Checking your dog for Ticks & Fleas
Ticks are nasty little arachnids (they’re eight-legged creatures like spiders, and therefore are not insects) that will latch onto your dog’s skin and feed on their blood supply. They are most common in wooded areas, but your dog should be checked for them regularly because they can carry a number of diseases. The best place to look for these bugs is under the collar or on the dog’s underbelly, buried in the fur. If you find a tick, be sure to use tweezers and remove the tick by its head.
Fleas can also be found in the same places as the Ticks, under the fur. The presence of fleas can be betrayed by the sight of their droppings on the dog’s coat. The fleas can vary in size, adults fleas can grow to about an eighth of an inch long however they can’t simply be picked off the dog like ticks can. They will jump before you can catch them. If you do find a flea or their droppings, you know it’s time to start the dog on a program to control and eliminate these pests.
Fleas are probably the most successful creatures on the planet in terms of reproduction. There are over 2,400 species and they are difficult to control for a variety of reasons: One female flea will produce 25,000 offspring in one month. An unfed adult can live for several months. The chemicals used to eradicate adult dog fleas have no effect on the eggs. Fleas are very good at mutating to resist new pesticides.
Fleas are a menace to dogs! They cause allergic dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia. Most of the eggs are not laid on the dog but in the dog’s bedding, in the rug, and on the furniture. It is extremely difficult to eradicate fleas completely. The most you can hope for is to control them and to keep your dog reasonably comfortable during the warm, moist flea season.
The best way to control dog fleas is to remove them from your dog and your house. Take him to a groomer for the day and have him bathed with veterinarian-approved flea shampoo. Spraying or dipping him with a residual pesticide has little or no lasting effect.
While he is out of the house, hire a company that uses a non-toxic product to spray the carpets and the furniture. These companies usually guarantee a flea-free home for one year.
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