It’s soon going to be Fall — a particularly beautiful time of the year to be out in the woods, hiking, camping, hunting, biking etc. No doubt, your dog enjoys all these autumnal activities as much as you, but just because the summer heat is dissipating, the weather is still not safe enough for you to let down your guard, vis-à-vis your pet’s health and wellbeing.
Fleas and ticks are autumn health harassments you must be aware of, especially when you’re taking your pet outdoors. In certain parts of the country, this seasonal pestilence is worse than others, but there is still a lot you do to keep your dog as safe as possible from bites and infestations.
11 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DOG’S ENVIRONMENT FLEA-AND-TICK PROOF
Many pet-owners stay vigilant against flea and tick infestation during the summer months, but autumn can be a pretty bad time for exposure as well.
60-70 degree weather is condusive for fleas and ticks to hatch and grow, and as the high temperatures start to drop during the onset of autumn, they begin to search for warm habitations both inside and outside your home. For example, they could be living in piles of organic debris like fallen leaves and twigs, from where they can easily target your dog when he/she is out playing or walking. The winter coats that pets begin to grow during autumn are snug and cozy places for fleas and ticks to live in, and they’re likely to migrate if your dog happens to be passing by.
There are many things you can do to reduce their presence from your dog’s immediate environment:
• Keep your autumn garden as clean as possible. Sweep up fallen leaves and other moist and dry debris, and don’t let them collect in piles.
• If you have bird feeders, make sure there is no feed litter lying around. Small animals get attracted to food falling out of bird feeders and they carry ticks and fleas right into your space.
• Mow the lawn regularly, and remove the piles of trimmed grass immediately.
• Keep your outdoor trash covered securely.
• If your dog has just returned from a hiking trip in the woods, make sure he/she has not come back in an infested condition. Fleas hang onto tall blades of grass, so putting a covering on the dog – like an old t-shirt for example – can help minimize chances of a full-on onslaught.
• Ticks and fleas are extremely resilient creatures. Flea larvae, for instance, can stay alive indoors in a semi-dormant state even through the coldest months. And they can deposit eggs on furniture and upholstery at the rate of 100 a day. It is necessary to vacuum regularly and change out the vaccum bags each time. Make sure to cover cracks and crevices on floors, along baseboards and the basement.
• Steam clean carpets. The hot steam and soap can kill fleas in all stages of the life cycle. Also, beware of buying second-hand carpets, sofas and other household goods.
• Fleas and ticks are repelled by citrus. You can try using a few drops of pure citrus essential oil (like lemon) when you clean floors and other surfaces. Do not apply essential oils directly on the dog without making sure it will not harm the animal in any way.
• Clean your dog’s bedding regularly. And yours.
• Use a flea comb to suppress adult fleas. It will help remove fleas, as well as flea feces and dried blood. Pay special attention to the dog’s head, neck, tail, ears and paws, as these are places where these insects like to gather most.
• There are all kinds of anti-flea and tick products, like medicated shampoos, collars, sprays and topical medications in the market, but most of them function differently and have different levels of effectiveness. Seek your vet’s advice to choose the best one for your pet’s individual needs if he/she has an infestation. Also, do not use your dog flea and tick products on your cat, and vice versa.