You have probably seen television commercials for flea and tick medications like Frontline and K9 Advantix, but you may be surprised just how much you don’t know about protecting your dog from fleas and ticks. Every dog should be treated with a flea and tick preventive but there are several other things you should also do to keep your dog protected.
Many dog owners mistakenly believe that cold weather kills fleas and ticks, but the truth is that these insects thrive during the late fall and early winter. Though you may not see many ticks outside during the cooler months near the end of fall and the start of winter, they could still be living in your house. Another common misconception about ticks is that once a dog has been vaccinated against Lyme disease, flea and tick preventives are not necessary. This is absolutely false – even in humans, no vaccine is 100% effective and ticks are capable of carrying a variety of diseases other than Lyme.
When it comes to fleas, many people assume that they only live in carpeted areas of the house. While fleas tend to prefer carpeted areas, they are also likely to live in the cracks between boards or floor tiles where they can easily hop onto your dog. Perhaps the most devastating myth associated with fleas is that if you find a few fleas in the house you have nothing to worry about. The truth is that the fleas you are seeing are probably adult fleas - there could be hundreds of eggs and developing larvae that you can’t see. Don’t assume that just because you can’t see them, the fleas aren’t there.
Tips and Prevention
Flea and tick populations vary seasonally and may be worse in some areas than in others. In order to protect your dog completely it is best to treat him with a flea and tick preventive all year round. Though flea and tick preventives are one of the most effective methods in protecting your dog, you can also find collars designed to deter fleas and ticks that will also kill their eggs. In some areas, however, fleas and ticks may be resistant to the insecticides used in these collars, so it may be best to pay a visit to your veterinarian to see what he recommends you use. In addition to treating your pet to prevent fleas and ticks, you can also take steps to control these insects in your yard. Keep your grass cut short and trim back overgrown bushes and shrubs. You may even go so far as to apply an insecticide to the shrubs in your yard or even to the lawn itself. It is up to you to make the choice that is right for you in preventing fleas and ticks, but keep in mind that the more you educate yourself and the more proactive you are, the less likely your dog will be to experience a problem.