Welcome to Flea and Tick Season in New England!

flea and tick seasonIt’s that time of year again! Delightfully warm breezes, new leaves on the trees, flowers popping up everywhere, and of course the annoying onslaught of tiny, itchy, disease-carrying creatures. Fleas and ticks begin their reign of terror in New England around April, and continue to go strong through about December, when their numbers die down (but don’t go away completely).

Your pet’s ongoing good health depends in part upon disease prevention, and protecting them during flea and tick season is a great place to start.

Fleas

Anyone who has battled a flea infestation on their pet or in their home knows how frustrating the flea life cycle can be. More often than not, the problem needs to be addressed multiple times, and can be time consuming and expensive.

Besides being annoying, many pets and people are allergic to flea saliva. The resulting allergy, known as flea allergic dermatitis, can cause severe itching and other problems after only a few bites. Fleas also carry diseases that can affect humans and pets, including tapeworm, Bartonella (cat scratch fever), and plague.

Ticks

As their geographical distribution continues to increase, ticks are becoming more and more of a problem all year long. Ticks can carry life-threatening diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and more.

If you find a tick on your pet, remove it carefully by grasping the head with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight back. Your pet’s best line of defense against dangerous tick-borne diseases is an ongoing monthly prevention medication.

Staying Safe During Flea and Tick Season

Besides keeping your pets on a year-round flea and tick preventive medication, there is plenty that can be done to safeguard your home and family during flea and tick season, including:

  • Avoid areas where fleas and ticks are likely to hide – Heavily wooded areas, tall grasses, or brush can harbor fleas and ticks.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed – Fleas and ticks tend to hang out in shady, humid areas. By keeping your lawn and landscaping trimmed, you can reduce their habitat near your home.
  • Perform daily flea and tick checks – This proactive measure only takes a few moments, and should be done every time your pet comes in from the outdoors.
  • Keep them clean – Bathe and brush your pet regularly, wash their bedding weekly, and keep floors vacuumed and clean to prevent fleas from becoming an issue in your home.
  • Stay away from wildlife – Raccoons, possums, rabbits, coyotes, and other wildlife are often carriers of parasites like ticks and fleas. Discourage wildlife from hanging around your home or yard by keeping pet food and water bowls indoors, utilizing fencing, and other means. Don’t allow your pet to investigate live or dead wildlife.

For more information on how to keep your pets safe during flea and tick season in New England, give your friendly team at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital a call.