Good morning, Weirdos! Grab your coffee and settle in – today’s topic is always important to brush up on, especially as we get further into our warm season!
As the seasons change and warmer months finally make their appearance, so do many plants, critters, bugs, and pests. Some of the worst for pet parents? Fleas and ticks. While these pests can persist throughout the year, they tend to be more prevalent during spring, summer, & fall. More wild animals are out and about, and plenty of them can be carriers for these pests. We’ll dive right into some information about these common pet problems, including signs, prevention, treatment and more!
Fleas may be one of the most common and well-known pet pests. It starts with a small scratch, but can quickly snowball into a full-blown infestation. If your cat (or other pet) has been scratching more frequently and there are no known allergies, it’s a good idea to do frequent flea checks. You can typically find fleas or “flea dirt” in higher concentrations at the base of the ears, tail, under “arm” pits, and other deep fur zones. Flea dirt presents as dark brown or black specks – this is a nasty mix of flea feces & blood, and you can test any dirt by combing some out, placing on a paper towel, and adding a couple drops of water – if it turns red, that indicates blood & your fur baby likely has fleas. You may also be able to spot adult fleas crawling through your cat’s fur, or hopping from surface to surface or critter to critter. They can be hard to spot, so keep in mind that they are just a few millimeters in size & brown/reddish-brown. You might think you are safe from fleas if your cat is indoor only, but fleas can be lurking in your yard, waiting to hitch a ride inside after hopping onto your shoe. This is especially true if you live in areas with plenty of local pets, strays, or wild animals. The best way to stay ahead of a flea infestation is prevention. With the use of trusted products, odds are high that you will never have to deal with the stress of an infestation. If you do end up with fleas, make sure to continuously treat the issue and implement additional cleaning routines (vacuum daily (always dispose of contents – ideally outside away from the home), and wash pet bedding often). You can find product suggestions & additional information about fleas in the links at the bottom of this blog!
Many locals & other sources are reporting that 2020 is yet another bad year for ticks. According to Pests.org, Ohio and the rest of the Midwest have an above average threat level of tick activity this year. Ticks can be more active during warm & humid months, and have many local hosts like deer, coyotes, squirrels etc. - all of which tend to be more active during these seasons as well. Several tickborne diseases have been seen throughout Ohio, the most common of which include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Other tickborne illness include tularemia, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and more. While some of these tick-related issues are more commonly seen in dogs, it’s important to know the signs as cat parents.
Ticks come in a variety of types, colors, and sizes; some are even as small as a poppy seed! Familiarizing yourself with local tick varieties can save you stress when trying to identify bugs, and help identify the best course of action if a tick attaches to your fur baby or you! Prevention is key in avoiding ticks and the diseases they carry. There are many approved products to use on your pet; and there are safe, natural repellents to use around the house & yard. Again, you can find more information about ticks & appropriate products in the links below.
You should ALWAYS check with a trusted vet for the best products, and make sure to do your research before using any products that claim to prevent and/or treat fleas & ticks! Even some well-known brands, such as Hartz, can cause severe complications and even death. We think it’s important to know that products by Hartz have caused many issues & severe cases in the past. HartzVictims.org is an ongoing blog full of stories from pet parents who have experienced negative results from these products – this includes the use of flea/tick prevention & treatment and shampoos/conditioners.
There is an abundance of information on fleas, ticks, and the products that are necessary for prevention and treatment. While we could probably go on all day, we don’t want to take up your entire Sunday! It is encouraged that you take some extra time to look into these issues so that you can always have the best up-to-date information for keeping your fur babies happy & healthy!
Below you will see some links with more information, sources that contributed to this write-up, and product recommendations. (Please note: the Weirdos are not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the products suggestions. We have simply found these items to be trustworthy & reliable.)