Summer means long dog walks with your canine clients, setting up a kiddie pool in the yard, and—unfortunately—fleas and ticks. Luckily, we can help you make sure these pests don’t interfere with your summertime stays and dog walks.
What are fleas and ticks, exactly?
Fleas are very small insects that live and breed on dogs. They can also infest your home. Ticks are temporary hitchhikers that will spend between 3–10 days latched onto dogs, then drop off to continue their life cycle. Both can spread parasites and diseases, and of course annoy dogs.
Fleas are especially a concern for people and pets in states along the southern or west coast that are hot and/or humid. Consult this map for flea and tick activity in your area).
How do I prevent fleas and ticks?
The good news is fleas and ticks are preventable. To prevent fleas and ticks for your own dog, talk to your vet—and talk to your clients about what they’re doing for their dogs. You can purchase over-the-counter flea and tick medications, but it’s best to have your vet help you choose your dog’s medication—different treatments may work better for your dog and your climate, and some generic brands can even be dangerous for certain dogs.
If you’re looking for flea and tick preventative for your own dog, you can check out some options in our guide.
How can I get rid of fleas?
Think your dog—or a dog in your care—may have fleas? Is he itching a lot? Can you find small dark flecks on their skin, also known as flea dirt? Getting flea medication from your vet will kill off the adult fleas, and some medications cover all stages of their life cycle. Although one flea may not mean an infestation, providing treatment before you have a problem will prevent discomfort and a larger expense down the road. If you notice fleas on your Rover dog, talk to their owner.
For more information about how to get rid of fleas on your own dog, we have some great tips here.
If you’ve found fleas in your house, there are a few ways to attack the problem:
- Consider using a flea and tick control product to spray down your bedding and carpets. We like this natural one.
- If you have carpets and fleas, you can try out a powdered flea preventative—simply sprinkle it on your carpet, leave for 24-48 hours and vacuum away.
- Wash all of your bedding in hot, soapy water.
- Keep your floors clean with a high-powered vacuum.
- If none of this works against the fleas, your last effort is to use a flea fogger.
How can I get rid of ticks?
If you take your dog for walks in the woods or in tall grass, odds are they’ll pick up a tick at some point. It’s good to give your dogs daily check for ticks when they frequent areas like that. You can remove an embedded tick with tweezers by pulling them up by the head. Do not try to remove the tick by burning it off: This will cause the tick to burrow further into the skin and be more painful during removal for the dog.
Can fleas and ticks make dogs sick?
If your dog gets a tick and begins acting differently, call to your vet to discuss the possibility of Lyme disease. Undiagnosed Lyme disease can lead to arthritis, even in young puppies. Both fleas and ticks can cause haemobartonellosis, a disease that targets red blood cells and can range from mild to very severe symptoms. But like we said before, giving your dog the preventive treatment that’s right for them will help you avoid any worries down the road.
Advice for Rover Stays
Before a stay or walk, make sure your dog is current on their flea and tick treatments. If you’re a sitter or dog walker, ask the pet parent if their dog is current on their flea and tick medication.
Fleas and ticks are usually just an annoyance, but the good news is they’re totally avoidable with the right treatments. Talk to your vet and make sure your dog is getting the care they need when they need it. After all, $10–20 per month is a small price to pay for your dog’s comfort and well-being. If you’re a sitter or dog walker, talk to your clients to make sure their dogs are up-to-date with their flea and tick treatments.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.