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Your Questions Answered on Fleas and Ticks

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Scratching cat
Scratching cat

Fleas and ticks are a real nuisance, not only to your pets but also to you and your family. In some cases, ticks can cause the death of your pet. This article tries to provide some clarification on these parasites.

Do parasites have a preference when it comes to choosing their hosts?

The answer is yes since some parasites favour cat’s blood while others love dogs’. Nevertheless, fleas are not that choosy, even if some prefer particular hosts. In other words, fleas will still choose a lesser host like a rat, a bird and sometimes a human if the ideal host is not present.

Dogs are the usual victims of ticks, but some ticks also heavily infest cats. In finding their meals, ticks are also not that choosy and if their desired host is already filled with other parasites or is not yet available, they can opt for other options like humans.

Where do my pets get these pests from?

There are many ways pets can become bug-ridden with parasites. More often than not, these parasites and pests wait for the right moment and target pets located in places where wood is present, in thick fields, grassy and humid areas as well as in bushes.

Usually, bringing in new pets into a household can introduce parasites on the other pets already residing in your house. Visiting a neighbour’s home, an animal show, a grooming parlour, a boarding kennel or a veterinary clinic can widen the risks of infestation for your animal companion.

Eggs can be brought inside the house and hatch in carpets, sheets or rugs, which will amplify the chances for your pet to be even more infested. Even worse, your home may become a breeding ground for these nasties.

Why is it so hard to eliminate ticks and fleas?

Apart from the fact that fleas bite and suck your pet’s blood, many pets have an allergic reaction to the fleas’ saliva, causing much pain to your animal friend.

If your pet is as such, you will face problems like the loss of your pet’s hair because of unending scratching to satisfy the itch, bacterial infection from the saliva, entrance of bacteria into your pet’s system via the skin breaks from too many biting, and severe anaemia caused by the loss of too much blood.

Most of all, fleas can also sustain tapeworms in their systems, and your pet can suffer from such infestation from swallowing only one single flea. Fleas can also support heartworms and other parasitic problems.

Ticks can also bring skin diseases like moist dermatitis, also known as Hot Spot. Ticks like “Dermacentor Andersoni” can paralyse your pet by releasing toxins that attack the nervous system, causing death. Paralysis ticks are particularly active on the East coast of Australia and anyone living in these areas should be attentive and perform a daily check of their pets, especially pets with long hair, as it is more difficult to spot a tick. Sometimes, these ticks can transfer a severe type of fever that affects millions of humans. They are harmful to humans as well.

How can I eliminate fleas and ticks?

Fleas and parasites, in general, have become highly resistant to chemical treatments, making their eradication virtually impossible. It is common now that fleas and ticks don’t respond to conventional treatment.

Natural remedies can be quite effective in eliminating fleas and keeping them away from your cat and dog. I recommend reading this comprehensive flea removal guide on how to get rid of fleas.

There is also a great post on How to Identify, Mitigate, and Prevent a Flea Infestation inside houses that I recommend reading.

Would my pets be safe if we lived in cities or colder places?

Sadly, the answer to this question is a no. Ticks and fleas can easily adapt themselves to cold temperatures and busy cities. In fact, fleas in the cities, like houseflies and cockroaches, are harder to manage due to their resistance against exterminating chemicals.

12 thoughts on “Your Questions Answered on Fleas and Ticks”

  1. This has been a very significant blog indeed for us dog owners. I’ve acquired a lot of helpful information about ticks and fleas from reading your article. Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us.

  2. We have just added a dog to our household. He is a beautiful 5 month old English Setter. We think he might have fleas (saw some little bugs smaller than mosquitos flying around him. We are going to take action on these little critters but my question is: Are my 5 kids in any danger of these fleas?

    1. Hi Kay, thank you for your question. First of all, fleas don’t fly so they can’t be fleas. Fleas can jump though and this is how they move from one host to another. If your pooch has little insects flying around him, then they could well be midges. They bite and are very annoying. If your dog is allergic to them, he will be very itchy, scratch and bite himself like he had fleas. If it’s the case, you will need to see a vet who can help in resolving the allergic reaction. Midges not only annoy animals, they annoy us too! Not like fleas, they bite any one who is tasty to them, so you can have them around people even if no animals are about.
      To see if your dog has fleas, lay him down on his back and look closely at his belly, near the genitals. You should see them running in his hair. Another spot they like is on the back, near the tail. Fleas can bite humans but you would need a real infestation where they have managed to breed in carpets for example. They prefer dogs and cats before they come onto us for a meal. So unless you are in this situation, I’d say your kids are safe but it is always wise to provide your dog with some flea treatment anyway. I hope this helps.

  3. What an awesome blog! You’ve taught me significant information on how and where dogs get those pesky fleas and ticks. I appreciate you for taking the effort to extend this topic so comprehensively. I look forward to learning more on your upcoming posts. Thanks.

  4. Fleas are a real pain in the arse! Once here, they seem very difficult to get rid of…we had our in-laws’ dog visit and he brought many friends. Now the cat has a ton of fleas. Thanks mom-in-law!

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