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As many dog parents will know, fleas and ticks are an ever-present concern. Failure to deal with these intrusive bugs quickly and effectively can cause major health problems. If you’d like to know how to protect dogs from ticks and fleas, you’ve come to the right place. Our canine experts at Barkbus share everything you need to know below!
To paint a full picture, we must first address the main reasons why flea and tick prevention is so important. If left to fester, these parasites can cause skin conditions and illnesses like Lyme disease, flea allergy dermatitis, rocky mountain spotted fever, and anaemia. In the most severe cases, these problems can even be fatal. Beyond your pup’s wellbeing, fleas and ticks can also pose a health threat to you and your household.
Look out for incessant scratching and chewing at themselves, which could indicate that your dog has a tick or flea problem. Moreover, if you start noticing hair loss or irritated skin as a result of this behavior, there should be cause for concern. In such cases, use the good old eye test to check if any ticks, fleas, or parasite faeces are visible. Then feel through your dog’s coat to ascertain whether or not there is a parasite presence.
The good news is, there are measures you can take to prevent flea and tick infestation. These steps range from the use of dog accessories, hygiene products, and even natural remedies. Read on below for more on the safest flea and tick prevention for dogs.
You can use different methods to protect your dogs from fleas and ticks. Here are some of the best ones, but we recommend consulting with your veterinarian before making a decision on what is best for your pup.
Flea collars are bands that have been saturated with chemicals that can kill or repulse fleas and ticks. While they can be very effective, their effectiveness does vary from product to product. What’s more, these collars primarily protect your pup’s neck and face region — not necessarily the entire body, which can be even more pronounced for larger canines.
That said, keep in mind that flea collars are more effective as a preventive measure than a corrective action. They are also highly durable, affordable, and extremely easy to use.
If you do decide to use flea collars to guard against fleas, just be sure to regularly check your dog’s coat. In some instances, the chemicals on these collars can irritate the skin. Additionally, don’t use them as regular dog collars. They’re not designed to withstand any type of vigorous pulling.
Shampoos are another convenient and affordable flea prevention method. You won’t be short on options either! Different shampoos will provide various levels of protection for your fur babies. Some products will wipe out all parasites, while others will mostly target the adult bugs, but be less effective against eggs.
Generally speaking, flea shampoos are a shorter-term treatment than collars. At the same time, they are a more effective intervention method than collars if your dog has an active infestation. Normally, the shampoo will kill parasites upon contact, allowing you to easily comb them out after rinsing the product from your dog’s coat.
Some shampoos do offer longer-term protection as well. They work by infusing the dog’s hair with trace amounts of the product, which then repels parasites long after thorough rinsing.
A major problem with both collars and shampoos is that they both tend to use fairly strong chemicals. While it’s often in very low quantities — just enough to kill tiny parasites — they can sometimes irritate dogs. This becomes a real issue if treatment is required over a prolonged time period.
You could also prepare a lemon juice solution by boiling six cups of water, then adding one tablespoon of salt, and four slices of fresh lemon. Boil everything together for two minutes, then remove your mixture from the heat and leave it to settle for 24 hours. This time, apply it to your pup’s coat after the bath. Lemon acts as a natural repellent to fleas, and will reduce the chances of your pup experiencing an infestation.
You need to consider several factors when deciding which method is best for preventing a flea and tick infestation. The most important thing to account for is your dog’s health and medical background. For instance, if your dog is allergic to certain substances, be sure to check the ingredients of each remedy. Similarly, if your pup has particularly sensitive skin, some of the harsher chemicals might be unpleasant for them.
The other major consideration is whether or not you’re trying to prevent an infestation, or cure an existing one. If prevention is the goal, options like flea collars which are designed to guard against future infestations will be best. Alternatively, ridding your dog of an existing infestation will require more targeted methods like shampooing. At the end of the day, you need to assess your dog’s specific circumstances to determine the best method for flea and tick control.
Removing ticks isn’t something neither you or your four-legged friend look forward to. To make things quick and easy, there are effective tools you can use for assistance. The Tick Twister Tick Remover Set is a popular product, which helps you painlessly extract ticks from your dog. Importantly, it does this without squeezing the tick, while also removing all of its mouthparts. This greatly reduces the chances of infection and makes this product one of the safer tools available.
The ZenPet Tick Tornado Tick Remover is another effective tick removal device. This product allows you to carefully twist the parasite off your pup’s skin without leaving any remaining parts. Your dog shouldn’t feel any pain during this process and is unlikely to get infected too. What’s more, the ZenPet Tick Tornado is small enough to conveniently carry around whenever you go on hikes.
Another tool that is particularly effective at removing ticks is the Original Tick Key - Tick Removal Device. Unlike the other products to make this list, it doesn’t use a twisting motion. Even so, the device is designed to remove the whole tick, leaving nothing behind on your dog. It’s also small and lightweight enough to sit on your keyring or fit in your wallet for easy access on the go.
You can get medication for your dogs if a flea issue manifests. It goes without saying that you should seek advice from your vet when buying medical products. There is a wide selection of flea pills for dogs on the market and the Bravecto Soft Chews for Dogs is one of the products that stands out.
This chewable flea and tick treatment for dogs is both convenient and effective. Unlike many other oral treatments, Bravecto protects your pups from parasites for three months at a time rather than just one. Additionally, the treatment is fast-acting! It will start killing fleas in just two hours and ticks in 12. The meat flavour also helps with administering the tablets. You won’t need to hide them in your dog’s food — they will leap at the opportunity to eat them!
Pet parents who are looking at how to prevent ticks on dogs can find an effective oral solution in NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs. It lasts a month and is designed to guard dogs from black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, Lone Star ticks, and brown dog ticks. These species of ticks represent the majority of the ones found in the United States. That being said, this treatment may be more appropriate for pups spending most of their time indoors due to the shorter time period that it’s active.
And there you have it — some useful tips that will help maintain your pup’s health and wellbeing. To make absolutely sure that your canine stays in peak condition, professional grooming on a regular basis is a great option. It’s the best way to protect your dog from ticks and fleas.
Get in touch with the trusted dog groomers at Barkbus for attentive, gentle care that keeps your pup looking and feeling their best. Call or text us at (800) 742-9255 to schedule an appointment today!