Unfortunately, our pups can get fleas and ticks all too easily – especially when your dog is living an active lifestyle! These pesky little bugs can make your pet itchy, transmit diseases, and truly disrupt you and your pups’ lifestyles. Stay on top of the facts and makes sure to protect yourself and your pup from fleas and ticks.
Symptoms: Intense itching, extensive skin damage, biting, licking, or scratching. Also, keep an eye out for flea “dirt”; tiny dark specks that look like dirt, but are actually flea feces.
Incubation Period: There are four stages in the life cycle of a flea: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It takes at least one or two months until all the life cycle stages have run through their course.
Recovery: An infestation may take between six weeks and three months to eliminate. To prevent re-infestation, wash all dog beds and soft dog toys in hot, soapy water. Meanwhile, wash your own bed and vacuum anywhere your dog frequently lays.
How to prevent: Flea preventatives kill fleas that come in contact with your dog but they do not provide a protective force field. To truly combat fleas, clean your dog’s belongings and house and spray down your landscaping around your home.
Fitdog policy: Take flea preventative medication and receive a flea bath before returning to daycare. If we find fleas on your dog, we will give them a flea bath and charge to your account.
Interesting Fact: 90% of fleas life cycles are outside of your dog (that means they are living in your house or yard). Read more flea facts here.
Symptoms: Licking and chewing; red, inflamed skin; pale gums and lethargic; scabs; head shaking.
Incubation Period: Tick-borne disease can be transmitted within 3 – 6 hours of a tick bite.
Treatment: Use a pair of fine-point tweezers to remove a tick. To remove, gently pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin. After disposing of the tick, gently clean the site of tick attachment with soap and water.
Recovery: Improved health usually begins within 24 hours and most dogs are completely recovered within 72 hours.
How to Prevent: Keep your dog on flea and tick prevention year-round. There are very effective oral prescription products available, including Nexgard and Bravecto, that will provide great protection against fleas and ticks. For over-the-counter prevention, Frontline Plus or a Seresto collar are also an option.
Fitdog policy: Take flea & tick medication and make sure all ticks are removed before returning to daycare.
Interesting Fact: Ticks aren’t just a problem outdoors. The brown dog tick is capable of completing its entire lifecycle indoors.
More About Fleas and Ticks
Also, Cynthia Hervatic, DVM notes that there are several diseases caused by fleas and ticks. These include tapeworm, anemia, rarely the plague, Typhus, autoimmune disease, hot spots, ear infections, possibly inflammatory bowel disease, and acral lick dermatitis.
It is also important to know that several dogs are allergic to fleas. Dr. Hervatic says, “they develop a hypersensitivity reaction, then scratch (chew or lick), leading to red, inflamed skin with possible crusting, hair loss, and pustules (like pimples). The subsequent skin infection is due to self-trauma. You’ll typically see lesions on the caudal back, tail, thighs, and abdomen. It really only takes a few fleas to cause major problems, and often owners never report seeing the fleas.”
In order to prevent fleas and ticks, inspect your pet’s coat when returning from outdoor activities. Dr. Hervatic emphases that you need to place your pet on a monthly flea preventative. It is also helpful to use parasite prevention products all year round. These products come in the form of shampoos, rinses, sprays, chewable tablets, and topical spot-on treatments.
Updated on June 6, 2022.