What’s the Difference Between Fleas and Ticks?
You probably know that ticks are blood sucking parasites. They’ll attach themselves to your dog, cat or even you and feed off of you until they’re ready to lay THOUSANDS of eggs!
Fleas are also parasitic creatures that live by attaching themselves to a host. In this article, we’ll explore the world of ticks and ideas on how to prevent them from disrupting your life.
First, let’s look at the tick. Ticks have 8 legs and are related to spiders. They can hold on tight as you know if you’ve ever tried to pull one off of your pet. Like fleas, ticks are usually found in grassy areas and they lie in wait for a host to come along – your dog, your cat, you?
Once they land on your pet, their goal is to burrow in and bite. After feasting on your pet, they’ll fall off (if you don’t find them first and remove them.) Then they’ll lay all those eggs! Ticks can go from one host to another in different life stages – larvae, nymph and adult and they can live for up to three years.
Some ticks carry serious diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease that can affect everyone in your family.
Ticks Don’t Mind the Cold
Ticks are hardier than fleas and can withstand cold climates far better. They can be found anywhere but are particularly prevalent in grassy or wooded areas. This means if you take your dogs to romp in the woods, you’ll want to take extra precautions with doing a “tick check” afterwards. We’ll share more about that in a minute.
On the other hand, fleas like it hot. They are especially prevalent in warm areas and can often live through the winter in a mild climate. It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian on their recommendations when it comes to flea and tick control.
Prevention is Key
It starts with using topical flea and tick prevention as well as doubling up with a collar if you’re in a high risk area.
Then there’s the daily maintenance aspect of prevention. Each time you come in from a walk, you’ll want to check your pet after you come inside. Ticks like to burrow into your pet’s ears, around the base of the tail and between the toes. So you’ll want to check your pet thoroughly when you come in. If you can catch the tick before it bites, it’s much easier to get rid of them than after it’s latched onto your pet.
If it has already attached itself to your pet, use a pair of tweezers to pull it out – turn it clockwise to make sure you get the entire thing -- and flush it down the toilet. There are special “tick remover” tools which are plastic implements with two prongs that can make pulling them out easier.
It’s a good idea to brush your pet daily and check for ticks. As you can see, ticks are nasty creatures that can take up residence on your pet and carry serious illnesses. You’ll want to do everything you can to prevent them.
What are your tricks for preventing fleas and ticks?