Dog Fleas & Ticks: Parasite Prevention & Treatment for Dogs

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Fleas and ticks are two of the most frequent pet care concerns in America.

These tiny insects can cause big problems for dogs. These parasites feed on the blood of dogs and can cause itching, irritation, and in severe cases, anemia. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to dogs, while ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

According to a recent study, fleas and ticks will affect nearly 60% of dogs at some point in their lives. Tick and flea infestation​​ Overall, 40.2 %of the examined dogs were parasitized by ticks. This means that as a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs of flea and tick infestations and take preventative measures to protect your dog. Fortunately, While prevention is the best defense against these parasites, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks so you can help your pets if necessary. Read on for more information.


Fleas are the most common external parasite to plague companion animals. These creepy crawlies are bloodsucking bugs that can’t fly and can jump up to two feet high. They’re tough and can survive for as little as 13 days or as long as 12 months, during which time they can produce millions of offspring. The most common flea species in North America that affects dogs and cats is the cat flea, also known as Ctenocephalides felis. This type of flea favors dogs, cats, and humans as its preferred hosts. These small (2 mm), reddish brown, wingless insects have bodies.

Symptoms of Fleas on Dogs

You’ll often spot fleas on a dog’s belly, at the tail’s bottom, and on its head. Common symptoms of fleas in dogs include:

· Droppings or “flea dirt” in a dog’s coat (small dark “grains of sand”)

· Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)

· Allergic dermatitis

· Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin

· Hair loss

· Scabs and hot spots

· Pale gums

· Tapeworms

Symptoms of Fleas on Cats

If you notice your cat scratching often and intensely, grab a fine-tooth comb and comb through their fur. Be sure to check their neck and tail base. If you spot tiny, speedy, brown specks about the size of a pinhead in their fur, that’s a sign your cat has fleas. Other symptoms:

· Droppings of “flea dirt” in a cat’s fur (small dark “grains of sand”)

· Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)

· Itchy, irritated skin

· Persistent scratching

· Chewing and licking

· Hair loss

· Tapeworms

· Pale lips and gums

Causes of Fleas

· Fleas are easily brought in from the outdoors.

·Fleas flourish in climates characterized by warmth and humidity, thriving at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

· Fleas that are grown spend most of their lives on animals. They lay eggs in the fur.

· The fleas’ eggs fall onto rugs, upholstery, bedding, and furniture. The new adult fleas will then seek out a living host, be it a human or an animal.

Flea Complications

· Fleas can drink up to 15 times their weight in blood, which can lead to anemia or significant blood loss over time.

· This is especially problematic in young puppies or kittens, where an inadequate number of red blood cells can be life-threatening.

· Some pets are more sensitive to flea saliva, leading to an allergic reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis.

Flea Treatment

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has fleas. Make sure that all your pets receive flea treatment, including indoor and outdoor cats, and treat the environment as well. Your veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis, and the treatment plan may include:

· You can treat your pet for fleas using medications that can be applied to the skin or taken orally. You can also use shampoos, sprays, and powders to help get rid of fleas.

· Thorough cleaning of your house, including rugs, bedding, and upholstery. In severe cases, you may need to use a spray or a fogger, which will require temporarily evacuating your home.

· It is very important not to use products on your cat that are intended for dogs.

· If your pet keeps getting re-infected every time it goes outside, you may need lawn treatments.

Flea Prevention

· Employ a flea comb to groom your pet and launder their bedding weekly.

· Make sure to keep the outside of your house clean and tidy. This means removing any organic debris, like leaves and grass clippings, and keeping an eye on areas that are dark, moist, and shady since fleas like to hide there.

· You can find many products that help prevent fleas, which are available as both prescription and over-the-counter formulas.

Dog Ticks 1


Ticks are tiny creatures that feed on the blood of animals like cats and dogs. They are part of the arachnid family, just like mites and spiders. Ticks can spread diseases through their bites, but sometimes the host animal won’t even notice them. The types of ticks and diseases can spread depending on where you live, so it’s important to talk to your vet about what to watch out for in your area.

Tick Transmission

· Most species of ticks require blood meals from a host to survive.

· When ticks bite, they bury their head into the skin of the host and feast on their blood.

· In late spring and summer, ticks are usually more active and can be found in tall grass or brush. They often attach themselves to dogs and outdoor cats.

