You see your pup or cat scratching and think, “Uh oh. Fleas?” And you may be right. Fleas and ticks can be a health problem for a variety of pets year-round, but they tend to thrive in warmer weather. Aside from the skin irritation they bring you and your pets, these pesky insects also bring other diseases along with them, such as tapeworms and Lyme Disease. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, read on for several ounces of tips to keep you and your pets healthy and pest-free.
Tip #1: Make your home hard for pests to live in. Fleas and ticks are resourceful and hardy, and they love to live in and outside of your home. One of the best ways to keep them off you and your pets is to disrupt their environments, both inside and outside.
To prevent fleas & ticks outside your home:
Regularly clean your pet’s outdoor habitat, home and bedding.
Keep yard weeds and plants from getting overgrown.
Rake or sweep up piles of debris, weeds and yard clippings where fleas and ticks love to live and breed.
Don’t feed wild or feral animals, who carry and transmit ticks and fleas.
Clean shady and cool areas where these pests hide, such as patio corners, garages, under decks and porches, etc.
Clean out and treat your car with pest prevention products if your pets or yard equipment spend time in them.
To prevent fleas & ticks inside your home:
Regularly clean your pet’s indoor habitat, carrier and bedding.
Vacuum thoroughly and regularly, especially entry/high traffic areas and where your pet sleeps. Studies show that vacuuming alone can remove up for 50% of flea eggs. Be sure to move full vacuum bags quickly outside.
Clean shady and cool areas where these pests hide, such as basements, cellars, baseboards, under furniture and inside drapery folds, etc.
Use foggers or carpet powders to treat your home for fleas, ticks and eggs your regular cleaning may have missed.
Tip #2: Use prevention products for pets. Keeping your home environment clean will help fleas and ticks be in limited supply, but using products specially designed for this purpose will keep them away even more effectively. There’s a variety of great sprays, pills, topical products and even anti-flea collars that will be very useful in keeping these pests off your pets. Consult with your veterinarian to find the best product for your pet.
Tip #3: Prevent pests with regular grooming. Keeping all your family members–both human and fur–clean and well groomed will help nip fleas and ticks in the bud and prevent them from spreading. After being outside, especially camping or hiking, check everyone for ticks, which can hide easily and then burrow into the skin. Use a flea comb regularly on your dog, cat, rabbit or other pets to weed out both adults and eggs. And make sure to regularly bathe your pets using anti-flea shampoo to keep their coats free from these bugs.