‘Tis the season to protect our pets from creepy crawly critters! While fleas and ticks can be a pesky problem year round in Ontario, these blood suckers thrive in the spring, summer and fall. Here we will list some of the differences between fleas and ticks, what to look out for, and preventatives.

Let’s start with fleas. They bounce, they jump, they’re lightning fast and spread like wildfire! Unlike ticks, fleas are not known to carry disease, but can cause annoying itching, allergic reactions, flea bite dermatitis and home invasions!

Fleas can jump from animal to animal and hide in the environment until finding a host to feed on.

Comb through your dog’s coat regularly, going against the grain looking for anything black and moving. Fleas can move amazingly quickly so it is not uncommon for dog guardians to not be able to spot them. Black specs on the skin can also indicate the presence of flea dirt (a nice way of saying feces). Check the warm areas like the armpits and groin as these become cozy hiding spots for fleas.

Other signs your dog may be carrying some unwelcome guests are excessive scratching, chewing at themselves, shaking of the head and ears, hair loss, black spots or scabs on the skin especially in the belly, groin or base of tail areas.

The best preventative is a veterinarian approved treatment. There are many options now available including effective holistic treatments. Speak to your vet today about the best option for your pup!

Now let’s jump to ticks! (pun intended)

Unlike fleas, ticks crawl. They often crawl up their prey from grass and shrubbery. They can also be carried on another animal they feed off of, such as rodents or birds and land in a new environment.

When a tick bites, they remain in one place to feed. These multi legged cousin of the spider, will latch on and change colour and size as they fill up on the blood of your pet. Creepy! The good news is they do not jump from pet to pet and do not multiply and infest the home environment. Although, they can latch on to you as well so it is important to check yourself over as well as your dog after walks especially in wooded areas and grassy fields.

When spotting a tick, it is best to remove it right away. Ticks can carry Lyme disease which can take as little as 24 hours to cause an infection after a bite. However not all ticks are the same and don’t always carry this disease. However, the sooner you remove the tick, the greater the chance of preventing the risk of infection.

It is important to remove the tick by the head, specifically ensuring you are removing the “fangs” burrowed in your beloved. If you are unsure of how to do this, there are products available for tick removal at most pet supply stores and helpful YouTube videos. Many grooming salons will also be able to help. Of course, the best way to be sure it is done correctly, is to see your vet as soon as possible. Your vet clinic will also be able to send the tick for testing to rule out the potential of Lyme disease.

We at Park9; strive to protect our guests from parasites and illness to the best of our ability. We require a veterinarian approved flea prevention regiment from Spring through to the start of winter. Please contact us should you have any questions or concerns