While fleas can be a problem year-round, the worst season by far is summer. Warm weather and increased humidity create an ideal condition for flea reproduction and survival. Combine this with humans taking their pets outdoors more frequently or spending more time outside of the house in the summertime, and you have a recipe for disaster. Vet care for cats and dogs should include a variety of preventive veterinary treatments, including tick, mosquito, and flea prevention in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the surrounding area. Our Dartmouth animal hospital believes strongly that prevention is the best way to control these parasites that can endanger pets with a variety of diseases and other parasites, such as tapeworms.
Why Fleas Are Dangerous
Some people think that pets and fleas are common and accepted, but the truth is that this is a dangerous belief for both the pets and the people who live with them. Many of the diseases that affect pets through contact with fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, can also impact humans. Cat Scratch Fever is a disease that people can get through the bacteria that is present in flea feces. The bacteria accumulate underneath the claws of the cat, and when the cat scratches other cats and humans, they spread the disease from cat-to-cat and cat-to-human.
Fleas are related to ants and beetles. They live off of blood, either animal or human, and then produce eggs in the fur or hair of the host, continuing the cycle for many generations. Ticks are also dangerous but are more closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a variety of other diseases are commonly transmitted through tick bites. Heartworm is a severe concern for pets when infected mosquitoes are present, and it can be life-threatening. Other mosquito-transmitted diseases can also be dangerous for humans, including West Nile, Zika, and encephalitis.
How to Control Fleas and Ticks
Work with your local vet clinic for preventive veterinary treatments that can be used for tick and flea prevention in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Beyond vet care for cats and dogs at our Dartmouth animal hospital, there are things that you can do at home as a pet owner that will help to reduce the risk. Make sure to let your veterinarian know about your home situation so they can provide you with the best possible solutions based on your needs. The number and type of pets in your household, the indoor and outdoor status of your pets, the area in which you live, and whether you have previously had issues with ticks and fleas in the past can affect the treatment that is used.
Things to do at home to prevent fleas and ticks include:
- keep lawns mowed and shrubbery trimmed
- clear all brush, leaves, and tall grasses away from the house and along property lines
- store stacked wood off the ground in a dry location away from pet areas and structure
- clear all dead and dying plants at the end of the growing season
- vacuum all furniture, carpets, and surfaces using the proper attachments
- regularly wash all bedding, linens, and rugs used by pets
- keep your pet out of grassy or brushy areas during walks
- wash and brush your pet frequently, checking for any sign of pests
- consider using pest control services for your property to prevent fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes from invading your property and harming your pets
Avoid Issues With Flea Prevention in Massachusetts
You might have seen recent news stories about negative reactions to over the counter medications for tick and flea prevention in Massachusetts and across the country. While many people swear by store-bought treatments, nothing beats vet care for cats and dogs that are prescribed according to the age, size, health, and unique needs of each pet. Preventive veterinary treatments work better than the options that are available at your local pet store and will help to keep your pet safe from harmful pests and parasites. Some of the common side effects associated with certain preventive measures that are purchased by pet owners can range from mild to very serious. For best results, contact your local Dartmouth animal hospital for professional solutions.
Staying on top of flea and tick prevention is essential in New England and all across the country. Vet care for cats and dogs will help to keep your pets healthy and happy for many years to come. Preventive veterinary treatments can be used to help pet owners to provide their cats, dogs, rabbits, and other common domesticated or exotic animals with the care that they need to thrive. To learn more about our Dartmouth animal hospital or to schedule an appointment for tick and flea prevention in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, give us a call at 508-996-3731.