Dog Fleas and Ticks

Fleas are an all too common problem for dogs and their owners. The little pests are a nuisance that can cause itching and scratching. They can carry disease and they can induce severe scratching and biting of the skin in dogs that are allergic to the saliva in flea bites. Ticks are another little pest that carries diseases and annoy our pets.

Signs of fleas include biting at the base of the tail, generalized itch, poor coat, and “flea dirt” which is dried, digested blood. The flea dirt will turn red when wet. You can run a flea comb through your dog’s fur to help gather flea dirt and fleas. Sometimes fleas can be hard to spot. The finding of one flea on your dog likely means there is much more than you have seen. Fleas can carry tapeworms, and the presence of tapeworm segments around the base of your dog’s tail suggests recent flea infestation. Ticks are often found around the head and neck and range in size from a raisin to a pin head. They are often firmly attached to the skin. They can sometimes be felt through the fur more easily than seen. You can usually spot small legs on the large round body.

Prevent fleas and ticks on your dog by using flea and tick control from your vet year- round. Keep your lawn short and avoid tall grass. Check your dog frequently for ticks, especially when they come inside after a walk in an area known to have ticks.

Treatment options for ticks include oral medications such as Bravecto and Nexgard, as well as the topical Revolution and Advantix. No one medication is 100 % effective and you must decide which one is best for you considering you and your pet’s lifestyle.