With spring right around the corner, both you and your dog might be looking forward to the great outdoors. But before you head for the brilliant sunshine and lush grass, take the necessary steps to prevent fleas and ticks from latching on. These simple steps are easy, effective ways to protect your pet and home from fleas come springtime.
Keep Your Yard Trimmed
It turns out that maintaining your lawn is great for both your home’s curb appeal and your pet’s health. This means something as simple as keeping your lawn mowed and shrubs trimmed. The closer that shrubs and trees are to your home and windows, the greater chance fleas have of moving indoors. Less shrubbery on your lawn means fewer hiding spots for pests.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the appearance of raccoons, stray cats, and other feral animals. If you have the habit of placing bowls of food outdoors for these animals, you might want to reconsider it. They are almost always infested with unwanted fleas.
Oral Flea Medication
Oral flea medication, arguably the most effective and convenient way to eradicate fleas, comes in the form of chewables or pills. Whenever a flea bites your pet, the active ingredients in the medicine are transmitted to the flea to kill it. The unique chemical ingredient in each type of oral flea medication targets fleas in different ways. Some target adult fleas, while others target larvae. Some act to prevent fleas from laying eggs. The type of medication that’s best for your dog depends on the stage of infestation and his or her own health. That’s why it’s important to work with your veterinarian to identify the best plan of action. He or she will also be able to warn you of side effects that may be seen, especially if your pet uses other medications.
Clean, Clean, Clean (Your Home)
Even if fleas have been eradicated, it’s likely that eggs and larvae have accumulated unnoticed in your yard or home. That means that they can infect your dog a second time if left untreated. In the home, eggs and larvae are often found in carpeting and rugs. So, be sure to vacuum these areas several times a week, especially if you’ve experienced a recent flea infestation. Also remember to vacuum under furniture, cushions, or anywhere in the home that your pet frequents. According to the Agrilife Extension Service of Texas A&M University, taking these steps can eliminate 30% of larvae and 60% of flea eggs. After vacuuming, make sure to empty the vacuum bag and change it frequently.
Due to their convenience, many pet owners reach for spot-on treatments that are simple dabbed onto the skin of your pet. However, different products are designed for different types of dogs and will vary in potency. Therefore, you must follow the provided instructions on the label carefully. It is generally recommended that you consult your vet prior to use to identify the best course of action.
Inspect Your Dog After Each Walk
Immediately after returning home from time outdoors, take a few minutes to visually inspect your pup for fleas or ticks. Check in between the toes, in the ears, and around the neck area. If you have a long-haired dog, be sure to spend some extra time looking through fur as well. This simple step can help you prevent an infestation before it ever begins