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EEKS: The Worst Flea and Tick Season in a Decade

For pet parents, here’s a disturbing thought: this is being hailed as the worst flea and tick season in the past decade.

According to research done by the Department of Parasitology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in Alabama, fleas spend only about 20 percent of their time on your cat or dog; the rest of their lifespan is spent free-ranging in your home.

It’s easy – and horrifying – to understand how quickly a flea infestation can get out of control. Any time of year.

If your have carpets, fleas like to reside in the pile, hopping on to your pet for a quick snack and then embedding themselves back in the carpeting. The problem is that it can take only one bite from a flea for a pet to develop flea allergy dermatitis causing their hair to fall out. It can also lead to tapeworm, which in turn can cause diarrhea, weight loss and even seizures.

One of the easiest ways to see if fleas already exist is to walk about the home and the yard in a pair of long white socks – this makes them easy to spot. Then secure the socks in a plastic bag and throw them away or put into the washing machine for a hot wash.

Sergeant’s has a full range of products that tackle fleas, ticks and also mosquitoes, both on the pet and those hiding in the home or yard. When it comes to any topical applications like Sentry Fiproguard MAX, it’s important to read the labels to ensure the product selected is suitable for the age and weight of your pet, especially if they are a small breed, very young or a senior. Other products include flea and tick collars such as Sergeant’s Dual Action Flea and Tick Collars with active ingredients to combat the problem for up to six months.

To control fleas and ticks, not only do you have to treat the pet, but you also have to tackle the problem in the home and garden or yard. Bathing the family dog using Sentry Natural Defense Shampoo regularly gives you a chance to check the situation lurking close to the skin as when the hair is wet it parts easily its easier to see what is going on. Again, be sure to read all the package directions very carefully. Don’t treat your pet with more than one on-animal treatment to avoid the risk of overdose. Don’t use a flea and tick shampoo and then apply a topical product or collar, for example.

If you are unsure about flea and tick issues, never guess. Instead, seek help. There is a lot of information available on the Sergeant’s website, including the Frequently Asked Questions section, hosted by veterinarian Dr. Van Horn. You can also contact them by phone at 800-224-7387. And of course, you can always post questions on the Pet Health Central fan page, where experts including Dr. Van Horn and veterinarian Dr. Tony Johnson can chime in.

Where you reside is directly related to the flea problem you may encounter as fleas thrive in hot and humid climates. Thus, the Gulf Coast states – from Florida to Texas – have a year-round problem. This can apply to certain parts of Southern California, too. Infestations can also occur in areas the border major lakes and rivers like the Mississippi. Veterinarians recommend treating your pet with a preventative flea and tick treatment all 12 months of the year, no matter where you live. That’s because, as we have seen this year, weather patterns can change. It’s also because the nasty pests that lurk in the house may not realize what season it is outside if your home heating keeps it a balmy temperature. They can still breed and infest!

 

-Photo Credit: from flickr by Luke Hayfield Photography

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