With the return of warm weather, everyone wants to spend more time outdoors – including such household pets as dogs and cats. Like people, pets are also at risk for the serious health complications that can arise from tick and flea bites.
The Clark Man reminds pet owners to take necessary precautions now to protect their pets from ticks and fleas.
While Lyme disease incidences are less likely in California than in tick-heavy regions in the Northeast and Midwest, pet owners, especially in northern regions of the state, should take steps to protect their animals from ticks and fleas this spring. Pets sickened with Lyme disease may suffer from fever, decreased appetite, painful joints, limping, and lethargy. In severe cases, kidney disease can also occur.
Good landscape management practices – clearing leaf litter, keeping grass cut, or creating woodchip/stone barriers between lawns and adjacent woodlands inhabited by wildlife – may prove helpful in keeping ticks in check.
Fleas are another common pest that can cause serious health complications for pets. The itchy red bumps left by fleas can lead to excessive scratching, anemia, dermatitis, and tapeworms. Fleas can be found indoors and outdoors, in areas where pets and other animals might be found. As with most insect pests, fleas require moisture and prefer humid climates when outdoors.
Fleas can become a problem and huge nuisance when pets bring them inside the home, because once inside, they easily reproduce in bedding, carpets, or furniture. And even though fleas do not have wings, they are prodigious jumpers, and have been known to jump up to six inches. Fleas will jump on people’s shoes and clothing looking for a new food source if their preferred feeding source can’t be located easily.
The Clark Man recommends homeowners follow these tips to protect their pets from ticks and fleas this spring:
- Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas – be aware of excessive scratching and licking
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass where fleas and ticks often hide
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars, and plush toys
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors, and furniture frequently
- For on-animal prevention and treatment options, please consult with your veterinarian – we love cats and dogs, but we don’t treat them
If you think you might have fleas in your home, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.