Summer brings hot temperatures and high humidity. It also brings some of the most annoying pests – fleas and ticks. These parasites can cause significant health issues for your pets including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Fleas and ticks are practically impossible to keep at bay and can take weeks to months to get under control. What can you do to protect your pets from these parasites? Check out these 8 tips to prevent fleas and ticks from taking over your pets and your home.
- Use a preventative year-round. While fleas and ticks are more common in the summer months, some can survive indoors during the winter. Check with your vet to see which preventative product is best for your pet and use it as directed. Make sure to check the expiration dates on products as they will lose their effectiveness after the expiration date. Check with your vet to see if there are any new products you can try that may not have been on the market before. Make sure to check the labels to ensure dog products are used on dogs and cat products are used on cats. Some products that are made for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats.
- Check regularly for ticks. You should perform tick checks on your pets regularly, especially if you have been in areas that may have ticks. Make sure to check all over your pet’s skin, in their ears, and under their armpits. Remove any ticks that you find immediately and notify your vet if your pet has been bitten.
- Groom your pet regularly. Comb your pet on a regular basis with a flea comb/brush. this allows you to bond with your pet while still giving you a chance to check for any parasites that may be hiding under their fur. Bathe them at least once a week with a flea and tick shampoo.
- Get regular checkups. Make sure to stay up to date with routine examinations with your vet. During the exam your vet will check for any signs of parasite problems to make sure the preventative product you are using is effective.
- Clean behind your pets. Clean crates and carriers at least once a week with warm, soapy water. Commit to a weekly wipe down of their equipment. Bedding should be cleaned in hot water at least once a week. Choose a pet bed that has washable, removable cushions and covers. If you can, try and have more than one cover so you can replace one while the other is washing. If your pet’s bedding looks or smells dirty even after washing, replace it and start a regular laundering schedule.
- Vacuum often. Fleas are known to live in carpets, rugs, and pet bedding. Try to vacuum at least once a week and more often if you actually spot fleas. Fleas also avoid high traffic areas so make sure to vacuum along baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend significant time. Change your vacuum bags frequently.
- Clean up your yard. Fleas prefer warm, moist, shady areas while ticks like to hide in tall grass. Mow your lawn regularly. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed back. Rake leaves, brush, and clippings from your yard to give pests fewer places to hide and breed.
- Don’t attract wildlife. Wildlife like opossums, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and feral cats can bring fleas and ticks into your yard. Try to limit the access these animals have around your house and in your yard. Don’t leave bowls of pet food and water outside. Keep pet food stored in sealed containers. Remove food from bird feeders nightly. Use trashcans with locking lids. Seal any openings to crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
If you suspect a flea or tick problem, call a professional pest control company who can come and thoroughly inspect your home and yard and provide you with a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.