Thanks to our mild coastal weather here on the West Coast, fleas and ticks on Vancouver Island are a reality year-round (with April through November being the worst of it) for pets and their owners. Once the weather warms up, the risk of your pet (and ultimately, your home!) suffering from a flea infestation rises.
Fleas are very active insects, feeding on blood from dogs and people. They jump onto passing animals and burrow down into the fur to the skin, where they stay well hidden while biting and ingesting blood. This is irritating to the animal, and to humans as well, as the bites can cause severe itching and inflammation.
Thanks to more recent coverage in the media over the last few years, more people are aware of the potential health hazards these fleas and ticks can cause to both pets and their humans.
How do I know if My Dog Has Fleas?
Notoriously difficult to see, fleas are tiny - about the size of a head of a pin - and are a dark copper colour. They don’t like the light, so if you are looking for fleas, you’ll want to check within furry areas, on the belly, and on the inner thighs of your pet.
Another thing you’ll want to look for, is something called "flea dirt" - it looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin’s surface. This is actually flea feces composed of digested blood (from your pet). Use a flea comb, and place some of these specks of flea dirt onto a wet paper towel. If the tiny specks spread out like a small bloodstain after a few minutes, it's definitely flea dirt, and your pet has fleas.
Prevention is Key
There are a few different options for the treatment and prevention of fleas and ticks (such as oral, chewable tablets, or topicals). Your vet can help you determine the bets treatment/prevention option for the needs of your pet.
This month only, we’re offering FREE Advantage Applications in-clinic.
NO appointment needed - you can walk-in!
Give us a call with any questions you may have, and we look forward to seeing you!
Yours in good health,
Dr. Gastis, Sunrise Veterinary Clinic