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Did you know that around 49% of adults in the UK own a pet, with around 25% owning a cat, 24% owning a dog, and 2% caring for a bunny?! For each of these pet types, anti-pest treatments are key. After all, fleas and ticks can cause everything from skin itching to infections, fur loss, and (in the case of some ticks) diseases like Lyme – which have serious consequences for pets and humans alike. The good news is that keeping your pet safe is easy. Just jot down their monthly flea and tick treatment on your calendar and take extra precautions when you have been outside!
Flea and Tick Treatments for Cats and Dogs
The first step when it comes to choosing the appropriate flea and tick treatment, is to use a product recommended by your vet. Treatments can be effective for up to a month in dogs but for shorter periods in cats (i.e. two weeks), depending on the chosen treatment. Moreover, not all treatments protect against Leishmaniasis – a disease which is present in some Mediterranean countries and which causes skin issues, lameness, and kidney failure. If a trip to this area is in the works, definitely ask your vet about protection for your pets. Another option is to use a collar instead of a liquid treatment for fleas and ticks. These collars tend to have a strong odour, but on the upside, they can last for up to eight months. In the case of topical treatments, you definitely need to be at the top of your game, remembering to apply them on the same day of every month.
Checking for Ticks
Even if you regularly apply treatments to your pets, if you spend time outdoors, make sure to physically check your pet for fleas and ticks when you get home. Typical places where ticks can hide are in the neck, ear, paw, and inner thigh areas. If you do find a tick, make sure you remove the entire tick – head and all – eliminating it well afterwards. If you find a tick and you are in an area known to have a risk for Lyme disease, take a good photograph of the tick beforehand, so your vet can identify whether or not it is a dangerous type (such as the deer tick, which carries Lyme disease). Groom your pet regularly, combing or brushing it gently and ‘lifting fur’ to look for ticks and fleas, as well as any redness, ‘hot spots’, or missing areas of fur.
Protecting Your Rabbit
Most rabbits in the UK are kept indoors, but if yours is allowed a bit of outdoors time, be vigilant for ticks, since these pests can cause anemia in bunnies. If you find a tick, carefully remove its entire body with forceps and immerse it in alcohol. If you are worried that there may be more ticks than you have noticed, visit your veterinarian (who may decide to apply a medication to get rid of all ticks). If you notice any fleas in your rabbit’s fur, comb them away with a flea comb (which traps even the tiniest of fleas). You should also speak to your vet about the suitability of a solution that is specifically made for rabbits. Never use your dog’s or cat’s flea and tick treatment on a rabbit; it could cause severe illness or death.
Whether you have a dog, cat, or rabbit, you need to make flea and tick prevention a priority. Even pets who only occasionally go outdoors can pick up pests and bring them home, so use a vet approved treatment that is specifically catered to your pet. Finally, check for pests every time you go for a walk, and use grooming time to spot any potential signs that you need to see a vet 🙂
You can also read more about at home flea treatments here.
Until next time, with very best wishes,