Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Dog | Pupford
August 4th, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
What do we love about spring and summer? Time outside with our dogs. What do we not love? Being exposed to fleas and ticks. It’s one of the few things about the “great outdoors” that isn’t so great.
The problem is that fleas and ticks love snuggling up close with your dog as much as you do. Their coat offers them great protection and a nice warm home to nest in. But unlike human snuggles, fleas and ticks getting up close and personal with your dog can be dangerous.
If they set up camp on your dog’s skin and start to feed on their blood, it can cause a range of health issues from infections to Lyme disease.
That’s why flea and tick prevention is so important. We get a lot of questions from our community about the best way to prevent fleas and ticks for dogs, so we’re going to share our top tips today.
An important note: When it comes to flea and tick prevention, your best resource is your veterinarian. They can provide advice specific to the area you live and local risk factors, as well as give medical advice specific to your dog.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN HELP KEEP FLEAS AND TICKS AWAY FROM YOUR DOG
CHOOSE A PEST-REPELLING SHAMPOO
Flea and tick prevention starts in the tub! The right shampoo can be a great tool for keeping pests away from your pup.
The issue is that a lot of flea and tick prevention shampoos are loaded with harsh additives that can do more harm than good.
When looking for a shampoo for dogs, you’ll want to look for nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter, with essential oils that keep bugs away.
The Pupford Sudsy Shampoo Bar for dogs uses a proprietary blend of 100% pure dog safe essential oils and Neem oil that work together to repel fleas, ticks, and other biting bugs. It’s also free of artificial colors, silicones, formaldehyde, artificial fragrances, and all the other harmful ingredients you don’t want on your dog’s skin.
USE A VET-RECOMMENDED PREVENTION MEDICATION
Often, your veterinarian will recommend topical or oral treatments that do a great job preventing fleas and ticks. Some are even combined with heartworm medication for a well-rounded preventive routine.
Your vet will be able to offer medication that is suited for your dog’s breed, size, age, and environment, so be sure to take heed of their recommendations.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR LAWN MAINTENANCE
The longer your lawn is, the better home it makes for pests. Keeping your grass cut short and shrubs trimmed neatly will deter fleas and ticks from setting up camp in your yard.
Some companies offer lawn spraying services that protect your lawn from ticks (and other bugs like mosquitos!) but use natural ingredients that are not harmful to your dog. If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, this might be a good option to consider.
AVOID WALKS IN GRASSY BRUSH AREAS OR UNCHARTED TERRITORY
This time of year is not the time to let your dog wander off of a clear path or explore in tall grass or bushy areas. Fleas and ticks thrive in that kind of environment.
Make sure your dog’s walks are taking place primarily on cleared paths that are free of litter, tall grasses, and brush.
If you are exploring a new park or trail for the first time, do some research into it beforehand to find out the level of risk when it comes to fleas and ticks. It may be better to venture to new places during a different time of year if you are unsure.
READ THE LABEL ON ALL PRODUCTS CAREFULLY
Not all flea and tick prevention products are created equally. In fact, some that are made for cats can even be dangerous to dogs.
Make sure that whatever topical flea and tick prevention product you purchase is specifically created for dogs and that it says so on the label. Some products are made for cats and dogs, but if there is no mention of dogs on the label, it should be avoided.
CHECK YOUR DOG FOR FLEAS AND TICKS REGULARLY
Even if you’re taking preventive measures, you should still check your dog(s) for fleas and ticks regularly. If you take them to a new environment or for an outdoor adventure, you should check them before they go back in the house to prevent a potential flea infestation.
Check the underside of their paws, between their toes, under their legs, in their ears, under their tails -- anywhere that’s not in plain sight. For fleas, look in the areas where the coat is thinner, like the belly and armpits. Be sure to remove your dog’s collar for this too, so you don’t miss any spots.
You’ll want to check for bugs, red spots, rashes, irritation, or anything that just doesn’t look right. If you see small copper-colored bugs that are moving around your dog’s skin, it’s likely fleas.
When checking for ticks, rub your hands down your dog’s coat and skin, to feel for any bumps. They think they’re just being pet, so they probably won’t mind their tick check!
If you do feel any bumps, carefully move the fur from the area so you can see if it’s an embedded tick.
KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER FLEAS AND TICKS ON YOUR DOG
If you find a tick that has not attached to your dog, the good news is that your dog is safe from any tick-borne disease. Be sure to carefully inspect all dogs and people in your house to make sure there aren’t any others that may have latched on anywhere.
If you find fleas on your dog, call your vet who can recommend the right treatment for your dog. Be sure to treat all animals in your home, even if there is no visible sign of fleas on them -- this will help prevent the spread.
Also be sure to treat the surrounding environment. Wash all bedding in soap and hot water, vacuum all soft surfaces, and properly dispose of vacuum bags and cleaning supplies.
If any pest issues persist, you may need to solicit help from a professional like a flea and tick fogger.
Fleas and ticks are no fun, but they’re part of life as a dog family. With the right prevention, however, you can enjoy season after season outdoors with your dog!