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How To Prevent Fleas And Ticks In Pets

A brown dog lies on a pebble beach at sunset, scratching it's head with it's back leg, at FurHaven Pet Products

Shielding Your Pet: A Comprehensive Guide to Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are no fun for a pet- they're itchy, painful, and can lead to drastic health complications like Lyme disease, anemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and many other possible issues. Preventing the spread of fleas and ticks to your pet is an important step to take in ensuring your pet's health and well-being. In this article, we'll explore steps to take to prevent fleas and ticks in your pet, as well as available treatments in case your companion does end up with fleas or ticks. 


A brown-black striped cat scratches it's ear while sitting on a light brown stone ground outside of a building, from FurHaven Pet Products


Preventing Fleas And Ticks On Your Pet 

There are many good steps to take when working toward preventing fleas on your pet. The CDC has several steps listed, all of which can be found below. 


Limit The Amount Of Time Your Pet Spends Outdoors

A white and black dog sleeping outside on a gravel patch in front of a wooden platform, from FurHaven Pet Products

This is a good idea regardless of flea control- leaving a dog outside for extended periods (or having them live outside) can cause issues in your pet's development of social skills and damage the relationship they have with both you and other humans.

When concerning specifically fleas and ticks, however, having your cat or dog live outside can be an especially bad idea- most of the time, fleas and ticks can (and will) find heavily traffic areas like sleeping grounds outside, and will take advantage of those locations. Limiting the amount of time your pet stays outside is a great way to prevent the potential contraction of fleas and ticks, as well as ensuring that the connection you have with your companion is healthy and strong.


Limit Contact With Wild And Stray Animals

A brown, white, and gray raccoon stares at something off camera while hid amongst a log and evergreen needles, from FurHaven Pet Products

Wildlife encounters can be dangerous for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most concerning is the transmission of fleas and ticks, as well as other diseases. Researchers have found that 130 different species of wildlife were found to harbor fleas that can infect both domestic cats and dogs, and that the limitation of contact between wildlife and domestic animals is crucial to reducing both the spread and overall population of these dangerous parasites. 

Steps you can take to limit your pet's exposure fleas and ticks from wildlife around the area include the following:

  • Keep in mind the presence of wildlife dependent on the area you live in- Do the research necessary to be informed about the environment around you
  • Avoid walks and runs with your companion at dawn or dusk- Wildlife love to roam and forage at these times
  • Keep your pets inside at night-  Nocturnal wanderers like coyotes, raccoons, and other critters are the most active at night. Keeping your pet inside during nighttime is a surefire way to keep them safe. 
  • Don't feed the animals!- Wildlife will get food from your home once, and remember that as a space to go back to. Do not leave bowls of food outside for extended periods, and don't hand out treats to the raccoons, no matter how cute they are.

If you are concerned about what to do regarding wildlife encounters in your area, you can look up local or state-based wildlife control services and policies dependent on which state you live in. 


Bathe, Brush, And Check Your Pets Regularly

A small brown dog covered in sudsy soap getting a scrub from an off-screen human, from FurHaven Pet Products

Keeping your pets clean and brushed is an excellent way to keep fleas and ticks out of their lives. Flea combs are incredibly useful tools that are important for pet owners to have, and can help in both identifying and prevention of fleas and ticks. A good old-fashioned bath can also be a great way to prevent or treat fleas and ticks, especially when using a flea and tick shampoo. Flea and tick shampoos aren't foolproof, but have been shown to be substantially more effective against fleas and ticks in specific versus standard soaps. 


Checking your pets regularly even before washing or combing for fleas and ticks is also vital for maintaining a safe and healthy lifestyle for your pet. A good rule of thumb is to check "ears and rears", or the neck, ears, and hindquarters, as parasites will settle in these areas due to their location being hard to scratch or gnaw on.


As to what you are looking for, fleas can be black or brown, will leave black specks of "flea dirt", and cause red spots that are itchy and painful. Ticks will start off extraordinarily small (about the size of a pinhead), but as they remain on your pet for longer and longer, they will eventually become engorged and resemble a small bean. Regularly use a flea comb to push fur back and comb for debris or the insects themselves.


Another thing to keep in mind is to wash your pet's bedding regularly- FurHaven has an excellent guide on how to wash our dog beds and bed covers that does a great job of explaining how best to clean your pet's bedding. If you'd like to check out beds from FurHaven, make sure to give our shop a look! We have new beds, as well as replacement liners or covers if you are concerned about the one you currently possess. 


Keep Your Environment In Mind

A person pointing at a map, from FurHaven Pet Products

Depending on your area, fleas and ticks may be either more or less prevalent. You should still be practicing good flea and tick prevention, but you might need to be more vigilant depending on the place you live in. American Kennel Club has an excellent guide on seasonally-based flea and tick presence, so make sure to check if your area is potentially more at-risk for infection. In general, it is a good rule of thumb that the warmer your area, the more likely fleas and ticks are to be present. 


An orange cat lying in some green grass outside, with two daffodils on either side of the picture frame, from FurHaven Pet Products

Another consideration for your environment is what foliage and grasses are present around your home. It is important to remember that fleas and ticks love tall grasses and bushy plants- a pet will brush by these tall plants and parasites will latch on in that moment. Keep your lawn maintained, and if you don't have control over the ground around you, mind tall grasses and bushes. At the very least, check your pet after going on an adventure that involves a lot of romping around in nature.


Explore Both Preventive and Treatment Medication Options

A large brown and black dog lies on a countertop while a veterinarian dressed in blue scrubs performs a checkup on the dog using a stethoscope, from FurHaven Pet Products

Many medical treatments exist both to prevent and treat fleas and tick infestations in your pet (and yourself!). Over the counter medications as well as prescription based drugs are available depending on the severity of infection and reaction, and are an outstanding way to keep your pets and your home healthy, clean, and safe from fleas and ticks. PetFriendly has a great guide regarding medications available for flea and tick issues, so make sure to give their article a read. Generally, there are several options when it comes to medications, such as topical spot treatments, slow-release chemical collars, ingestible medications, and several other choices. Make sure to consult your veterinarian whenever deciding on any kind of medication for your pet. 

A gray striped cat lies on a countertop, next to an old looking vase containing orange sunflowers, both in front of a screened window, from FurHaven Pet Products

Any More Questions about flea and tick prevention?

As always, it is always good to consult professionals regarding the health and well-being of your pet; your veterinarian, as well as animal health experts or published resources from websites like PetMD and American Kennel Club can be excellent sources of informative content that will help you decide what is best for your pet. 

We hope this guide will help you understand and prevent fleas in ticks in your pet, and thank you for reading!



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