How do dogs get fleas and ticks?

Dogs can get fleas and ticks from going outside, being in contact with areas where other pets or wildlife have been and dropped fleas and ticks. Anywhere these pests have laid eggs and those eggs have hatched, your dog can pick them up too. They can also be brought into the house on your clothing, and then lay eggs in your house which will hatch and go to your dog.

Dr. Becka Byrd
Northern Oaks Bird & Animal Hospital

Do fleas and ticks just cause discomfort or can they cause diseases?

Ticks definitely cause diseases, carrying many different diseases from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to Ehrlichia to Lyme disease, all of which can have devastating consequences in dogs. These diseases can be lifelong and repeatedly flare up and go into remission. Fleas can also carry diseases and cause anemia to the point that dogs need blood transfusions.

If a dog is primarily indoors, is there still a need to worry about fleas and ticks?

Yes, fleas and ticks can be brought into the house on clothing, and even if a dog just goes out to go to the bathroom, they can pick these up. You can't control your neighbor's yard or the wildlife that comes through your yard. All you can do is control your dog and provide appropriate prevention to prevent fleas and ticks from infesting them.

How effective are flea and tick medications?

Current flea and tick medications are very effective, but it's important to use something current as old products may have developed resistance. Newer products are designed to prevent resistance in fleas and ticks.

What's the difference between over-the-counter and prescription flea and tick medications?

Most over-the-counter options are either an insecticide or a product that used to be prescription and has since developed resistance. Prescription treatments are generally the most effective.

What types of flea and tick preventative treatments are available?

There are oral medications, some of which are combined with heartworm preventative. There are also topical medications and prescription collars. Flea dips and shampoos only kill fleas at the moment of use and do not provide lasting protection.

How does a dog's lifestyle impact the type of flea and tick treatment recommended?

Different dogs have different lifestyles and different tolerances for things. For instance, a dog that is exposed to a lot of wildlife areas might need a different treatment than an apartment dog that doesn't have exposure to green space.

How can fleas be identified?

Fleas appear as little black specks that run around on a dog deep in the fur. They leave behind a flea dirt - a little brown or black speck that looks like a coffee ground or a little piece of dirt. If you get it wet, it turns red because it's actually their feces and it's made from digested blood.

What should be done if fleas or ticks are discovered on a dog?

Contact the veterinarian, who can recommend the best product for your dog and provide treatment for any effects your dog has had, such as itching, flea allergies, baldness, scabs, or hot spots.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (210) 496-1315, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Fleas and Ticks - FAQs 1

Dr. Becka Byrd
Northern Oaks Bird & Animal Hospital

How do I keep my pet from getting fleas and ticks?

The best way to keep your dog from getting fleas and ticks is to keep them on preventative measures. Flea prevention is crucial, especially in warmer climates where fleas are a year-round problem. It's essential to give your pet prevention treatment year-round.

What are the different types of prevention?

There are oral chewables, and some even combine heartworm prevention. There are also topicals. The chewables are often the preferred choice because they have a longer duration, and can be combined with heartworm prevention. There's even a chewable that lasts for three months, which is convenient as it requires less frequent administration.

How do you know what prevention is best for your dog?

Choosing the best prevention method for your dog is a discussion you should have with your veterinarian. The decision depends on your dog's lifestyle and activities. For example, if your dog spends a lot of time in the water, a topical treatment may not be the best option.

Are flea baths, dips, powders, and collars effective?

Flea baths, dips, powders, and collars only kill fleas upon contact and do not have residual activity. They're not really effective for long-term control. These methods might kill the fleas on your pet at the moment, but they won't prevent new infestations.

How do you control fleas in your dog's environment?

You can treat both your yard and home, or even call a professional pest control service. Most of the modern products used are safe for your dog. It's crucial to treat your home to eliminate any flea eggs, prevent new fleas and ticks from hatching, and maintain preventative treatment on your dog to eliminate the food source for these pests.

Finally, are they going to resolve on their own or are there any home remedies?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Fleas and ticks have been around for millions of years, and they have evolved to be quite persistent. They've developed resistance to many treatments over the years. That's why ongoing research is needed to find new treatments as they become resistant to current ones. Fleas and ticks aren't going to go away on their own or be eliminated with home remedies.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (210) 496-1315, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram