A little more on flea and tick control

FLEAS

You see your dog itching or scratching or biting more than usual. What’s your first observation? “He must have fleas”. Most of the times, this is a correct diagnosis. Fleas are about the size of pin-head. They are big enough to be seen scurrying along the skin surface trying to hide within the fur.  Flea dermatitis is usually characterized by continuous itching. The itching is caused due to sensitivity to the flea saliva.  Fleas thrive on dry skin. Make sure your dog diet has sufficient fatty acids to maintain a healthy skin. Repeated exposure to fleas can result in a hypersensitivity to even a single flea and also expose the skin to secondary skin infections. Pulling out fleas can be a difficult task as they fly. Flea combs work best in most cases, but you do need regular care for removing them entirely.

In flea infestation– watch for

  • Patchy hair loss
  • Constant itching around haunches and tails
  • Flea excrement– called flea dust-brown flaky substance
  • Hot Spots– Acute moist dermatitis or bacterial infection (pyoderma)

TICKS

Tick is a blood sucking parasite. They latch on to the dogs’ body and can keep sucking blood until full. Following this, it detaches itself and drops off. Tick infestation can lead to  major disease transmission. In their 4 stages of life, a tick can go from being a small black speck to a full grown tick which can be the size of a raisin. Ticks migrate to an area where there is less hair so its easier to latch on like ears, paws. So don’t forget to check your dogs’ paws after every walk. When pulling out ticks make sure you pull them from their heads and preferably not with bare hands. Ticks most times tend to leave an ulcer like lesion which takes some time to heal. A tick latched on is very irritating for the dog. If you notice the dog intermittently scratching just one area, check for a tick in that area immediately.

FLEA & TICK PREVENTION

Most products available in the market work on fleas and ticks together. Here are some of them:

Flea Collars: They don’t kill fleas, but repel them. They come with an expiry date after which they need to be replaced. Remove it while bathing your dog. Wash your hands after you have handled the flea collar.

Soaps & Shampoos- A variety of shampoos are available today in the market. Neem shampoos work best as flea repellants. Notix brand is most common.

Powders- Dusting powders also repel fleas and ticks,  and can be applied daily.

Spot treatments- Frontline, Revolution, and Advantix are the 3 products available which guarantee 95-98% clean up. It’s a small tube with the medication available depending upon on dog weight. Needs to be applied on the spine as it’s difficult for the dog to lick. Part the hair and apply directly on the skin. Do not bathe your dog for 10 days at least.

Lastly, antibiotics work best for pets who are already infested and it’s a sure shot of way of dealing with ticks and fleas as the medicine runs through the blood therefore killing not just the ticks and fleas but also its eggs. During summers, make sure you give your pet a preventive shot

HOME REMEDIES FOR PARASITIC INFECTIONS

Neem- Neem is a very effective way of treating most skin problems be it mange, fleas or ticks. There are of course a variety of neem products available in the market, but you can also use neem leaves in its raw form on a regular basis to give your dog a healthy skin and a shiny coat.  A herbal touch will never go waste.

  • Neem paste: Make a paste of neem leaves and apply it over your dogs’ skin/ coat or over the affected areas. Leave it on for sometime before you wash it off. Works well for scabies
  • Neem Oil- Avoid using concentrated neem oil on dogs. Instead dilute it with any light carrier oil like almond in a 1:10 proportion and give your dog a massage. Leave it on for a few hours before you wash it off. Make sure the dog does not get any rash, in case of which wash off immediately. For Demodex Mange, increase this proportion to 1:1.

Aloevera– A  natural remedy which works very well for dogs with skin issues. You can use it in its natural form by scooping out the gel from the leaf. If you have noticed any intensive itching or licking, apply a bit on the affected area. As Aloe has a bitter taste, chances that the dog would avoid licking the area, thus giving the wound time to heal.

Eucalyptus Oil– Works very well against fleas and ticks as it acts as a repellant. Apply Eucalyptus oil on the skin and hair coat. Dilute it with water and/or coconut oil and leave it on for a few hours and wash it off with regular shampoo. Not only will you have a nice smelling dog, but also a shiny coat and a healthy skin.

PEST CONTROL

Ticks and fleas not just make your pet their home, but also your garden, furniture, dog bedding is a safe haven for them to lay their eggs. So, to make sure your pet is 100% safe from these parasites, pest control your house and make sure the surroundings are clean.
Cypermetherin is a pesticide available in many garden pesticide shops which can be diluted in the proportion 1 ml for every 1 litre of water and sprayed in your garden. Once sprayed, make sure your pet does not move around in the area and wash it off with plenty of water after 3 hours.


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