Fleas and Ticks create a number of problems in Australia for dogs and dog owners and dealing with fleas and ticks is important to ensure that your dog doesn’t become infested and that they’re able to carry on with the highest level of health possible.
Protecting Your Dog
Did you know that protecting your dog involves a lot of different things, but it begins with basic prevention. If fleas enter your home, it can be a huge challenge to get rid of them but flea or tick prevention is relatively easy thanks to modern preventative treatments like tablets, chews or externally administered applications! Find the product that works for your pet and you’ll be able to avoid fleas and ticks this season.
If you find that you are washing your dog or they are regularly getting wet from swimming, a chew or tablet may be the best option because the externally administered drops can lose their effect sooner if your dog’s skin is frequently getting wet.
Did you know that fleas move through a lifecycle that can last up to 6 months! It involves egg, larvae, pupae, and adulthood. Overall, the lifespan of a flea itself, can be as much as 1.5 years, and females can begin laying eggs within 36 – 48 hours after their first blood meal. They will lay about 50 eggs a day and more than 5,000 eggs during their life on average!
This is important to understand because many people make the mistake of assuming that if their dog doesn’t have fleas or doesn’t come into contact with another flea-infested pet, their dog is not at risk. The reality is that flea eggs find their way into the carpets of your home and remain there for weeks, eventually changing into the pupae, that can sit in hibernation for months!
They will feed on organic matter (including any of their dead brothers and sisters) and will also eat tapeworm eggs, thus becoming host to the Tapeworm and eventually passing it onto your dog.
You can get them from the bed, the garden, crevices and even from stuffed animals that fleas have reached.It only takes one warm day (even in the middle of an Australian winter), vibrations (including sound), heat or carbon dioxide to give them the indication that there is a host close by. They then literally jump 100 times their own height if needed (due to their multi jointed hind legs) onto your dog and begin the cycle all over again.
The majority of ticks require three different hosts to complete their development. During this development, ticks go through four stages of life. These stages are egg, larvae (or seed tick), nymph, and adult.
Generally, adult female hard ticks breed while on the host animal and then drop to the ground to lay eggs. A female lays several thousand eggs at a time, which will eventually hatch into the larval stage, known as seed ticks. At this stage of life, they are identified due to these small ticks having six legs!
Ticks can’t jump, so they must find ways to attach to their hosts. They will use blades of grass and other vegetation to elevate themselves to the height where they can easily grasp onto passing animals.
There are 3 Ticks that most commonly attach themselves to your dog given the opportunity.
- The Brown Tick (Rhipicehpalus sanguineus) – found along the western, northern and eastern coastlines of Australia and some inland areas including Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
- The Bush Tick (Haemophysalis longicornis) – which is found along the eastern coastline of Australia and some coastal parts of Western Australia.
- The Australian Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) – which poses the greatest health risk to dogs can be found along the eastern seaboard of Australia from Northern Queensland to the eastern coast of Tasmania.
How do I know if my dog has ticks?
Some symptoms your dog may show if they have been affected by the Ticks are:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy or depression
- Change in voice/bark
- Coughing, retching or vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing or rapid breathing
- Arthritis/swelling in joints
- Lack of coordination in the hind legs
Always consult your Vet if you have any concerns.
(Paralysis Tick before and after feeding)
Even if your dog does not have ticks, it is important to begin tick prevention a minimum of 2 weeks prior to travelling to an area that may have ticks. Simply going into the bush or scrub can put your dog at risk.
Your Vet usually knows the areas of greatest risk in your area.
Dealing With An Infestation
It is important that you check your dog for fleas and ticks and if fleas or ticks do become a problem, you’ll need to take steps to remove the pests and then kill the eggs as well. If major infestations exist, flea control could include regular vacuuming of all carpets and mass washing of all linens, stuffed animals, and other cloth products in the home. It can take days to eradicate the issue, and because of this it’s important that you head off problems early on.
Although there are some flea treatments that do not include tick treatment, many of the preventative treatments will work on both fleas and ticks.
By understanding the risks to your dog, you will be able to understand what treatment will work best for your dog.
Prevention is always a more successful strategy than a cure and it’s simple to do with the right products, so don’t ignore your dog’s health this flea and tick season.
Stay tuned for our post on tick removal, too!
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Advice and information provided in this article is intended to assist in keeping your dog happy and healthy. Please always seek professional veterinarian advice or any specific concerns.