Dogs and cats can be great companions, but they also can carry fleas, ticks, and parasites into your home and your community. Infestations can spread quickly through a community when flea-infested carpeting or pet bedding is disposed of improperly, when a flea-infested pet plays with your pet and when pet waste is left uncollected on common areas.
Help avoid harmful pests in your home and community with the following tips, and follow up with your veterinarian to learn more about other ways to prevent and treat outbreaks.
• Apply a topical flea and tick pesticide. Fleas lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. Unless a pesticide kills 95 percent of the fleas, you won’t eliminate the problem. To do this, you need to use the products sold by your veterinarian. Over-the-counter products just aren’t strong or effective enough.
• Always leash your pet, keeping them leashed lessens the likelihood they’ll be infected by other pets and wildlife.
• Keep your pet clean. Even indoor pets should be inspected for ticks and flea “dirt,” which looks like pepper at the base of the coat on the skin. An occasional bath with flea shampoo is a good idea as well. Visit your local pet store or grooming facility or check online for information on bathing routines and options that are best for your pet.
• Monitor your pet’s behavior. Scratching is your first indication that fleas have discovered your dog or cat.