All dog owners know that fleas and ticks are annoying parasites that can make both your own life and that of your dog uncomfortable, but that such problems can usually be kept under control with the use of a good, regularly applied flea and tick treatment product. However, beyond this point, there is a lot of misinformation flying around about fleas, ticks and keeping them under control, which can catch the unwary dog owner out when it comes to ensuring that you do what is best for your own dog where parasites are concerned.
In this article, we will cover six of the most common myths bandied around about fleas and ticks, and the real truth behind them. Read on to learn more!
Many dog owners think that all dogs, even those that are treated for fleas, are likely to have a few fleas on them, and that this is not an issue as long as the flea count isn’t high. This is not the case, however! Drawing a parallel to human problems, you wouldn’t think of saying that head lice on your children is not an issue as long as it’s not too bad, after all!
Fleas are an annoying parasite that can cause irritation and unhappiness for your dog, even in small numbers, and some dogs are particularly sensitive to fleas as well, such as the Shar-pei breed, which is often prone to skin sensitivities and allergies.
The ideal amount of fleas for your dog to be carrying is none, so don’t settle for more!
All flea treatments that you can buy for your dog will advise regular, year round usage, and this is indeed the appropriate way to use them for your dog. However, many pet owners are under the misconception that fleas die off during the winter, and so you can save some money by not bothering to treat your dog during the colder months of the year.
However, fleas can and do survive the winter quite happily, breeding and reproducing in your dog’s coat, largely thanks to our warm houses and indoor heating. Effective flea and tick treatment needs to be applied all year round!
It is only natural to wonder why you might need to spend £30 or more on veterinary recommended flea and tick products when you can buy an alternative offering in the supermarket for just a couple of pounds, but not all flea and tick products are created equal! Store brands will contain different, and much less effective ingredients than veterinary approved products, and so saving a few pennies on the purchase price will only cost you more in the long run.
Finding a tick on your dog can be worrying for the owner, not least because these ugly parasites are repellent to look at and unpleasant to remove! Added to this, all dog owners know that ticks can carry a range of unpleasant diseases, including potentially dangerous ones such as Lyme disease.
However, while ticks on your dog should be carefully removed and your dog monitored afterwards, by no means all or even most ticks in the UK carry and spread diseases. Thousands of dogs every year pick up ticks and have them removed quickly and simply, with no adverse effects at all, so while you should remain vigilant, do not panic!
People often have some fairly strong assumptions about ticks, how they act and what habitat they live in, which sometimes includes thinking that ticks can jump like fleas, and that they live in trees, waiting to leap or fall onto your dog.
Ticks cannot jump, however, and while they can crawl and climb tall grass, they do not live in trees, or climb particularly high, as all of their potential passing sources of food are likely to be at ground level!
Ticks are most commonly found in grassy and marshy areas, and they will wait in the grass for a passing body to latch onto. If you find a tick on your dog after a walk, it is highly unlikely that it fell out of a tree!
One of the traditional ways that people used to use to remove ticks was to hold a naked flame, such as a candle or cigarette lighter, to the body of the tick, in order to make it release its hold and drop off.
However, this method is not only ineffective, but also potentially dangerous! You are more likely to kill the tick while it remains embedded in the skin of your dog than you are to encourage it to let go, and you also run the very real risk of burning your dog as well.
In order to remove ticks safely and effectively, use a tick twister tool, a pipette of flea and tick remover, or take your dog along to a groomer or veterinary clinic to remove it for you.