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How to spot ticks and fleas

Sep 30, 2022

Pets like cats and dogs are some of the best companions and bring lots of joy into a home. However, they can also pick up nasty pests like ticks and fleas that can cause major irritations, as well as pose serious health risks, especially if they infest a home and establish a resident population. In order to spot ticks and fleas, be on the lookout for the following signs.

Signs that your pets may have fleas or ticks:

Your pet is scratching or biting. It is normal for dogs and cats to scratch the occasional itch or groom themselves all over. However, if you notice more scratching or biting than usual, or if your pet seems frantic while scratching or biting, that could be a sign of a flea or tick problem.

You find irritated skin on your pet. If you are petting or grooming your pet and notice irritated skin, this could also indicate an issue with fleas or ticks. The most likely places that fleas can irritate a pet’s skin are the base of the tail, the neck, and the shoulders. You may also find ticks in the folds of your pet’s skin, especially around the leg, belly, and chest areas. Sometimes the irritation can come from the pet’s own biting and scratching.

There is strange dirt on your pet. Fleas leave behind droppings which are called “flea dirt.” These can look like black pepper but are actually flecks of dried blood. If you have a flea problem, you may find flea dirt on your pet’s body, bed, or on your carpet or furnishings where your pet likes to spend time.

There are eggs or larvae around. If you happen to notice small, oval-shaped, white bumps on your pet’s fur or around your house, you might want to take a closer look–they could be flea eggs. Flea larvae hatch from these eggs and usually look like a grain of rice.

Your pet is missing fur. Even more noticeable than irritated skin is missing fur. If there are any bald patches on your pet, again, around the base of the tail, along the neck or shoulder blades, or on the back of the legs, then it’s probably due to a flea or tick problem.

There are actual fleas or ticks on your pet or around your home. Fleas are tiny bugs that are reddish-brown colored and can jump extremely high and crawl very fast. A good way to find fleas on your pet is to invest in a flea comb, which is a very fine comb that will trap fleas in its teeth and help you pull them from your pet’s fur. Ticks are also small, round insects that will bite and cling onto a pet. Be careful when removing them, and be sure to pull slowly so that the entire tick is removed.

If you are having a hard time dealing with a flea or tick problem, contact West Termite, Pest & Lawn.

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