. They spread rapidly and especially when fleas are in the house, they tend to be hard to get rid of later. Fleas lay eggs that will hatch even after you have already cleaned the house. They usually can live around 4 weeks, so getting them all out of the house can be a real pain. Needless to say after having bathed your pet, we want to try and keep him flea free. So any tools and towels used in the flea removal process should be promptly washed. All of your companion’s plush toys, blankets, bed etc., should all be screened and washed in case of eggs that will hatch later.
This process may seem long and endless but thorough vacuuming and washing will soon find its victory against fleas. Repeat this process at least once a week, especially in the rooms your pet likes to spend most of his time. If he enjoys lying on the carpet, vacuum regularly. If she prefers sleeping on the couch, perhaps place a sheet or blanket that is more easily changed and washed. If you seem to be losing your battle, you may need commercial help such as sprays or powder to kill the eggs and existing fleas. However, please be sure whatever products you use are not toxic to your pets or your own health. You don’t want to detox your house from the fleas only to fill it with harmful chemicals!
#3- Detox Your Yard
A big step to tick and flea free animals is avoiding nice breeding grounds for them in the yard. Many of us forget this essential step, yet, ticks and fleas do not just grow on animals, they come from outside. It is in fact as important as ridding your pet and house of these nasty parasites. If you have a fenced in yard, make sure you take the time to inspect it. Ticks and fleas tend to enjoy living in tall grass and where there is heat and moisture. Therefore regular trimming and grass cutting are a good place to start. If you cannot do it yourself, there are always kids in the neighborhood looking for a job and a little extra cash to spend. Don’t be shy to ask for help or hire help.
If you live in a wooded area, be sure to remove dead plants, trees or excess brush from your yard. These are the usually a nice place for bugs and parasites to nest.
Once you have nicely cleaned the yard, the work is unfortunately not over. We all know that grass, trees and plants constantly keep growing; so trimming and cleaning once will unfortunately not cut it. It must be done regularly. Also, another helpful tip to detox your yard are nematodes. These worms naturally feed on flea larva therefore a great ally to flea control in your affected yard areas. Or, you may opt for chemical sprays and powders instead. Here again, please make sure that what you buy is not harmful to your pets who love having fun rolling around in the grass.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. ‘AGAIN?!’ I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news but regular shampooing during peak tick and flea season will also be a big help. There are many homemade or store bought shampoos to help your pet stay as tick and flea free as possible. It is however important to choose wisely. Read labels and warnings. Take into consideration your pet’s age before using some products. If you have a young kitten or puppy, they may be too young for some products, so please read carefully before buying any products.
When you are ready to shampoo your pet, read the instructions carefully for best results. Remember to protect your pet’s eyes and ears before starting. Perhaps some cotton balls in the ears to make sure they do not get water inside. When your pet is infested with fleas you will notice them gather where it is dry. Don’t freak out if your see them flock to your dog or cat’s head which is dry, when starting the treatment. Try washing the neck first to prevent this from happening. In either case, fleas have little chance of survival because you are hunting and will succeed!!
Just remember, even though your pets may not be happy about bath time, it’s for their own good. Don’t get discouraged, stay calm and take your time. The importance here is that you have happy and healthy pets in the end.
#5- Repellents and Treatment
You have done a wonderful job for your pets if you have managed to do steps 1-3. No pet could ask for a better pet parent. Yet, sadly, while these steps do help, they do not guarantee against future infestations. This is why our last step should not be overlooked. Last but certainly not least- repellent and treatment. After shampooing your pet and you now know is tick and flea free, try using an insect repellent. If at all possible, try and find a natural formula without DEET. Or, try a homeopathic repellent such as the INSECT REPELLENT special formula for animals by Homeoanimal.com.
I must honestly keep the very best for last. A special homeopathic formula called TICKS AND FLEAS. I call it the best because it can be safely used as prevention and treatment. It can be used to treat tick and flea bites and also repel these parasites for prevention and control. The best part is that it is so easy to administer, so there will be no need for more fighting with your pets!
We all want our pets to live happily ever after with us. Honestly this is usually easier said than done. However, with a little know-how and some help from the professionals, we can succeed! Natural remedies and help are always available to you at Homeoanimal.com. If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or problems, contact us and we will be happy to help you find the solution.
Enjoy your tick and flea free summer!!