Why Should I Worry About Fleas and Ticks

Why Should I Worry About Fleas and Ticks

Picture this scenario: Your buddy is sleeping by the fireplace after an afternoon of working like a dog, playing catch, chasing squirrels, and sniffing around bushes. But his leg starts to twitch. “He might be dreaming,” you think. But now he’s wide awake, and he’s full-on scratching. What’s going on? It’s time to inspect your dog’s coat thoroughly for fleas and ticks. Proactive measures can help prevent unexpected headaches and potential illnesses from these “ordinary nuisances.”

Why Are Fleas and Ticks Harmful?

More than mere inconvenience, fleas and ticks can negatively impact your cat’s or dog’s well-being. A trip to the bushes can necessitate a trip to the vet, depending on what else was there!

Both fleas and ticks harbor diseases and can cause lots of discomfort. These parasites can also spread to their human roommates!

Dogs and cats often carry loose ticks right through the front door without their victims taking a single step into the high grass. So before you shrug these pests off as ordinary nuisances, take a second to review the facts.

Flea Foes

Fleas are wingless, jumping parasites that leave intensely itchy bites with each blood meal. Nobody likes to feel itchy—not even pets—and one scratch leads to another. Soon, your pet could have irritated patches of skin, or “hot spots,” primed for allergic reactions and secondary infections. Should too many fleas feed on your cat or dog, they may actually remove enough blood to cause anemia, a condition that most frequently affects kittens and puppies.

Parasites are efficient carriers of many diseases. Fleas can infect cats and dogs with ailments like cat scratch fever, and rarely, tularemia (“rabbit fever”), which cause symptoms like fever, lethargy, and weight loss. Fleas can also function as hosts to the flea tapeworm (Diplyidium caninum). Should a cat or dog ingest a host flea while licking their wounds, they could become hosts themselves. Once bitten by a flea, scratching your bites can push flea waste potentially infected with bacterium that causes flea-borne typhus (an uncommon but serious disease in southern and southwestern areas of the United States), through the surface of your skin.

If fleas have not begun to feed, they can survive without blood meals for more than 100 days, so fleas may be present in a home even after pets have been removed. Cat flea populations can grow quickly. Female fleas begin to lay eggs within two days of first feeding—and can go on to lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. Disease and sleep disturbances aside, more fleas lead to more bites and more chances for them to spread.

Tick Troubles

Because of their smaller household populations, ticks are more difficult for unsuspecting owners to detect. As with fleas, cats and dogs may experience problems associated with itching, but this is the least of your pet’s tick problems.

Common diseases from ticks vary by region. Depending on where you live, they have been known to infect dogs with Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and the sometimes-fatal Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some ailments carry a waiting period: Days after being bitten by females of certain certain tick species, dogs may have trouble breathing, chewing, and swallowing, and the hind legs may appear weakened. This malady, “tick paralysis” is not caused by a disease organism, but by a toxin released by the tick itself. Unaddressed, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure or paralysis and death. The cure is simple—removing the offending ticks!

More commonly transmitted to dogs (but also applicable to cats and humans), ehrlichiosis begins with milder symptoms before going dormant, during which time it can be difficult to diagnose. After years of good health and clean medical exams, the illness can redevelop into its more severe chronic phase.

What Can I Do?

There’s no need to scratch your head while your dog scratches his belly. Follow the Bio Spot Active Care™ 3-Step Protection plan to help prevent or eliminate fleas and ticks and keep their offspring from reappearing.

Step 1: Pets - Dogs

The first stage in the proactive care and prevention of fleas and ticks involves your pet. Consider topnotch preventive measures such as Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Spot On®, which kills adult fleas and ticks and helps prevent reinfestation by breaking their life cycles and continuing to kill adults (as well as flea eggs and larvae) for up to 30 days. The Smart Shield® Applicator helps ensure that the liquid penetrates the fur and spreads through the oils of your dog’s skin.

Step 2: Home

Now more than ever, prevention is as important as elimination. You want to kill fleas and ticks on your pet, but you must also treat eggs and larvae from other locations in and around your home. Many parasites live in bedding, carpet, and furniture.

An untreated home can continue to host fleas and ticks that quickly propagate in carpeting and upholstery. Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Home Spray helps prevent fleas for up to seven months. For added protection, the Bio Spot Active Care™ Flea & Tick Carpet Spray reaches pests’ hiding places in rugs, carpets, drapes, pet bedding, upholstery, and furniture to eradicate existing fleas and help prevent larvae from developing into biting, reproducing adults. Bio Spot Active Care™ Carpet Powder helps to kill fleas during all four life stages and help prevent flea infestation for up to a year.

Step 3: Yard

Where did your dog pick up a flea or tick in the first place? Most likely in your own backyard! Even if you’ve never had fleas or ticks inside your house, front lawns and backyards could be another story entirely. These outdoor locations often harbor pests that homeowners remain unaware of until their pets bring them in. The best way to help ensure that fleas and ticks stay gone is by clearing them out where your dog walks and plays, from the sidewalk right back to the fence. Bio Spot Active Care™ Yard and Garden Spray can be used on lawns, trees, shrubs, and flower gardens to keep killing fleas and ticks (and many other insects) for up to four weeks of control. Keep the wilderness outside, and bring comfort back to your home.

Bio Spot Active Care and Smart Shield are trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc. Spot On is a registered trademark of Wellmark International.

Did You Know?

An estimated 899 species of ticks populate the globe, with about 90 of these occupying the continental United States.