If you have recently adopted a cat or dog, parasite prevention may not be one of the first things that you think about. Nevertheless, it is something that should be a priority once you bring your pet home. Unfortunately, parasite problems are extremely common among domestic animals, including cats, dogs and even mammals like ferrets, and not only are they unpleasant to suffer, they can have serious consequences for the health of your pet.
Two of the most common parasites to affect our pets are fleas and ticks. Here is what you need to know about why prevention is so important and what you can do to help keep your pet safe from these parasitic infections.
Why it is important to protect your pet from fleas
Fleas are definitely one of the most well-known parasites, but many owners don’t realize quite how much of a problem an infestation can post, not only to their pet but also to their entire household!
Fleas are small, wingless creatures that survive by drinking the blood of their host. While they much prefer to feast on mammals like dogs and cats, they will quite happily tuck into human blood too. This means that if your pet has fleas, the humans living in your home could be bitten too. And any fleas on your pet will be very satisfied with taking up residence in your home, where they can survive without blood for a number of weeks and reproduce rapidly, meaning that a small number of fleas can quickly turn into an entire population in less than a month. Ridding them from your home is far from easy and is typically an extensive process involving repeated product use and cleaning until all the fleas at every stage of the lifecycle have been destroyed.
A large number of fleas living on your pet could potentially cause her to experience significant blood loss. Their saliva contains a toxin that will make her unbearably itchy, and worse still, some fleas are known to carry infectious diseases including tapeworm, typhus and tularemia. Needless to say, preventing fleas from affecting your pet and invading your home should be something you take very seriously.
Why it is important to protect your pet from ticks
Ticks may be less common, but they can be equally as devastating for your pet. These small, round creatures will also consume the blood of virtually any mammal that they come across, dropping onto them as they pass by in fields, woodland and parks. Once aboard your pet, a tick will migrate deep into the fur to feed. This can make spotting them quite difficult and you will need to examine your pet’s fur closely to identify one. Large populations of ticks are unusual but not unheard of.
Nevertheless, the biggest threat posed by ticks is the many infectious diseases that they spread. These include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. All of these can pose a considerable threat to your pet’s health. Many tick-borne diseases can also be passed to humans, putting the members of your family at risk.
Ticks can be removed using tweezers or a special tool called a tick-twister. However, prompt removal is essential to prevent the spread of disease.
Protecting your pet from fleas and ticks
Fortunately, it is now easier than ever to protect your precious furbaby from being bitten by fleas and ticks. Many of the preventative treatments available today actually combine repellents for both parasites into one solution. This also provides a cost benefit to owners who can find the expense of caring for a pet a little overwhelming at times.
There are various types of preventatives available, and these include:
- Oral medications
- Spot-on treatments
It may take a few attempts to find one that is most suited to your pet. For example, some animals struggle to swallow oral medications. Fortunately, there are some oral medications which are chewable. One of the most popular is Credelio®, a powerful and effective canine flea and tick preventative that is also renowned for being extremely gentle on dogs. This is because it targets the nerve receptors of fleas and ticks, while having absolutely no effect on your furbaby. Better still, it begins to work only 4 hours after being administered and just one, tasty, chewable tablet will protect your canine companion for an entire month. Credelio® is suitable for all puppies and dogs aged 8 weeks or older, provided they weigh at least 4.4lbs at the time of administration.
While solutions like Credelio® are extremely effective, it is important to note that no flea and tick preventative gives your pet lifelong immunity to these parasites. Exactly how long they are effective for can vary between solutions and products, but it is essential that you take note of the estimated lifespan of the preventative you choose, so that you can re-administer it before it is believed to ‘run out’ and leave your pet vulnerable to being affected.
In addition to repelling fleas and ticks from your pet, you can also take steps to keep them out of your home and yard. There are a range of different products marketed specifically as flea and tick repellents for your property. Make sure that you use them exactly as described and take note of any specific safety instructions, for example, removing any pets from the property before using it, or wearing protective gear such as a face mask or goggles.
For more advice on flea and tick prevention, including finding out more about Credelio® and other parasite prevention products, please do not hesitate to contact us and get in touch.