· Ticks can be transferred from pets coming into the household from the outdoors.

· Ticks like to attach themselves to the head, neck, ears, and feet of your pet, but they can be found anywhere on their body.

· Ticks thrive especially in warmer regions and specific wooded areas within the Northeast.

How Do I Know if My Pet Has Ticks?

· Ticks are usually big enough to be seen without any tools. However, before they start feeding, they can be as small as a pinhead and may go unnoticed. Be sure to check your pet regularly for any signs of ticks.

· If you live in an area where ticks are common and your pet spends time outside, it’s a good idea to check them regularly for ticks, even if they don’t seem bothered by them.

· Whenever your pet comes inside, make sure to carefully run your hands over them and check their ears, head, and feet for any ticks.

Complications Associated with Ticks

· Blood loss

· Anemia

· Tick paralysis

· Skin irritation or infection

· Lyme Disease

o Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs, cats, and other mammals.

o The deer tick is the main carrier of the bacteria that causes the disease, and it can attach to both dogs and humans to transmit the bacteria.

o Lyme disease can cause several symptoms in dogs, such as feeling sad, having enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, fever, and painful, swollen joints. In severe cases, it can also lead to kidney failure.

o Lyme disease is most effectively treated with antibiotics.

o With prompt, proper treatment, your pet’s condition should start to improve within 48 hours.

· Cytauxzoonosis

o Cytauxzoonosis is a lethal infection caused by tick bites.

o This blood parasite is common in the South and is carried by bobcats.

o Ticks that bite bobcats can pass on an infection to pet cats, and this disease can be deadly for them.

o When someone is infected, they may experience a high fever, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin and eyes, and even fall into a coma or die.

o The infection progresses rapidly—in a matter of weeks—and there is no known cure, though several studies have proved successful in managing certain strains of the disease.

Tick Treatment and Removal

When you find a tick on your pet, make sure to remove it carefully. Any contact with the tick’s blood can transmit the infection to your pet or even to you. Prompt removal is necessary, but it is important to stay calm and not rush. Follow these step-by-step tick removal instructions:

Step 1: Prepare

· Put on latex or rubber gloves so you’ll never have direct contact with the tick or your pet’s bite area.

· Ticks can survive being thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet, so it’s best to put them in a jar with rubbing alcohol after removal to make sure they are killed. This also allows you to hold it for veterinary testing.

· Get someone to help you, if possible, in distracting and comforting your pet while holding them still for tick removal.

Step 2: Remove

· Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the animal’s skin as possible.

· When removing a tick, grab it firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Pull straight upwards with steady, even pressure until the tick is removed from your pet. Then, place the tick in the jar containing rubbing alcohol.

· Do not twist or jerk the tick. If you squeeze or crush the tick’s body, it could cause the tick’s mouth-parts to remain stuck in your pet’s skin, or even make the tick release harmful fluids.

· Avoid squeezing or crushing the tick’s body when removing it because its fluids could contain harmful organisms.

Step 3: Disinfect and Monitor

· Disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water, even if you were wearing gloves.

· Sterilize your tweezers with alcohol or by carefully running them over a flame.

· Check the bite area over the next few weeks for any signs of localized infection, such as redness or inflammation.

· If your pet shows signs of infection, take your pet and the Jarred tick to your veterinarian for evaluation.

Tick Prevention

· Products that are effective against fleas are often effective against ticks as well and can help prevent future infestations. Speak to your vet about the best product for your pet.

· To prevent ticks from inhabiting your lawn, mow it much, remove tall weeds, and keep rodents away by keeping garbage covered and inaccessible.

In conclusion, fleas and ticks are common problems for dogs, but there are many preventative measures pet owners can take to protect their furry friends. By being aware of the signs of infestations and using preventative measures such as regular grooming and flea and tick preventatives, pet owners can help to reduce the risk of flea and tick-borne illnesses. By taking care of our dogs, we can make sure that they stay healthy and happy for years to come.


In conclusion, proactive flea and tick prevention is vital for your dog’s well-being. Regular checks, appropriate preventive measures, and prompt treatment are crucial to keep these parasites at bay. By staying informed and taking necessary actions, you can ensure your furry companion enjoys a healthy and comfortable life, free from the discomfort of fleas and ticks.

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