Preventing fleas & ticks is an essential part of good pet care. These pesky parasites can cause a range of health problems, from skin irritation and allergic reactions to serious illnesses such as Lyme disease and anaemia. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available that can help keep your furry friend healthy and pest-free. And what’s more, if you keep up to date with your dog's flea & tick treatments, you’ll earn your badge and be rewarded in the Biscuit Pet Care App each quarter.
Which type of flea and tick treatment is right for my dog?
There are several types of flea and tick treatments available for dogs, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right treatment for your pet, it's important to consider their lifestyle, age, and any other health concerns they may have.
Topical solutions are one of the most popular and effective ways to prevent flea and tick infestations. These solutions are applied to the skin on the back of the neck and contain active ingredients that kill fleas and ticks. Most also have residual effects, protecting your dog for several weeks after application.
Some of the most common active ingredients in topical treatments are fipronil and imidacloprid, which work by disrupting the central nervous system of fleas and ticks, causing paralysis and death.
Frontline Plus is a popular topical treatment that not only prevents fleas and ticks, but also treats a variety of parasitic worms including hookworms and roundworms. It also prevents heartworm, which is especially important for dogs that live in areas with a high prevalence of this potentially fatal parasite.
Flea and tick collars are another option for preventing infestations. Flea and tick collars repel and kill fleas and ticks with active ingredients that are slowly released over time. They can be a good option for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors or in high-risk areas for fleas and ticks.
Flea and tick shampoos are another option for killing fleas and ticks on contact. They are effective at removing adult fleas and ticks from your pet’s coat, but do not provide long-term protection.
Treatment sprays can be used to tackle infestations in your home and on your pet. They contain insecticides that kill fleas and ticks on contact and can be especially helpful in cases of severe infestations. Be sure to choose a spray that is safe for use in an environment where pets live and follow the instructions carefully,as not all sprays can be used on your pet and are for the home environment only.
Flea and tick tablets for dogs are a new treatment option against the pests, now available as a chewable treat to be given once a month. Containing the active ingredient, afoxolaner (a recently discovered insecticide FDA-approved and safe for use in dogs), it is extremely effective against fleas and ticks, killing them within 24 hours. It's more convenient as an oral treatment, as topical preparations can be messy and difficult to apply, but as it is found in the dog's blood stream the dog needs to be bitten in order to kill the pests.
Flea bombs and foggers release a fog of insecticides to kill fleas in a room, as an effective method for controlling a flea infestation in your home. They should be used with caution and according to the instructions on the product label. Before using a flea bomb, it's important to vacuum and clean the room thoroughly, cover or remove any exposed food or utensils, and evacuate people and pets from the room for the recommended period of time.
The best way to remove ticks from dogs is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out – ensuring that the mouth pieces have been removed along with the body of the tick. It's important to avoid twisting or squeezing the tick, and to wash the area with soap and water and disinfect the tweezers after removal. It's also recommended to keep an eye on the area for any signs of infection or illness and to consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Choosing the Right Treatment
When choosing flea and tick treatments for your dog it's important to consider their individual needs and lifestyle. For example, if your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, they may be at a higher risk for flea and tick infestations and may require a more comprehensive treatment plan. It's also important to consider any other health concerns your pet may have. Some flea and tick treatments may interact with other medications or worsen existing conditions, so be sure to discuss your dog's medical history with your vet before starting any new treatments.
Get rewarded for being a responsible pet owner
Did you know that by completing the Flea & Worm Badge in the Biscuit App, you can earn 100 Biscuits? Once you've decided on the perfect treatment for your furry friend, simply log in to the Biscuit app and head to the Badges section.
You’ll be able to complete the Flea & Worm Badge by adding an image of your dog’s Flea & Tick treatment (e.g. prescription label, purchase receipt, etc) to the app every 3 months, along with your chosen Worming treatment, and earn 100 Biscuits. These Biscuits can then be exchanged for vouchers to spend with your favourite retailers.
Common Questions About Fleas & Ticks
Q: How can I tell if my dog has fleas or ticks?
A: Fleas can be seen as small black or brown dots on the skin, and they may cause itching, scratching, and hair loss. Ticks can be seen as small, dark bumps on the skin, and they may cause skin irritation and transmit diseases.
Q: Are there any natural remedies for flea and tick control?
A: Yes, there are some natural remedies such as using essential oils, diatomaceous earth, and flea combs, but it's important to consult with a vet before using any natural remedies on your pet.
Q: Do I need to treat my pet for fleas and ticks in colder months?
A: Yes. Although the likelihood of your dog being affected by fleas decreases in the winter months, the shift in climate change has resulted in us experiencing milder winters, favouring the survival of fleas outdoors for much longer. Fleas also continue to develop indoors in homes thanks to central heating. Therefore, it’s important to keep protecting your pet throughout the year.
Q: How often should I apply flea and tick control treatments on my dog?
A: The frequency of application will depend on the type of treatment and your pet's lifestyle, but typically, most treatments should be applied once a month. You’ll be able to complete the Flea & Worm Badge on the Biscuit app every 3 months and earn 100 extra Biscuits each time.
Q: Can fleas and ticks be prevented in dogs?
A: Yes, regular use of flea and tick prevention products and keeping your pet in a clean environment can help prevent flea and tick infestations.
Q: What should I do if my dog has a severe flea or tick infestation?
A: You should consult with a vet for a treatment plan that may include medication, flea baths, and environmental treatments to eliminate fleas and ticks from your pet and your home.
Q: Are fleas and ticks harmful to dogs?
A: Yes, fleas and ticks can transmit diseases and cause skin irritation, itching, and hair loss. It's important to keep your pet protected from these parasites.
- Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals, including dogs.
- Fleas can jump up to 7 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally, which helps them move from host to host.
- Flea saliva can cause an allergic reaction in some pets, leading to flea allergy dermatitis, a condition characterized by severe itching and hair loss.
- Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which can hatch and develop into adult fleas within a few weeks.
- Fleas can survive for several months without a host, and their eggs can remain dormant for up to a year in carpets, bedding, and furniture.
- Fleas can infest not only cats and dogs but humans and other animals too!
- Ticks are arachnids, making them closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. They have eight legs, while insects have six.
- Ticks are ectoparasites meaning they feed on the blood of various animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. They can transmit pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, to their hosts during feeding, potentially causing diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Similar to fleas, ticks have a life cycle that includes four stages - egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The duration of their life cycle can vary from several months to over a year, depending on factors like species, temperature, and host availability.
- Ticks prefer warm and humid environments. They are often found in wooded areas, tall grasses, and bushes, waiting for a host to pass by so they can latch onto them.
- Ticks use a behaviour called "questing" to find their hosts. They climb to the tips of grasses or branches and extend their front legs, waiting to grasp onto a passing host. Some tick species may also detect hosts by sensing carbon dioxide or body heat.
- Ticks feed slowly, often taking several hours to days to complete a meal, depending on their life stage and species. This extended feeding process increases the risk of transmitting pathogens to their hosts.