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What are ticks and fleas? Aren’t they one and the same thing? How to prevent my dog from them?These are some basic questions that often come to a dog/pet owner’s mind; therefore today we will decode the entire guide to a tick free existence for your pet.
It is important to know that ticks and fleas are two very different parasites.Let’s begin with explaining ticks. They belong to the class of spiders, sporting eight legs. Ticks can latch onto dogs, cats, humans, rats, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, cattle, foxes, rabbits, deer and lizards among others. Their life spans till three weeks or to three years. They can patiently wait for the ideal victim to come along suitable to act as a host. Ticks are capable of laying thousands of eggs after which it dies. Basically the female drops off from the host’s body just before laying the eggs that it does at any spot it has fallen on. Some of the diseases ticks can pass on to the host are a form of arthritis known as Lyme disease, another tick borne disease found in dogs and human beings is Rickettsia.
Fleas on the contrary have six legs and can be classified as an insect. Fleas latch onto lesser number ofhosts namely cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons and opossums. And often spend their entire life that spans to a 100 days on one host. In case of ticks, its larvae will feed on an organism that it will leave behind after developing into a nymph that will feed on a different host and lastly the adult feeds on another new host. But only an adult flea obtains the required nourishment from the host organism. A flea is capable of laying twenty to forty eggs each day till quite a few weeks that travel with the host and often settling at points where time is spent by the host. Fleas too are known to transmit diseases such tape worms that can occur when a dog swallows an infected flea, another disease causing bacteria transmitted byfleas to dogs, cats and few other creatures is known to infect the host with Bartonellosis.
The very first move would involve trimming the shrubs and mowing the lawn in your home. A carefullypruned garden will discourage the ticks and fleas to hide in your yard. Also the shrubs should be planted with appropriate space between them as this will allow air and sunlight to reach them thereby exterminate young fleas. Products such as flea sprays for yards can be used too. Also there are many oral and topical products for dogs and cats consisting of different compound for killing fleas and ticks. Some compounds work on all the stages of only fleas namely eggs, larvae and adult stage. While a few other compounds kill fleas & ticks both.
During summer time your pet is more prone to getting infested by fleas. A simple solution to ward off the problem would be to shorten or shave the long hair of your pet. Some owners also practice a simple routine of running a flea comb/ brush through the pet’s coat after each outdoor visit made by their dog/pet before stepping inside the house. This helps a great deal in shunting-out the unwanted bugs that have taken refuge in the pet’s hair.
Further we must ensure to vacuum clean the home once a week that will help in getting rid of the pests, flea eggs and larvae. Vacuum clean the carpets, rugs, under the sofa & other furniture items, and spots where your pet spends a good amount of time. The benefits of vacuum cleaning have been stated by the AgriLife extension service of Texas A&M University that stresses on a 30% of larvae and 60% of flea-egg elimination through the above procedure.
Mike Merchant a PHD professor and extension urban entomologist at the A&M AgriLife Extension Service favors the use of DE- diatomaceous earth. According to the professor the fine talc must be showered under cushions, furniture, in pet beds and cracks in wooden flooring to prevent the pests from growing and settling down. This powder attacks and dries up all the different stages of fleas. DE is a non-toxic concoction that is safe for kids and pets, however care must be taken not to inhale too much of it while sprinkling it indoors as it may cause harm to the lungs.
Let’s discuss some interesting home remedies to protect the humble pets against the pests.
These subtle home-made remedies work well when the flea invasion hasn’t reached unmanageable levels. However the intervention of chemical treatments/flea medications for dogs becomes unavoidable in the eradication of fleas in an extreme case.