We all want our pets to be happy and healthy, right? Unfortunately, whether you own a cat, rabbit, horse or dog, pesky parasites are an ever present risk, but with a little foresight there’s a few things we can do to prevent and treat them. Take a look at our guide to keeping you and your four legged friend flea and tick free!
First thing’s first, what are they? Fleas are tiny brown biting insects, measuring just 1-2mm and living for 7-14 days. Feeding on blood, they commonly live on cats, dogs, rabbits and hedgehogs. With strong back legs, they jump on your pets and use them as a host. Highly transmissible, they can be easily picked up from other animals, clothing, footwear or even grass. Sadly, they’re most common during the summer, but our nice warm houses mean infestations can happen year-round.
Many people think of fleas simply as a nuisance. Unfortunately though, while they may be small, they’re nasty. Fleas can cause serious discomfort and illnesses including Flea Allergy Dermatitis, Anaemia and Tapeworm.
95% of the problem isn’t your dog! A female adult flea can lay a whopping 50 eggs a day, which will fall off everywhere your pet goes. As a result, just a few fleas on your dog could mean thousands around your home, no matter how often you clean it! From bedding and sofas to carpets and grass, they get everywhere. Once the eggs have hatched, the larvae tuck themselves away and spin a cocoon, where they’ll stay for up to a year, patiently waiting for the right time to emerge.
- Over Grooming
- Hair Loss
- Sores & Scabs
- Visible Fleas
If you believe you may have a flea infestation, it’s important to act fast. If your dog is showing symptoms, you’ll need a comb to check for fleas and flea dirt. You can distinguish flea dirt from everyday debris by placing it on a damp paper towel. If it is flea dirt, it will turn red when rehydrated due to the blood content. While combs aren’t practical for removing all the fleas, they’re great for doing quick and easy checks every few weeks.
Petface Flea and Dust Comb
Eradicating fleas effectively requires a comprehensive approach, your pets, house, car and soft furnishings will all need treating. Here’s what to do:
- Use frontline every 4 weeks.
- Regularly vacuum all carpets, soft furnishings and your car.
- Every week wash your pets bedding at 60C or higher.
- Use a household spray thay kills both adult fleas and their larvae.
- Allow your pet everywhere – Frontline will kill any fleas attracted to them in just 24 hours!
This process isn’t quick, it can take up to three months. However, you can speed it along by keeping your house warm and humid
Ticks are small and oval shaped with 8 legs. These nasty biting insects bury into the skin and feed on blood. They usually have a tiny head and big body, varying in colour from black or pink to purple or grey. When they find a host, they’re usually about the size of a sesame seed. As they feed, they quickly grow up to 200x their original size. There are lots of different types of tick that might attach to your pet, including dog ticks, sheep ticks and hedgehog ticks. Don’t be fooled by their names though, really they’re not fussy!
Sadly, if you spend lots of time with your dog around fields, moorlands, parks and forests then ticks are almost inevitable! In fact, a recent study found that 1 in 3 dogs have them. So, you should always check after a walk.
The most common areas for you dog to pick up ticks are the:
- Small Bumps
Your first instinct may be to pull ticks off your dogs skin or squash them, but don’t! This can be really dangerous, it risks leaving the mouthpart behind and causing an infection. If you spot one, speak to your vet about removing it or have a go at home using a specialist tool. To do this:
- Part your dog’s fur.
- Slide the tool under the tick, as close to your dog’s skin as possible.
- Twist the tool clockwise 2-3 times or until the tick lets go.
- Lift the tick away.
- Check the tick is fully intact.
- Wrap it in tissue paper and put it in the bin.
- Wash your hands.
Be sure to monitor your pet for any signs of ill health after the removal of a tick. While ticks themselves aren’t usually life threatening, they can carry illnesses such as Lyme disease. This is a bacterial infection, requiring urgent veterinary attention. So, look out for:
- Lack of Appetite
- Swollen & Painful Joints
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
Flea & Tick Prevention
When it comes to fleas and ticks, prevention is key! Thankfully though, this is much easier and cheaper than getting rid of them, thanks to Frontline® Spot On Dog Flea & Tick Preventative Treatment. This range works by:
- Killing fleas on your pet within 24 hours.
- Reducing the risk of tick-borne disease by killing them within 48 hours.
- Killing lice.
Weighing Your Dog At Home
If you’re not sure how much your dog weighs, you’ll need to find this out before purchasing a flea and tick treatment. It’s best to do this by taking your dog to the vet or a local retailer with a scale. If this isn’t possible, you can check at home by following this video guide.
How To Apply Frontline Spot On:
- Remove the applicator from the packet.
- Hold it upright with the foil side towards you and snap the applicator tip.
- Part the fur at the base of your dogs ned and apply to the skin.
- Do not let your pet swim or bathe them for 2 days.
- Reapply once a month.
Frontline Spot On is suitable for almost all dogs, providing they aren’t unwell, are at least 8 weeks old and they weigh at least 2kg. Unlike other brands, Frontline was originally launched as a veterinary prescription medicine. This means their range has been clinically developed to be highly effective and safe. You can purchase it from us online and in-store without a prescription.
If you have any questions about flea and tick prevention or treatment please comment below or give our customer service team a call on 01706 507555.