Fall is Tick and Flea Season: How Best to Protect Your Pets
The temperatures might be starting to fall, but that doesn’t mean no more ticks and fleas. Fall flea and tick prevention is actually more important than any other season. The number of fleas on your pets typically doubles in the fall compared to the spring. This is due to a flea surge that occurs every autumn due to increased rain (fleas and ticks both thrive in precipitation). Consequently, it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for pests harming your pets, so we know how to best protect them.
How pets get fleas and ticks
Dogs commonly contract both fleas and ticks on walks, on hikes, in wooded areas, at the dog park, at doggy daycare, etc. Cats commonly contract fleas and ticks if they are indoor/outdoor pets. However, your pets can contract fleas and ticks even if they are “only” indoor pets. You, the owner, can track these pests into your home unknowingly. For instance, they can be on the bottom of your shoes, attached to your coat, etc.
A vet once told me that another client brought his indoor-only cat in with fleas; they lived on the 32d floor of an apartment building… to show you how pervasive fleas and ticks can be.
Symptoms and signs of fleas and ticks
- Itchy or inflamed fur and skin
- Increased scratching
- Itchy and/or watery eyes
- Itchy ears and/or infected ears
- Itchy and/or inflamed tail
- Sneezing and/or wheezing
- Snoring due to an itchy and inflamed throat
- Paw chewing and/or swollen paws
- Constant licking of their fur and skin
- Tiny pests visibly (or not) embedded in their fur: fleas, flea “dirt,” and/or ticks
How to prevent fleas and ticks
- Limit the amount of time your pets spend outdoors.
- Limit contact with animals you don’t know personally or where you don’t know the owners.
- Make sure you know a pet’s medical history before allowing your pets to interact.
- Bathe and brush pets regularly.
- Check your pet for fleas and ticks daily, especially if they spend time outdoors.
- Ask your veterinarian if there is a tick vaccine available in your area.
- Put your pets on monthly flea prevention medication (flea collars, topical antibiotics, oral flea medication, etc.)
- Frequently vacuum your home and wash any pet bedding.
- Keep your grass mowed short and bushes and trees trimmed.
- Keep leaves racked and cleaned up because they create the perfect moisture breeding ground for fleas and ticks.
- If necessary, treat your yard with a pesticide (don’t let your pets interact with the pesticide).
How to get rid of fleas and ticks if your pet already has them
- Ideally, if your pet does get fleas or ticks: treat them right away + clean your home thoroughly to get rid of any left-behind fleas, ticks, and/or eggs to avoid further infestation.
- Sanitation: you must deep clean your home by vacuuming, mopping, washing bedding, washing pet bedding, washing rugs, etc.
- Treat your pet: thoroughly bathe pets with soap and warm water and comb their fur.
- Take your pet to the vet: your vet will prescribe flea and/or tick medication for you to give to your pet. This will eliminate the infestation and, in most cases, must be taken monthly to prevent it from happening again.
Reasons to prevent fleas and ticks
Monthly preventative flea medicine is a must for your pets to have the least likely chance of your pet developing a flea infestation. Additionally, if a tick vaccine is available in your area, it is also encouraged but sometimes harder to come by.
Fleas can transmit parasites, tapeworms, and bacterial diseases. Ticks can transmit: Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Your pet may also unknowingly be highly allergic to certain bites and experience extreme inflammation, itching, and excessive scratching. If left untreated, secondary and/or, lifelong infections can develop.
You may be able to remove both fleas and ticks by bathing (with flea wash etc.) and using a special comb, but use caution when removing the fleas and ticks so that no pieces are left behind. Contact your vet immediately if your pet has contracted fleas or ticks, and ask about special tick removal devices, flea combs, and/or washes. Make an appointment for your pet to be treated as quickly as possible.
Please keep your pets increasingly safe from fleas, ticks, and anything that might come their way by investing in a pet insurance plan. Ease your mind and keep your fur friend safe – Get a free quote today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Preventing ticks on your pets”. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_pets.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Preventing fleas on your pets”. https://www.cdc.gov/fleas/avoid/on_pets.html