Flea and Tick 101
Fleas and ticks can pose a frustrating problem throughout most of the United States. While certain areas of the country have cold winters that offer a few months of reprieve, in warmer areas of the country, fleas and ticks can be a year-long concern. Fleas and ticks thrive in warm, humid environments. These small pests can pose health concerns for both you and your pets. Unseasonably warm winters can explode flea and tick populations in your home and surrounding areas.
What are the Health Concerns for my Dog or Cat?
FLEAS are associated with a number of health concerns for your pet. They can transmit tapeworms and cause allergy driven dermatitis, a common dog and cat skin disease. If left untreated, pets exposed to fleas can develop anemia, or a low red blood cell count. Symptoms of anemia are pale skin, chills, weariness, shortness of breath and heart disease. Anemic pets may demonstrate strange behaviors such as eating ice, clay, or dirt.
TICKS are found throughout the United States and are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease. They also can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and canine tick paralysis. Ticks can be found year round, but are most active in spring, summer and fall months. They thrive in warm, humid areas and are most prevalent in the spring when temperatures start to rise. Mild and wet winters tend to cause higher tick infestations.
How Do I Check My Pet for Fleas?
1. Using a fine-toothed metal flea comb, run the comb along your pet’s back or stomach, making sure the edge of the comb comes in contact with your pet’s skin.
2. The comb will screen fleas and ticks from your pet’s coat. Put the fleas immediately in a bowl of soapy water to drown them.
3. Try brushing or rubbing your pet’s coat while he or she is standing on a white sheet or towel. Watch the sheet or towel carefully for small, black specks that might be fleas or “flea dirt” (flea feces). Flea dirt is generally black and comma-shaped. If moistened and rubbed lightly, flea dirt will leave a brownish-red stain.
4. If you have not found any trace of fleas, but your pet continues to scratch, consider taking your pet to the veterinarian for a professional check-up.
How Do I Check My Pet for Ticks?
1. Ticks prefer attaching close to the pet’s head, neck or stomach. They can be as small as a pinhead and very hard to see.
2. Start at your pet’s head. Look around the whisker area, the snout and the ears, including inside.
3. Next, examine the stomach, back, paws, between toes, and the tail.
4. Gently comb the hair. If you encounter a snag, be careful as it may be a tick. Do not attempt to remove a tick with the comb as typically the head will leave tick pieces in the animal’s skin.
What Kind of Ticks Can Be Found Where I Live?
The Brown Dog Tick is found in every state in the U.S. Other ticks are more regional. The American Dog Tick is found in all states from Texas and North Dakota east to the Atlantic Ocean, and along the California Coast. Rocky Mountain ticks have the highest concentrations in Rocky Mountain states and in the Pacific Northwest. This species of tick is most commonly associated with passing along disease to humans such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Other species include the Black Legged Tick, the Gulf Coast Tick, and the Lone Star Tick.
AMERICAN DOG TICK
AMERICAN DOG TICK
Found east of the Rocky Mountains and in limited areas on the Pacific Coast.
LONE STAR TICK
LONE STAR TICK
Primarily found in the Southeastern and Eastern US.
BROWN DOG TICK
BROWN DOG TICK
Found throughout the US.
WESTERN BLACKLEGGED TICK
WESTERN BLACKLEGGED TICK
Usually distributed along the Pacific Coast in the US.
deer tick
deer tick
Found in the Southeastern, Northeastern, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwestern states.
What Do I Do if My Pet Has Fleas and/or Ticks?
1. Each pet’s situation is unique. To find the PetLock® products that are right for your pet, please use our Product Advisor.
2. Wash your pet’s bedding in very hot water, or replace it. If you suspect that you have a flea infestation in your home, it’s advisable to treat your home by vacuuming carpets and upholstery (throw away vacuum bag or clean vacuum cup with soap and water), and treating infected area with PetLock® Indoor For Fleas, Ticks and Spiders.. Consult your veterinarian for specific suggestions for your particular situation.
3. Treat your yard by cutting down tall brush and grass near the home and dog run. This helps cut down your pet’s exposure to fleas and ticks. Also consider spraying your yard with PetLock Yard for Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes.
Why Do I Need a Product That Kills Flea Eggs and Larvae Too?
1. Believe it or not, only 5% of the total flea population are adults. The other 95% are flea eggs, larvae, and pupae waiting to become reproducing adults. So a product that doesn’t completely break the flea cycle is asking for trouble. Before long, those flea eggs and larvae become adults. It only takes two fleas to lay hundreds of flea eggs in a matter of days.
2. PetLock® spot-on treatments kill adult fleas, kill newly emerged fleas before they lay eggs, and prevent all flea stages (eggs, larvae, pupae) from developing. Best product results are achieved when the product is applied monthly and throughout the year.
3. This diagram illustrates the four main stages of the flea life cycle. flea life cycle