Fleas and ticks are the top parasites affecting our beloved pets. They carry numerous diseases and are really difficult to eradicate.
What can we do about these things?
Is there any effective treatment we can use to shield our pets from harm? These are some of the things we’ll be discussing in this article.
Knowing the Enemy
The more you understand about fleas and ticks, the better you’ll be able to formulate measures to prevent them from harming your pets.
Here are some important points about fleas you should keep in mind:
- They’re small enough to run through the thick hairs of your pets without catching attention
- Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day
- Fleas take only a month to fully grow into adults
- Fleas can suck blood amounting to 15 times their weight
- Carpets and humid areas are the places fleas and ticks love to live in
- Fleas become highly active in humid areas and warm areas, ideally in temperatures higher than 35∞
Signs Your Pets Have Fleas
Cats and dogs show signs of infection when you observe the following symptoms:
- Dark brown dirt in the fur may signify the presence of flea droppings
- White specs in the fur may be flea eggs
- Scabs and other skin diseases
- Anemia resulting to lack of energy and pale color of gums
- Excessive scratching and hair loss
Some infected pets may not exhibit excessive scratching but this is because their skin isn’t that sensitive to parasite bites. You shouldn’t let your guard down and keep on looking for other symptoms they may exhibit.
How to Find Them
Ticks and fleas love to stay in areas where blood flows healthily. In dogs, these parasites can often be found on their neck, paws, head, and ears. On cats, they typically stay near the eyes, ears, neck, and tail.
Fleas sometimes leave a trail of their excrements called flea dirt. Flea dirt has a reddish brown color. If you suspect there’s flea dirt in your pet’s hair, you can wipe it with a wet paper towel for confirmation. It’ll smudge the towel with the said color, affirming your suspicion that your pet has fleas.
The best way, though, is to manually examine your pet’s hair under a strong light source. This way, you’ll be able to catch the fleas and eradicate them before they multiply.
Flea eggs are also often found in carpets. The carpet’s thick fibers provide excellent breeding ground for fleas and ticks. Look for small oval-shaped, white eggs in your carpet with the help of a magnifying glass.
An alternative way of luring them into the open is by using water, light, and heat. In a suspected breeding ground, put a bowl of warm water (with soap mixture) under the direct light of a lamp. Fleas will be attracted to the heat and light, luring them to jump into the water.
The soap mixture will eventually kill them when they jump in.
There are several flea treatment products you can also use to protect your cats and dogs from infestation. We’ll be discussing these products next.
Best Product to Treat Pet Fleas
When simple solutions don’t work, it’s time to use specialized products that can help you get rid of these pesky parasites. Here are some of the best items you can use:
1) Frontline Spray
The spray gives long-lasting protection to your pets against ticks and fleas. It can kill all said parasites in less than a day. The ingredient responsible for this effect is fipronil ñ an insecticide that can disrupt the central nervous system of various insects and pests. It can be applied to the skin of cats and dogs ages 8 weeks and above.
– Water-proof and remains in your pet’s body even after bathing
– Effective against ticks and deer ticks, on all different stages of their life cycle
– Efficient in resolving severe infestations
– May not be applicable to pregnant, aging, and nursing pets
2) Merial Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Control
– Can be used on pregnant pets
– Kills adult fleas within 6 hours
– A single tablet can provide 24-hour protection to pets
– Can be given to both cats and dogs
– Larvae and eggs cannot be killed by the product
– Not for long-term use
It’s a pet collar that can kill and repel ticks and fleas for up to 8 months. The collar releases low doses of ingredients that get absorbed by the fatty layer of the skin of your pets. It’s a long-term solution that doesn’t need constant, monthly replacement compared to other products.
It can be used on dogs 7 weeks old and above, and on cats 10 weeks or older.
– Works immediately the moment you wear it around your pet
– Kills adult fleas, larvae, and eggs
– Odorless and non-greasy
– Made of non-toxic materials that are safe even if chewed on by your pets
– Cannot be used on puppies and kittens younger than the prescribed age
4) Bayer Advantage II
Drastic improvements can be seen after a month of continuous use. It can eradicate up to 98% of the parasites lurking in your area. It also works as a shield to keep new parasites at bay for more than a month.
– Kills parasites in a couple of minutes the moment they come in contact with the product
– Water-resistant, making it applicable even after bathing
– Safe to use on puppies
– Product is shipped only within US territory
5) Capstar Flea Treatment
– Quickly kills adult fleas
– No prescription required to purchase
– No adverse side effects reported upon use
– Kills only adult fleas and not eggs and larvae
Things to Remember
Even if you apply all the anti-flea products you can get your hands on, there’s still a chance the infestation may resume. This can be frustrating, but the cycle will continue unless you eliminate the source of the problem. This can be harder to do and may be out of your control in certain situations.
When applying topical treatment like shampoos and ointments, make sure the product comes directly into contact with the affected area. This can be challenging to do for those who have hairy pets. Applying these products to your pet’s hair greatly reduces their efficiency, or worse, not even have any effect at all. These products are meant to be absorbed by the skin for maximum effect.
As with all medication, make sure you follow the instructions written on the package. You can’t use anti-flea shampoo for dogs on your cat and expect the same effect to manifest. These animals have different skin compositions and using products not meant for them may even have adverse effects on their health.
Thoroughly clean your house to ensure ticks and fleas aren’t residing in carpets and other dark areas. You may be able to get rid of the parasites clinging to your pet’s hair but if you don’t eliminate the eggs and larvae hiding in your house, you’ll enter the same cycle again. Eliminating fleas in all their life cycles reduces their chance of getting back into your life.
If these parasites are appearing in droves, you may want to try using products that can eradicate them all in one go. Make sure, though, that you’re getting non-toxic solutions harmless to you and your pet’s health.
Treating both your house and your pets will greatly reduce chances of being infected again. Completely eliminating all these parasites will take some time before you see any positive outcome. Be patient and do as instructed to get the best results.