You might think flea and tick prevention is only for your pooch or feline friend, but keeping the bugs out of your home can be beneficial for all members of your household. Here's how creating a proper plan for protection against fleas and ticks can keep those pesky pests away from your doorstep.
Prevention Keeps the Bugs (and the Bacteria) Away
Ideally, you want to stop fleas and ticks from becoming long-term tenants in your home. According to the researchers at Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, some pests thrive from early fall until March or April, including the black-legged tick (also called the deer tick).1 Although flea and tick season kicks up in the spring, cats, dogs, and humans can benefit from year-round prevention, as these pests can hide away in your yard or home all year.
It's important to protect against fleas and ticks because they can transmit bacteria and other pathogens to animals and people, causing a variety of illnesses. Fleas, for example, can cause endemic murine typhus, tapeworm infection, and even the plague. Ticks spread heartworm disease, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease. Reactions to flea or tick bites can fluctuate from mild to extreme, and you should always contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect there are pests on your pet.
No matter the time of year, keeping fleas and ticks away from your pet, home, and yard can help you avoid bringing in any illnesses.
How to Spot, Prevent, and Protect Against Pests
Protecting your dog or cat from getting fleas or ticks is the first line of protection. One essential method is to invest in a flea collar for your pet. When used according to instructions, a flea collar helps drive pests away before they can take up residence. Flea collars are not transferrable between species. So, choose one that's formulated and designed specifically for your dog or cat.
A topical treatment is another helpful solution because it performs double-duty by killing fleas and ticks and repelling mosquitoes. Adams™ Flea & Tick Spot On for Dogs, for example, protects your pup for up to 30 days.
Checking Your Pets for Fleas and Ticks
If you suspect your furry friend has come into contact with fleas, perform a full-body check. Pay close attention to the head, ears, neck, underarms, and groin. Make sure to do the following:
- Watch for excessive itching, scratching, and biting of the skin.
- Look for irritated red patches on the skin.
- Run your hands over your pet's body to feel for bumps.
- Inspect fur with a fine-tooth comb to look for adults, eggs, and larva.
While checking for fleas, be on the lookout for tiny, white oval-shaped flea eggs. You may also find small, white objects shaped like a grain of sand. These are tapeworms, which usually come in tandem with fleas. Their presence may indicate that your pet also has fleas.
Ticks are a bit trickier to spot on your pet. Unlike fleas, they don't bounce around like circus performers. Ticks are opportunistic and will hop onto their host and dig into the skin, so they're best found by hand.
Protect Your Home Inside and Out
A successful, comprehensive flea and tick prevention plan includes creating and maintaining an inhospitable environment for them, both inside and out. The sooner you discover and treat pests, the sooner you can help your pet.
- Mow the lawn once a week.
- Trim trees, plants, and shrubs regularly, especially those that grow near doors and windows.
- Pull weeds often.
- Cover garbage bins tightly and don't leave food outside. Otherwise, you'll attract critters, such as raccoons, that may carry insect pests.
- Spray your yard, garden, and home exterior with Adams™ Yard & Garden Spray.
- Collect and dispose of grass and other organic clippings right away. These piles are perfect nesting spots for fleas, ticks, eggs, and larvae to burrow and flourish.
- Check your pets' bedding daily for pests.
- Wash all pet bedding once a week in warm or hot water.
- Thoroughly vacuum floors, rugs, and upholstery once a week, getting into small cracks and crevices.
- Use disposable vacuum bags, change the bags carefully to ensure no debris falls out, and dispose of bags outside.
- Bring area rugs and carpets outside for a good shaking, away from open doors and windows.
Don't forget to check yourself, too. If you have been around fleas or ticks, shake out your shoes, hair, clothing, and accessories. It's best to do this outside. Wash clothing thoroughly with the hottest water that's safe for the garment.
Treating Your Home for Fleas and Ticks
Pests can sneak by even the most attentive pet parent. If you find fleas and ticks inside your home, use the tips above as a starting point. Then, add an extra layer of protection with products designed to take on these pests.
- Give your pet a bath with Adams™ Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo, protecting them from pests, getting rid of any fleas or ticks you may have missed, and ensuring no bugs set up shop in your home.
- Before vacuuming, sprinkle Adams™ Carpet Powder with Linalool and Nylar. This multi-functional formula kills existing fleas and ticks on contact and prevents pest reinfestations.
- To treat areas such as pet beds, drapes, baseboards, and upholstered furniture, use Adams™ Flea and Tick Carpet & Home Spray to break the life cycle of pests. You can use this spray indoors or outdoors, but do not spray it on your pets.
- Larger infestations may require the use of a fogger, like Adams™ Plus Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger. This fogger is a great choice for homes, garages, and even kennels because it gets into those difficult-to-reach spaces.
Patience and persistence are two more tools you can add to your flea and tick prevention arsenal. You may find yourself vacuuming the floor a few times or spending extra time on landscaping, but in return, you'll keep the pests away from you and your furry friend.
- Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "Ticks and Fleas Are a Year-Round Problem for Pets." 11 Nov. 2021. https://extension.okstate.edu/articles/2021/ticks_winter_pets.html.
- American Kennel Club. "External Dog Parasites." 4 March 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/external-dog-parasites/.