Spring is just around the corner, and it couldn’t come fast enough for me. My husband, Jeremy, and I are looking forward to spending many hours outside with our dogs, Petey and Harley. Now, if you are a dog owner, you know spring brings warm weather, new flowers, and, regrettably, flea and tick season. We try to prepare and protect our yard, home, and dogs beforehand. This way, we have the upper hand in case of any infestation. It’s important to take certain precautions in protecting your yard, home, and dog from fleas and ticks. Treating them all simultaneously will help to increase your chances of having a flea- and tick-free season.
When preparing your yard, consider where your doggie spends most of his time outside, such as his doghouse or favorite nap place. These spots are the areas that you should focus your attention first, because they will most likely be infested the most. Fleas’ and ticks’ ideal hiding spots are tall grasses and weeds. By keeping your grass mowed weekly and all your weeds under control, you will eliminate where fleas and ticks prefer to hide and breed. Another thing to consider is that sunlight kills flea eggs, so any shady areas in your yard will need extra attention. There are many methods for treating fleas and ticks in your yard. There are both chemical and natural controls to choose from, but they both have their pros and cons. Chemicals, such as sprays and powders, can pose a danger if applied incorrectly, but they get results done in a timely manner and tend to be cheaper. The natural methods tend to take longer and, at times, are more costly, but they are safer than chemicals. Here are some commonly used natural methods: Nematodes (worms that prey on flea larvae and eggs), plants that deter fleas (Pennyroyal, Eucalyptus, Cedar, and all Mints), and Diatomaceous Earth (an exoskeletons of tiny sea creatures, safe for larger animals to eat but kills fleas and ticks). Do your research to determine what is best suited for you and your family.
Just like your yard, your home needs protection from these pests, too. The lil’ buggers prefer your dog over you, but when the infestation gets really bad, everyone, sadly, is fair game in your home. Keep in mind, when you notice the signs of fleas on your dog, they are not just on him. Only 10% of the fleas in your home are infesting your dog. Unfortunately, that means the other 90% are throughout your house, in carpet, furniture, etc. Just like treating your yard, there are two kinds of methods in treating your home for flea and ticks, chemical and natural methods. There are three application choices for chemical methods: sprays, powders, and foggers. All are effective and serve as a great way to get rid of these pests. Some natural methods are keep all flooring swept, mopped and vacuumed; washing all bedding throughout your home; and washing your dog’s bedding. Every two to three days is ideal for washing your dog’s bedding, as hot water and soap will kill all flea eggs and larvae. Some dog owners will combine both chemical and natural methods of flea control to get the most optimal outcome. Again, the methods you choose will be determined by what you decide is best for your family.
Now, keeping your yard and your home flea and tick free is part of the battle, but the remainder is making sure your dog is protected from and prepared for the pests. Some remedies include topical treatments, shampoos, collars, and combs. Pre-treating your dog with topicals made to kill fleas and ticks is a great precaution. Frontline and Advantage are just a few topicals you can choose from. These products are a helpful and convenient tool to use because you just apply it once every month. Now, keeping your dog well-groomed is also essential. These pests love coverage, so make sure your dog is well-groomed, and you have eliminated their ideal environment. Giving your dog a weekly bath will help deter fleas and ticks from infesting. Plus, it will allow you to discover any infestation early on. There are also specific flea and tick shampoos to use when your dog is infested. In addition to topicals and shampoos, another great product is a natural flea and tick spray for your dog. You simply spray the product all over your dog’s coat and his bedding. It’s simple to use and will kill the fleas and ticks on contact.
Spring is something we always look forward to, so we prefer to do some of these precautions ahead of time. That way, we don’t have to worry about fleas and ticks. We just enjoy our time outside with our dogs.