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Feeling itchy?

dog scratching

We have been very grateful here for the rain we’ve been getting this summer, but now we are getting a lot of calls about flea and tick problems. If you live in an area where fleas and ticks are a big problem you need to have a plan to keep you and your pets safe. flea-life-cycleOne flea can bite your dog 400 times per day! Once they are on your dog they can come into the house, get into your carpet and become much more difficult to eliminate. Just a few fleas can become a big problem in no time because they reproduce very quickly.

If you notice your dog scratching excessively, especially in a few isolated areas, inspect it closely. Fleas can be found on any part of your dog’s body. However, they can be seen mostly around the base of the tail, on the belly, behind the ears, and between the toes. Look closely! They are only about 1/32 of an inch. Because of their small size, you will most probably encounter “flea dirt” rather than the fleas themselves. Flea dirt is the dark, gritty particles of specks found on your animal, and is a combination of dried blood and flea feces.

Tick life cycle graphicTicks are a little easier to spot on your dog. They will usually attach themselves to your animal in areas of the body with little or no hair such as the head, neck, ears, and feet. However, they can be found on any part of your animal. When a tick attaches itself, it first uses its scissor-like mouth parts to make an incision in the skin. It then inserts a spiny “tongue” into this incision and begins to feed on the blood. Some types of ticks will even secrete a substance which acts as a type of cement to aid in attachment.

Fleas can jump up to three feet, so your dog can pick up fleas from even a few minutes out in the yard. If your dog has fleas or ticks, it is wise to spray both your yard and your house. I have had better luck with professional exterminators than with doing the spraying myself. Fleas can live in their cocoons for as much as a year, so it is a good idea to spray again in a week or two, and then at regular intervals of about twice a year. It is also a good idea to keep your grass mowed – fleas and ticks seem to like tall grass.

It is always best to consult your veterinarian to discuss an appropriate prevention of fleas and ticks on your dog. There are many preventive treatments out there, so be sure to get one that is right for your breed and size. If your dog has become infested with fleas or ticks, you may have to take it in to your local groomer or vet to get a special bath (dip). The dip will kill the fleas and ticks that are currently on the dog but will not prevent them from coming back, so you must have an ongoing treatment plan.

At the Klip Joint we can safely dip your dog and remove those pesky critters. Keep your dog comfortable and beautiful with a trip to the Klip Joint!

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