Dogs are prone to attacks of fleas and ticks depending on the environment in which they live. Open spaces with tall grass or shrubs and woody areas are where fleas and ticks are found. Fleas and ticks are on the lookout for animals to ensure their food supply of animal blood. Adult dog fleas need animal blood to survive and female dog fleas need animal blood to produce and lay eggs. Dog ticks need animal blood to survive. Three stages of the dog ticks life cycle—larvae, nymphs, and adults—feed on animal blood.
When dogs get infected by fleas and ticks, it is necessary to take immediate action to eliminate them. Some of these ectoparasites carry bacteria that cause dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever. Sometimes these diseases are fatal. Getting rid of dog fleas and ticks can be done at home. Only severe cases may need chemical intervention and visits to the veterinarian:
1. Stay out of tall grass
To prevent dogs from being infected by fleas and ticks, restrict their walks to areas that do not have tall grass, shrubs, and other vegetation. Grass lawns, gardens, and yards that have mowed grass should be used. If lawns, gardens, and yards are adjacent to high-vegetation areas, you must create a barrier to block the entry of these pests.
2. Inspect fur regularly
Carefully inspect dogs’ fur for signs of fleas and tick infestation frequently. Fleas are tiny creatures, but excessive scratching by the dog, red skin patches and loss of hair are some of the telltale signs. Although dog ticks — larvae, nymphs, and adults — are tiny, they tend to increase in size and become visible as they gorge on dogs’ blood. Use a flea comb and a flea collar. Flea collars do have some chemicals added to them to keep the pests at bay.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda is known to be effective in killing fleas, as it dehydrates adult fleas and its larvae. Fleas need humid and warm surroundings to survive. Baking soda can be mixed with salt to increase the dehydrating potency. Baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar will also help kill the pests resident on dogs. A baking soda and salt mixture can be used on carpets and rugs to get rid of the pests residing there.
4. Care with tick removal
Ticks need to be removed carefully with tweezers so as not to puncture or tear and spread infected blood. Ticks are not affected by baking soda alone, but adding baking soda to apple cider vinegar will help. Other natural substances that kill ticks are aromatherapy oils based on basil, lemon, cinnamon, cedar, lavender, and pennyroyal; coconut oil; Indian lilac (neem) oil; citrus and lemongrass oil; rose geranium essential oil; rosemary; a mixture of witch hazel and lemon eucalyptus oil; lemon juice; cedar oil spray; vegetable oil; Vaseline; garlic; clove; tea tree oil; and apple cider vinegar.
5. Consult a vet
There are chemicals too, that get rid of fleas and ticks when the infestation becomes severe. These chemical-based remedies need careful use after consulting a vet. These include permethrin, liquid dish detergent, ect. Dogs that have a severe case of excessive scratching, skin rash, loss of hair need more attention. The rashes and other signs of infestation may need a vet’s attention. Pet owners need to be vigilant about the dogs’ condition in case the flea and tick infestation turns into a bacterial infection that could put a dog’s life at risk.