How to Protect Your Dog from Fleas and Ticks this Summer6 min read
- What are fleas?
- What are ticks?
- How dogs get fleas and ticks
- Which dog flea and tick control is best?
- Signs of Dog Ticks (and treatment!)
- Signs of Dog Fleas (and treatment!)
What are Fleas?
Fleas are easy to get, but unfortunately, they are difficult to get rid of. Fleas are a parasite designed for survival. They survive on the blood of a warm-blooded host like a human, a cat, a dog, rodents, and foxes. Fleas are miserable to live with and can cause the spread of disease to you, your family, and your dog.
It is important to use preventative measures to reduce the risk of infestation. Fleas can be found throughout the entire country, but they thrive in warm climates with high humidity.
The image below is provided by Web MD, and identifies the areas with higher flea and tick activity throughout the country. The darker the red, the more severe the flea and tick activity in the area. Note: Alaska was found to have moderately severe activity, and Hawaii was found to have mildly severe flea and tick activity.
The five states with the most common cases of dog flea activity are:
- South Carolina
- Washington State
What are Ticks?
Ticks are neither insects nor spiders; instead, they are mites, an external parasite. Ticks cannot bury into skin, but they do carry a variety of diseases. Similar to fleas, ticks thrive on blood in order to produce eggs. It is important to check yourself and your dog for ticks anytime to leave a woodland or grassland area because ticks can cause the transfer of disease.
Ticks can be found mostly throughout spring and autumn. American Dog Ticks and Brown Dog Ticks are of greatest concern for you and your dog. The following map provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the locations with highest occurrence. Note: Alaska does not have tick populations, but Hawaii does. Also note that the Brown Dog Tick can be found across the entire United States.
The five states with the most common cases of dog tick activity are:
How Dogs Get Fleas and Ticks
- Dogs that travel to warmer climates.
Warmer climates are the best hosts for fleas. When you travel to a warmer climate with your dog, they should definitely have preventative flea medication. Just like we need sunscreen for the e sun, your dog will need protection against fleas.
- Sharing a bed with a flea infested pet.
If you have more than one dog, and the other dog has fleas, both dogs will probably end up with fleas. Fleas can be shared when the same toys or beds are used. If your dog has a playdate and the playmate’s toys or fur has fleas, your dog will also be at risk for catching them.
- Interactions with other humans or animals.
Fleas can attach themselves to humans, objects, and other animals. Interacting with any individuals or items that have fleas can lead to an infestation. Interactions with local wildlife like squirrels, raccoons, and other cats and dogs can cause a flea infestation.
- Hiking and spending time outdoors.
Ticks and fleas are primarily present outdoors including in large gardens, kennels, and wildlife areas. If you often bring your dog for hikes or bring them indoors and outdoors, then it is important to use flea infestation prevention.
Which dog flea and tick control is best?
- Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, 8-month Tick and Flea Control – $58
By far, we recommend the Seresto flea and tick collar as the best flea and tick control for dogs. With over 16,600 reviews, this flea and tick collar repels and kills fleas and ticks. The collar is odorless, convenient and non-greasy. It also lasts up to eight months – flea and tick control for less than $8 a month! They also have an alternative for small dogs!
- Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea Control, 2-month Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention – $29
A more immediately affordable alternative is the Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control. Bayer’s K9 Advantix Flea and Tick control works in 12 hours and works for an entire month before re-application is needed.
Which dog flea and tick control is best for small dogs?
- Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, 8-month Tick and Flea Control – $73
Once again, Seresto’s Flea and Tick Collar wins as the best flea and tick control for small dogs! This flea and tick control method has over 6,600 positive reviews. Protect your dog from fleas and ticks for less than $9 a month.
Signs of Dog Ticks
If your dog has a tick, you will be able to spot it. Whenever leaving a nature area (especially with high grass), run your hand over your dog’s body to feel for any bumps. Ticks feel like small bumps on your pet’s skin. The head, neck, ears, toes, and feet are the areas ticks most often attach themselves to.
If you find a tick in your dog’s skin use a tick removal device. If the tick’s head or body is left inside your dog’s body, they can risk infection. If the tick is squeezed and blood is accidentally squeezed back into your dog’s body they are also more at risk for an infection.
Once again, prevention is best for dog ticks. Use a dog tick collar to keep ticks away. Check your dog’s fur after every walk to make sure no ticks have come home with you. Also check your body for ticks as well.
Dog Tick Treatment
If you think your dog has a tick, we recommend:
- Removing the tick with a tick removal device
- Use a topical treatment, spray, powder, collar or shampoo to prevent ticks
- Consult with your veterinarian if:
- A tick is in the ear canal
- Your dog’s behavior or health changes
- The tick bite swells and becomes red
Signs of Dog Fleas
There are many signs of fleas in dogs. It is important to prevent fleas, but in the case that the preventative step was skipped, eradicate fleas as quickly as possible. Not doing so can lead to a home infestation, and the spread of disease.
The signs of dog fleas are:
- Hair loss
- Pale gums
- Excessive scratching, licking, or biting
- The presence of flea eggs or droppings
- Hot spots
Dog Flea Treatment
If you think your dog has fleas, we recommend:
- Getting all of your pets treated for fleas
- Treat your environment for fleas
- Consult with your veterinarian
- Clean your home’s rugs, bedding, and upholstery
The best treatment for dog fleas is prevention! If you live in an area with a lot of tick incidents, please consider getting a flea and tick collar for your dog to deter fleas. If you visit a dog, clean your dog’s plush toys to ensure no fleas came home with you all. If another pet or animal has fleas, don’t allow your pet to interact with them. Ultimately, prevention is one of the best ways to avoid fleas.
Here is one of our favorite flea and tick dog collars to use, see if it’s a good fit for you!