K9 Magazine

Fleas & Your Dog

“They say a reasonable number of fleas is good for a dog - keeps him from broodin' over being' a dog.” ~ Edward Noyes Westcott

Far be it from us to disagree with Mr Westcott, but no dog – or owner for that matter – would likely agree that any number of fleas is good for them.

It’s the same sad song each year, “My dog has fleas and I can't seem to keep on top of the problem!” Sound familiar to you too?

Every time warm weather approaches, dog owners can be found constantly checking their dog in an attempt to prevent their dog suffering from fleas and the unlucky ones will reach out to fellow dog owners and vets alike across the country to seek advice.

The problem of parasites and the complications they cause is an extensive and serious one, but one that has been faced by nearly every pet owner at one time or another.

In an effort to spare your pet a great deal of suffering this coming summer and before you seek out a dog flea treatment for your pet, we would like to answer two questions that are most commonly asked by pet owners about those annoying parasites; fleas and ticks.

Let's see if our guide to canine flea control can be of some assistance...

CLICK HERE To Read an Extract
How Will I Know If My Pet Has Fleas Or Ticks?

The most common reaction of an animal infested with external parasites is an insatiable desire to scratch or chew at his skin. Frequent periodic checks of your pet’s skin and coat are advisable, especially during warm spring and summer months when the parasite problem reaches its peak performance. Fleas are frequently spotted leaping from place to place across the animal’s body.

If no fleas are readily apparent, part the animal’s fur close to the skin and check for flea excrement, which are specks of black, pepper-like dirt that, when wet, regain the colour of the blood ingested by the flea. This discovery is a very good guarantee that fleas are present in your pet. On long-haired animals, checking the lower abdomen, genitals, and other areas of sparser hair growth will sometimes give clues when all else fails.

Ticks are more easily identified since they are easily seen by the naked eye. If long hair is in the way, a thorough stroking of the animal’s skin from head to toe will usually reveal the whereabouts of ticks by the feel of their tiny, hard-shelled bodies close to the skin.

Engorged female ticks are generally quite obvious because of their greatly enlarged size and distinctive appearance. Ticks frequently go unnoticed when lodged in ears, around the anus, on the tail, and in between paw pads, so be sure not to neglect those areas.

Do Different Parasites Prefer Certain Host Animals?

Yes, there are fleas that prefer cats and those that would rather have their meal on dogs. However, while some fleas do exhibit certain preferences, they are not usually host-specific. That is, in the absence of the preferred host, the flea will attack a less desirable host such as birds, rats, and even humans.

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