Keeping Pets Flea and Tick Free This Summer

Fleas and ticks can harm your pets - and the rest of your family - year-round. Follow these tips to avoid pest problems.

The Willow Pet Hotel community loves all sorts of animals, with any number of legs; however, fleas and ticks are two types of creepy-crawlers that just don’t belong sharing our homes. Follow these tips to keep all your more welcome family members safe from them year-round.

A Year-Round Threat. It’s a common misconception among pet owners that fleas and ticks have a “season”, and that our climate will “kill off” these pests each year. However, that is not the case, and it’s important that pets be protected from fleas and ticks year-round to ensure their health, and the health of your family. Of course, summer months when your dog is out frolicking in tall grass might call for extra vigilance against ticks; and sneaky fleas might be extra-eager to hitch a ride into your nice, warm house on your cat’s fur as the temperatures drop in late Fall. But these critters are a problem in every season and it’s important not to let your guard down!

Not Just an Inconvenience. Fleas and ticks can be dangerous for your pet and your family! The itching and irritation your dogs experience during a flea infestation are usually caused by an allergic reaction to the fleas’ saliva; however, they can also cause health problems by sucking too much of your pet’s blood, and even by transmitting tapeworms! Ticks can carry as many as 15 diseases that could harm or even kill your pet, not to mention make family members seriously ill if they attach to their skin. Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks, can cause fever, headache, fatigue, and depression when contracted. Left untreated, the disease can affect the joints, heart, and central nervous system— so keeping ticks at bay is vital!

Stop Infestations Before They Start. In the case of these parasites, prevention is key. Keep brush and overgrowth in the yard where pets play to a minimum. If you know your dog has been romping around an area with tall grass or brush, check him thoroughly for ticks afterward. These pests thrive in dark, overgrown environments, so keep your pets away from such places—as fun as exploring under the porch may seem! It’s also a good idea to spray your yard with a product that includes IGR. Start at the perimeter and work outward, and make sure not to let your furry friends play in those spots for 24-48 hours after you spray.

Better Safe than Sorry. The most effective way to keep fleas and ticks off your pet and out of your home is a veterinarian-recommended medication. Most pet owners use monthly topical products to prevent and treat fleas and ticks; Frontline Plus, Advantage, and K9 Advantix are popular choices. These are chemical treatments that kill pests already on your pets as well as prevent new ones from latching on. These should be used year-round, and although they are both effective and safe in general, it is always wise to use them under the guidance of your vet.

A Natural Alternative? Brewers yeast and garlic are often used together to repel fleas and ticks to some degree of success. Garlic is an especially note-worthy option, as not only can it be helpful in repelling fleas, but it’s also a healthy supplement for your canine companion. Try by adding ½-1 teaspoon of garlic powder to your dog’s food (depending on his size). Just don’t rely entirely on this method right away—it takes about 6 months for it to take full effect, and if you don’t remember to add garlic to his diet at least every other day it won’t work. And don’t worry—that garlic-y smell that hangs around your coworker when he gets back from lunch every day? Not a problem for your pooch! Whereas people’s sweat can have a garlic aroma, dogs don’t excrete the same chemical through their skin, so he’ll keep the same dog smell you know and love.

Remember, when in doubt talk to your vet about all your flea and tick prevention options. It’s an important part of keeping all your family members healthy—furry or otherwise! And visit us for more helpful information at www.willowpethotel.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tricia July 14, 2012 at 10:37 PM
We use Bug Off Garlic daily, which is a natural alternative. We routinely walk the dogs in Blydenburgh Park, and other areas prone to critters, with no issues. We double up the dose during the summer months just to make sure but we feed it all year round. The garlic breath dissipates really quickly. Add that to giving them a full rub-down after we come back from their walks, and we've never had an infestation. Great article! :) Tricia, St. James


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