Talking about fleas and ticks is enough to make most people’s skin crawl. However, when considering your pet’s health, discussing these menacing pests is a must. These tiny yet formidable pests can cause many problems for your furry friend, ranging from irritation and discomfort to severe illnesses. Fortunately, using proactive prevention measures, you can shield your pet from flea and tick infestation perils. Our Bartow Animal Clinic team covers flea and tick control for your furry friend’s health.

Illnesses fleas and ticks can cause pets

Before learning about prevention strategies, you first need to grasp these adversaries’ natures. Both fleas and ticks can transmit several diseases, making them more than just nuisances but a significant threat to pet health.

Fleas are minuscule, wingless insects that live by feeding on mammals’ and birds’ blood. Diseases carried by fleas include:

  • Parasitic dermatitis (i.e., skin allergy)
  • Typhus
  • Cat scratch disease
  • Tapeworms
  • Plague

Ticks are arachnids that attach themselves to hosts, including pets and humans, to feed on blood. Tick-borne illnesses include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Babesiosis—red blood cell infection
  • Tularemia—rabbit fever
  • American canine hepatozoonosis, caused by tick ingestion 
  • Anaplasmosis—bloodstream infection

Flea and tick prevention

Preventing flea and tick infestations is far more accessible and effective than treating them once they take hold. Here are some proactive measures you can take to safeguard your pet:

  • Regular veterinary exams — Schedule routine visits with our veterinarian. Based on your pet’s health status and lifestyle, our veterinarian can recommend suitable preventive measures. They will also screen for parasitic infections, including heartworm and other internal parasite testing. 
  • Topical treatments — You can apply flea and tick prevention products, such as spot-on treatments and sprays, directly to your pet’s skin. These products typically contain insecticides that kill and repel fleas and ticks for a specified period. 
  • Oral medications — Veterinarian-prescribed chewable tablets or pills provide systemic protection against fleas and ticks. These medications circulate in your pet’s bloodstream, killing parasites when they feed. Many pets enjoy the chewable tablets’ flavors, which make them a great choice for pill-resistant pets. 
  • Flea and tick collars — While not as effective as topical or oral medications, collars infused with insecticides help protect against fleas and ticks for a specific time. Ensure your pet’s collar fits correctly, and regularly check your pet for discomfort signs or skin irritation. 

  • Environmental controls — Regularly vacuuming your home, laundering pet bedding, and getting rid of weeds can help reduce flea and tick populations in your home and yard. Minimize your pet’s exposure to areas where fleas and ticks are prevalent, such as tall grass and wooded areas, especially during peak flea and tick seasons. 
  • Year-round vigilance — In many parts of the United States, including Florida, fleas and ticks are prevalent year-round. Milder winters, moderate temperatures, and humidity make an inviting habitat for these pests. Your pet can become infected through one flea or tick bite, so you must administer their parasite prevention throughout the year. 
  • Inspect your pet — Look at your pet’s skin and fur regularly for parasite signs such as tiny black deposits, scabs, bites, or anything unusual. If you spot anything, contact our Bartow Animal Clinic team, and we will examine your furry pal. Brush your pet daily and keep the fur around their paws and ears trimmed. Regular grooming can help you spot trouble early.

Your pet’s flea and tick prevention is your responsibility. By implementing a comprehensive prevention plan, you can protect your pet from several parasite-borne infections. Start safeguarding your furry friend today by contacting our Bartow Animal Clinic team. Although people and pets must coexist with fleas and ticks, our team can help ensure your pet and their environment remain parasite-free.