Dog Articles: Wellness

Dogging Fleas and Ticks: Debugging Your Canine

Adoring furry companions means enduring pests that come along for the ride. Like most of us, fleas and ticks love warm weather so expect to see more of these free loaders around your pet and your home in spring and summer.  Here are a few helpful tips and product ideas for preventing these parasites from plaguing your dog and your family all season long.

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Dog in field

Kill two pests with one remedy

Many of the same anti-flea products on the market can kill ticks as well plus protect against new infestations. If you live in an area highly populated with ticks, it’s usually a good idea to try these treatments. Always ask your veterinarian to recommend the best product for your dog.

Any Side Effects?

If you use a preventive flea or tick product, watch your dog for a few hours after application or administering oral tablets to see if they’re sensitive to any substances in the item, especially if you’re trying the remedy for the first time.

Keep the package and ingredients handy and call your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of sensitivity, such as:

  • Depressed behavior
  • Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Stumbling/incoordination or trembling
  • Seizures

If using a topical solution, wash your dog in soapy water and rinse his fur thoroughly with lots of fresh water to remove as much as of the product as possible.

If your dog's reaction was from a collar, remove it immediately. Also, call your veterinarian immediately if your dog’s sensitivity came from an oral tablet.

Au natural options

You may want to choose natural flea and tick remedies to avoid harsher chemicals that may be toxic to your pet.

Anti-flea powders made with herbs like rosemary, wormwood, eucalyptus or citronella have been made available for preventative care. Drops of essential oils, such as citrus or peppermint, diluted in distilled water have been used as well. However, ALWAYS talk with your veterinarian first to see if he/she has had any experience with more natural preventative methods.

To keep your best pal flea-free, groom them daily with a fine-toothed flea comb and wash your pet’s bedding with hot, soapy water at least once a week. 90% of the fleas that pester our pets like to sleep over, laying in wait in your dog’s comfy bed.

Always check the skin you (and your pets) are in

If you can’t avoid tall grassy, wooded areas be sure to examine your best pal’s coat when you return home to be sure it’s tick-free.

Do a full-body check on yourself and your kids, too—especially their hair. Search all clothing and gear to be sure there aren’t crawling castaways on board. If possible, shower or bathe within a few hours of being outdoors; it’ll help you easily find the ticks and wash them away.

Pest-proof tips

“When it comes to fleas and ticks, prevention really is the best medicine,” Blue Buffalo® Veterinarian Dr. Victoria Carmella says. She advises pet parents to use proven methods of flea and tick prevention to avoid the unnecessary spread of diseases, such as Lyme disease from deer ticks and tapeworms transmitted by fleas.

Try these helpful measures to make your home, yard and family members less tick- and flea-friendly:

  • Use tick and flea repellent and preventative measures regularly on pets and household items like mattresses, curtains and pillows.
  • Corral pets in non-carpeted, smooth floored areas as much as possible.
  • The vacuum is your friend. Use it. Often.
  • Wash linens, cushions and pet’s bedding in hot, sudsy water.
  • Shampoo your pet regularly.
  • Remove ticks safely with tweezers or special tick-removal tools.
  • Avoid wooded, bushy areas when you take walks with your pets.
  • Keep your lawn mowed regularly.
  • Remove all yard litter like fallen leaves and tall weeds and ensure
    garbage isn’t an easy-access, 24-buffet for rodents.
  • Gardening, hiking? Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants tucked into socks or boots; avoid open-toed shoes or flip-flops.