We all want our dogs to be happy and healthy. Nothing quite beats the feeling of seeing your dog playing and their tail wagging with reckless abandon. However, as you may know, many things can cause your dog discomfort or distress, stopping that happy wagging in its tracks. Two of those buzzkills are fleas and ticks. These tiny interlopers like nothing more than sneaking onto your furry friend and ruining their day. So, as a proud owner, what can you do to end their tyranny and ensure your dog's tail wags like never before? Here, we'll give you a full rundown of fleas and ticks. In no time, you'll be able to tell them apart, recognise tick and flea bites on your dogs, spot the symptoms of fleas and ticks on your dog, and what you can do to treat and prevent this menace.
Recognising Fleas and Ticks
While you might assume that fleas and ticks are similar in nature, as they both stow away in your dog's fur and treat them like a cheap hotel, you'd be wrong. They might both be tiny and fully deserve your hatred, but they're actually quite different beasts.
As you can see above, the flea is inherently evil. Well, not exactly, it's just living its life doing what it loves. Unfortunately, a flea's life choices often get in the way of you and your dog. A typical day-in-the-life of a flea is to jump onto a nearby animal, build a little home and then attempt to colonise their entire body. See, fleas lay eggs; a lot of eggs. This can make it tough to get rid of them, as they quickly multiply out of control. Even if you think you've gotten rid of them all, a single egg could start a flea uprising. And, they tend to lay eggs every day, which frankly sounds exhausting. But, it means that in a matter of weeks, they could have their entire civilisation up and running again. A bad case of fleas can lead to itchiness and irritation that simply won't go away. Not ideal.
Flea infiltration usually occurs when your happy dog comes into contact with another animal currently 'enjoying' the company of fleas. This could be another of your pets or a wild animal like a rat or fox. Even if your dog doesn't come into direct contact with an infested animal, fleas could have fallen off them and be lying in wait. It could be in your garden, your driveway or in the park. Nowhere is safe! And, as fleas are excellent jumpers, it only takes one perfectly-timed leap from a pregnant flea to start taking over your innocent dog's coat.
Thankfully, fleas are easy to spot. Since they multiply so rapidly, you shouldn't have any trouble seeing them scurry beneath your dog's fur at a quick glance.
While fleas might be annoying and potentially overwhelming, ticks are a whole lot worse. See, ticks are devious little vampires who want nothing more than to drink your dog's blood - and the nutrients within - while also sending them a little saliva the other way. That means any number of diseases can be transmitted, which can be potentially fatal for your dog. Who'd have thought that something so small could be so bad? We did. And now, you do too.
Unlike fleas, ticks don't hop from one animal to another. Instead, they love hiding in tall grass, or any flora they fancy. Then, when your dog unknowingly passes by them, on they latch. Cunning little critters, aren't they? They're patient too, as they can go an entire year without eating a thing. Ticks play the long game, as they're happy to sit there and wait for a worthwhile meal to come along. Unfortunately, that meal might be your dog.
Ticks also don't multiply like fleas, so spotting them is going to be a lot harder. But, if you dig around in your dog's fur, you may spot them. Plus, you can even feel them if you run your finger over them, which is, frankly, pretty gross. But, at least you've caught the critter.
Signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks on your dog
By now, you're probably pretty knowledgeable when it comes to your dog's behaviour and personality. So hopefully, if anything's amiss, you'll notice right away. But dogs are pretty weird, so it can be hard to tell. Thankfully, both fleas and ticks leave pretty big clues that they're causing a nuisance.
Fleas, as mentioned earlier, multiply very quickly. This can leave large areas of irritated, red skin in their wake. Your dog will also be incredibly itchy, so if you see them scratching more than usual, inspect the itchy areas and see what's going on. Flea bites can even cause an allergic reaction in your dog, or the relentless scratching could remove bits of their fur.
Ticks, on the other hand, are harder to spot. Since they're so small and eager to feed in the long term, you probably won't see them at a glance. As ticks can infect your dog with any number of nasty diseases, you may only realise there's a problem if your dog's mood changes. They might have less energy, a loss of appetite, or generally seem unwell.
Flea and tick treatment and prevention for dogs
So, now you know about the dangers these insidious creatures can cause, you might be wondering how to prevent fleas and ticks from taking over. Well, wonder no longer. We've come up with a few brilliant solutions to keep your pup safe from invaders.
The best way to get rid of fleas and ticks is to flush them out with a quality shampoo. A shampoo shower can get to all the niggly, hard-to-reach areas, ensuring no parasite is left. All-natural is the way to go, as chemical treatments can be damaging to your dog's skin. Animigo's Flea & Tick Shampoo doesn't just get rid of the critters, but it's also full of skin-soothing ingredients that will help your dog's fur and skin recover.
If your dog gets a little fussy during bathtime, you could always try a Flea & Tick Control Spray. Much like shampoo, Animigo's formula can help get rid of the pests while soothing your dog's skin. Just spray it all over their coat a couple of times a day until the parasites are no more.
If you're worried about your dog getting fleas or ticks, nip the whole experience in the bud with some preventative powder. You can easily add Animigo's Flea & Tick Defence Powder to their food, tricking your dog into a parasite-free future. Containing garlic which the fleas and ticks hate, it'll help your dog stay happy.
Or, outfit your dog with some flea and tick-resistant armour. Animigo's Flea & Tick Collar is an all-natural wearable solution to help ward off the nasties. Its plant-based formula releases repellants throughout the day, making your dog a lot less-enticing of a snack. Or a home.
While it can be satisfying to sort the problem out yourself, getting rid of fleas and ticks isn't always easy. If you ever feel like the problem is too overwhelming, for you or your dog, don't hesitate to visit your vets. They could treat the issue themselves, or advise you on more potent treatments if the problem is particularly severe. And always be careful when removing fleas and ticks yourself. Picking a tick off your dog's skin can leave traces of the pest, which will only make things worse.
Now, you're a bonafide flea and tick expert. Congratulations! Now, you can get back to having fun and enjoying life with your dog, as you should be.