Preventing an outbreak of fleas or ticks on your fido or feline can save you a lot of headaches and hassle down the road. One of the best ways to do this is to inspect your pet regularly. Here's what to look for:
• Fleas are small insects (one to four millimetres long) with dark brown or reddish brown flattened bodies. Though wingless, they have powerful back legs that allow them to leap up to 200 times their body length. Bits of black the size of ground pepper on the skin near the tail on the back of your dog or cat are tell-tale signs that they may have fleas.
• Ticks are arachnids that feed on the blood of animals, including humans. They have four pairs of legs and can be easily seen, especially when they feed on the animal.
If you identify an infestation of fleas or ticks on your pet, Health Canada recommends the following measures:
• Flea combs dig through thick coats and can be used to remove some fleas, flea feces and dried blood. Focus combing where the most fleas congregate on the pet; usually the neck, tail or belly.
• Flea collars will prevent fleas from biting your pet, but do not provide adequate control once an infestation has occurred, and some animals may develop a skin rash from flea collars.
• Check with your vet for advice on a treatment that offers minimal exposure to chemicals.
•Be sure that you use flea and tick control products only on the animal specified on the product label: dog products should be used only on dogs, and cat products only on cats.
If after following these steps your pet still has fleas or ticks, chances are your home or cottage will have them too. Health Canada provides a guide for controlling fleas and ticks, and a video on the safe use of flea and tick products for pets, on its website at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/pmra.
Source : NC