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17 December 2021

Ways to Protect Pets from Ticks and Fleas

Fleas and ticks aren’t just annoying for your pet, they can be fatal. Even if your pet is lucky enough to escape Australia’s deadly paralysis tick, there are other types of parasites that can cause a range of health issues such as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), secondary skin infections or flea tapeworm.
The good news is you can take steps to protect your pet and help relieve the symptoms of parasites. For example, you should give your pet over-the-counter treatments like Simparica Trio to ward off parasites and additionally, your vet may be able to recommend other options to help manage external parasites.

When trying to get these insects to “bug off”, it’s critical to use methods that won’t worsen your pet’s irritated skin. For example, applying certain tick and flea treatments may worsen the existing symptoms and cause skin problems. It is important to talk to your vet to find the right tick and flea treatment for your pet if they suffer allergies or have existing skin issues.

Here are some pet-friendly methods to help safeguard your pet from these pests.

Use APVMA approved Flea and Tick Products

It’s crucial to use only legitimate and safe products that meet the clinical standards established by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
Remember the old saying that “prevention is better than cure.”

Several types of pet products for flea and tick prevention are available. Your first line of defence should include one of the following:

● Chews
● Spot-on treatments
● Collars

Chews in Australia have been developed specifically for local conditions. Popular chews include Simparica Trio, Bravecto and Nexguard Spectra. Consult your vet or the manufacturer’s website to determine how often you administer these as the frequency of administration will provide cover for different types of parasites, and remember that there are important differences between the safety of products between dogs and cats. If your pet has skin allergies, your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best product.

In addition to the main parasite defences, you can augment your preventative protocol by using some of the following products:

● Powders
● Oils
● Shampoos
● Pet overalls, bandanas, blankets, and neck gaiters

Each of these products addresses different health needs your pet has. For example, topical oils may help relieve pain and itchiness from tick or flea bites, however, you should always consult with your veterinarian before using any topical treatments.

Meanwhile, pet overalls provide extreme protection. Not only do they protect your pets from biting insects. They also safeguard them from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Bathe and Groom Your Dog Regularly

Simply washing and grooming your pet regularly may help prevent tick and flea infestations. It is important to check with your veterinarian the best product to use for your pets’ skin, as our pets have different skin/fur to us! Soap works because it removes the outside exoskeleton layer of the bug’s body, making it vulnerable. But be careful not to overdo it. Dogs should not be washed more than twice a month unless your vet recommends it.

You can also use a fine-tooth flea comb to remove any critters you find on your pet. Then you can drop the fleas into a container of soapy water.

Treat All Your Household’s Dogs at One Time

This step can help prevent cross-infestation. During the flea season, September to February in Australia, you should also be especially vigilant.

Regularly Inspect Your Dog After Walks

You should take this step after strolling in the bush or grassy areas.
Check your furry friend even if you’re using a tick preventative. Make sure to check particular body areas, including:

● On the feet (including between toes)
● Under the legs
● Around the eyes
● Around and inside the ears
● Under the tail

You can check for ticks by searching your pet’s skin and fur for bumps. Feel for lumps over the dog’s body. Once you feel any bumps, part the fur and check for ticks underneath.

Be Cautious About “Natural” and “Herbal” Products

These products may seem pet-friendly, but they can contain plants that cause allergic reactions in cats, dogs and humans. They may also not be as effective in preventing infestation as the APVMA approved medicines.
Here are some specific plants to be wary of:

● Cedarwood
● Cinnamon
● Lemongrass
● Peppermint
● Rosemary

You might think these plants are generally healthier for pets than flea and tick treatments with chemical compounds. However, researchers have conducted studies on the effectiveness of these plants for treating dogs with fleas and ticks and they are not as effective as the AVPMA approved medicines.

If you try natural remedies, make sure to monitor your pet to determine how well tolerated the natural remedies are and ensure you always seek veterinary advice prior to using any of these products as some can be harmful to pets.

Remove Discovered Ticks as Soon as Possible

This step is essential to reduce the likelihood your pet will develop a secondary illness besides the bites themselves. Ticks may also release toxins, which can cause skin problems for your companion pet.

You can remove the tick using various methods. For example, use a tick removal tool or a pair of fine tweezers. You should also consider wearing gloves for the procedure. If you do manage to remove a tick, it is still important to seek veterinary advice to check your pet over for any early signs of tick paralysis (remember to pop the tick in a clean Tupperware container or jar and take it with you, so your vet can identify the type of tick).

If you’re unable to remove the tick, contact your veterinarian immediately. They’ll have the expertise and equipment to remove the tick effectively.

Clean Your Pet’s Environment Daily

Make sure to clean and vacuum your home regularly. Wipe down areas against which your pet’s body rubs. These areas include spaces between couch cushions and behind and under furniture. These steps may help end your parasite problem.

If your home has a severe flea infestation, consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner to steam clean your carpets. It’s a small cost to help protect your pet animals from the tiny bugs but remember to check with your veterinarian when it is safe for your pet and you to return home.

When washing beddings from a human or pet bed that your pet sleeps in, use soap and hot water.

Final Thoughts

When selecting flea and tick treatment for dogs or cats, you have many options to get rid of the creepy crawlers.

While these parasites can cause health issues, selecting flea and tick products with pharmaceutical ingredients may themselves cause health risks.
For instance, certain products for dogs are toxic to cats.

Knose has developed pet care plans with input from vets to provide simple, stress-free pet care for a flat monthly fee.

You can sign up here to get flea, tick and worming treatments delivered to your door just when it’s due and gain access to the 24/7 Pet Health Hotline. Plans also include an allowance for vaccinations, vet checkups and more.

Talk to your vet if you are unsure about the treatment that’s right for your pet.

All Knose customers can call the Pet Health Hotline for free to get advice on preventative treatments.

References

1. Fight Fleas and Terminate Ticks
2. Fleas and Their Control
3. Keep Your Dog Safe From Fleas and Ticks With 10 Prevention Tips
4. Fleas: Treatment & Prevention
5. Flea Bites: What They Look Like, Symptoms & Treatment

Post by Knose Pet Care in collaboration with Casey Bloom