The sun is shining, the days are growing longer, and trees are in full bloom after a long and rainy season for the San Joaquin Valley. This spring will be a welcome relief to many of us who have endured one of the longest, wettest winters in the last 20 years. Your furry household members are also eager to get outside and enjoy the dry weather.
As your dogs and cats spend increased time outside, flea and tick care becomes critical. The lack of freeze this past winter means significantly increased flea and tick activity here in Stockton this spring. Plan to stay one step ahead and start your prevention now, before you start to see fleas and ticks on your pet—once you can see them, they’re already nesting in your home or yard.
Why is flea and tick protection important for my pet?
Fleas and ticks are more than just unwanted pests. They can transmit disease and infections to pets through a bite, and many pets experience severe allergic reactions to flea and tick bites. Fleas are parasites that feed on blood, and can lead to serious illnesses in your pets.
- Each female flea on an untreated pet can lay more than 40 eggs per day, which can lead to an infestation.
- By the time you see a flea, an infestation may already be established.
- Flea infestations can take weeks to resolve, and are expensive to eliminate.
- Carpets, bedding, and even furniture all provide ideal conditions for immature fleas to develop into reproducing adults.
The most common issue caused by fleas is flea bite dermatitis, a specific allergy to flea saliva which leads to intense itching and scratching for your pet. If your pet has fleas, chances are they also have tapeworms. These internal parasites are passed to your pet when they ingest fleas while grooming, and consume nutrients from your pet, causing weight loss and dull fur.
- Tapeworm embryos are transmitted to your pet when it ingests a flea, or when pets hunt and ingest small rodents.
- Tapeworms grow to maturity within the pet’s intestinal tract, and pets can pass on adult tapeworms to humans, putting you and your family at risk.
- Our doctors diagnose tapeworms by observing tiny rice-like segments that contain eggs. These segments are found in your pet’s feces, or in the fur around the rectum.
Ticks are parasitic organisms that attach themselves to the skin of your pets, and also feed on blood. Ticks spread bacterial and viral disease to both animals and people, and can be difficult to spot because of their small size and tendency to burrow into the skin.
How can I protect my pet?
The best way to protect your pet is with a monthly preventative. Frontline Gold is the latest product available to protect your dog or cat, and is available exclusively here at Sierra—you won’t find this product available over-the-counter. The fast-acting topical formula is easy to apply, and kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and chewing lice. Each dose works for a full 30 days, even if your pet swims or is bathed, and when reapplied every month, the formula prevents new flea infestations before they start.
NexGard chewables are beef-flavored soft chews for dogs and puppies (8 weeks of age or older) that kill adult fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs. The chews also kill three common types of ticks, and are easy to give your dog (there’s no need to worry about applying a topical cream, or accidentally washing it off during bathing). This product is available only with a prescription from our doctors here at Sierra, and each dose works for a full 30 days to protect your dog from a flea or tick infestation.
One you’ve started a flea and tick regimen for your pet, be sure to use the monthly preventatives year round to avoid serious health consequences from a missed dose. If you have multiple pets, keep in mind that dogs and cats share the same fleas, and fleas can travel from one animal to another, so it’s important for all pets in your home to be protected.