Signs Your Pet May Have Fleas or Ticks

Summer weather is here and flea and tick populations are on the rise.  Make sure you can spot the behavioral signs of fleas and ticks in your pet!

If your dog or cat has been scratching, excessively licking, or biting at themselves-particularly at the ears, armpits, groin, or rump areas, you should check for fleas.  Fleas like these areas since they are warm and usually contain a lot of blood vessels for the parasites to access for their blood meals.  Though you may not see the actual fleas (since they are quite small and great at hiding in your pet’s fur), the skin in these areas may be red and bumpy as a result of these bug bites.  Your pet may experience hair loss as well if he or she is excessively scratching, biting, or licking at the areas.

Ticks, on the other hand, will attach and remain on you pet for up to 3-4 days to fill up on your pet’s blood.  Ticks are able to attach themselves to pets and practically embed themselves in the skin.  This makes it very difficult to remove them and you may feel a small bump on your cats or dogs as you are petting them.  Your pet may excessively lick or nip at the site of an embedded tick, causing scabbing.  Ticks also sometimes embed themselves in the ear canals, causing the pet to shake his or her head or itch at the ears.  If you see your pet demonstrating any of these behaviors, it is definitely a cause for closer examination and potentially a trip to your veterinarian.

Some cats and dogs are allergic to flea or tick bites, intensifying these symptoms and putting your pet in a lot more discomfort.

Finally, if you spot a tick or flea in your home (whether it’s on the floor, on your pet’s bedding, or anywhere else), it’s best to check both your pet and yourself.  Chances are that there is not just one flea or tick and closer inspections should be done of all family members and your home.

Unsure how to check your pet for fleas and ticks?  This instructional video will show you how to check your cat or dog for these parasites!

 

 

Though there are many flea and tick treatments and prevention products available through pet stores, many have become ineffective against the parasite populations over time.  We recommend talking to your veterinarian to see which products and treatment plans he or she recommends for your pet!

How often do you check your pet for fleas and ticks?  Let us know in the comments below!