Benefits of Tick and Flea Prevention

dog scratching its ear
Ticks and fleas are a common problem for many animals, wild and domestic. As carriers of painful and debilitating infections, some of which can be transmitted to humans, prevention of ticks and flea infestations should be a priority for any pet owner.

How to ticks and fleas spread disease?

Ticks and fleas are external parasites and they survive by attaching to a host animal and ingesting their blood. However, if the host is carrying a disease, their blood will be infected. When the flea or tick moves on, it will carry the diseased blood with it, infecting host after host until it dies.

Unfortunately, ticks and fleas aren’t fussy whether they feed on animal or human blood, which means that they can transmit disease between pets and people.

What diseases do ticks and fleas carry?

Ticks and fleas carry a variety of diseases which include:

  • Tapeworm

  • Lyme Disease

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

  • Ehrlichia

  • Tick Paralysis

They can also cause your pet or your human family to develop flea allergy dermatitis and subsequent skin infections.

By preventing ticks and fleas, you can protect your pet and human family members from the miserable, uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms that accompany the diseases that they carry. In some instances, you may even save the life of your pet.

Preventing ticks and fleas

It may be a cliché, but when it comes to dealing with ticks and fleas, prevention definitely is better than trying to deal with the problem after it has taken hold.

Tick and flea prevention treatment is available over the counter at many pet stores. However, we would recommend that you seek the advice of your veterinarian before choosing any treatment. Your vet is the only professional with complete access to your pet’s medical records, and it may be necessary for them to make a specific recommendation based upon the age or health of your pet. Many veterinary practises will be able to administer the treatment on site so that you can be certain that it has been done properly and will be effective in keeping your pet safe from ticks and fleas.

Keeping ticks and fleas out of your home

In addition to prevention treatments, there are also some steps that you can take to keep your home free from ticks and fleas.

Troubleshoot your yard

Yards can be a paradise for fleas and ticks as thick grass, bushes and plants can provide an ideal place for them to hide while they are waiting for their next meal to walk by. By troubleshooting your yard, you can help to prevent ticks and fleas from setting up house, making you and your pet less likely to transfer them into your home. Things you can do include:

  • Keeping grass mowed

  • Trimming back shrubs and bushes

  • Cutting back trees, particularly those that overhang high-traffic areas

  • Get some flea yard spray and use it regularly

You should also discourage any wild animals – including opossums, raccoons and feral cats - from entering your yard as they often bring parasites with them. Don’t leave food or water bowls outside and seal off any openings to crawl spaces where unwanted visitors could hide and nest.

Pay extra attention to carpets, rugs and soft furnishings

Flea eggs, larvae and pupae tend to live in parts of your home that they can nestle in and not be spotted. Carpets, rugs and soft furnishings are the natural indoor home for these immature stages of flea and so cleaning and vacuuming them as regularly as possible will help to minimize the likelihood of an infestation lurking.

Fleas tend to try and avoid high-traffic areas, so make sure you hoover under sofas, around baseboards and any areas that are difficult to reach. If you have a pet that regularly rides in your car, you should vacuum that regularly too. Eggs and larvae that are sucked up will continue to develop in the bag, and so many pet owners place a flea collar inside which will eliminate any that enter. However, you should still change the bag regularly too.

There are also a number of spray treatments and powders that you can use in your home to help prevent infestations.