With summer months here, many families start spending more time outdoors. Hiking, camping, and other adventure hobbies can be great family excursions, and many of us bring the entire family — that means Fido and Snowball are along for the fun, too! Of course, animal fur is ideal for pet pests such as fleas and ticks to grab onto. And because of their close proximity to us, our beloved pets can bring in NOT-so-beloved guests!
Fleas and ticks can be a major issue during summer months, especially if you have an active lifestyle (and share that lifestyle with your pets). These little buggers are specially equipped to latch on to that lustrous mane that your pet is sporting. Once they do that, it’s feasting time!
Ticks are usually easier to locate after they’ve latched on, because many have a tendency to swell to several times their original size after feasting! Also, they have a tendency to “set up camp” near the head of their victims (most of the time it’s difficult for animal hosts to reach their to head to scratch). To find a host, ticks use their back legs to hold onto plants and reach their front legs out to grasp onto passing victims. Ticks are perhaps most famous for transmitting Lyme disease, but can cause other health issues as well…. such as “tick paralysis” in animals.
Though fleas seem to follow the same “M.O.” as ticks, there are several key differences. Fleas are smaller (yet much more mobile) than ticks, their mobility allows them to quickly transfer between hosts. There are over 2000 variations of flea, but the “cat flea” is the one most often responsible for infestations in the US. Ironically, it may not have been the cat or dog to bring them in — fleas also love to infest mice and rats. If you have a rodent infestation, fleas may soon follow. The Black Plague has been attributed to rat-based fleas transmitting the disease to other animals, which then made their way to humans.
As always, “prevention is the best medicine.” To prevent infestation, pet owners should always thoroughly check their pets after any sort of outdoor activity (that includes simply being in the front or back yard!) A super easy way to check your pet is to simply brush its fur and run your hand along the body to smooth it. A tendency to scratch a specific spot or skin irritation can be good indicators as well!
And of course, regular pest control can abate any potential issues… and “emergency” pest services can help resolve things if you’re unlucky enough to get hit with infestation despite your best efforts.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered in both cases, and we’re just a call or E-Mail away!!!