The April showers have passed (hopefully), and summer is in sight! We’re thriving… but so are fleas and ticks.Should they pounce onto your pet, these pesky insects can cause mild irritation, like constant scratching, or serious health issues, such as Lyme disease and tapeworms.Here are the most noteworthy facts about these fleas, how to prevent an invasion, and tips on natural flea treatment if infestation occurs.Facts on Fleas and TicksA flea’s life consists of 4-stages:
Pupa – hardest stage to kill
There are a few reasons why the warm, muggy weather that comes with a Texas Spring are ideal conditions for fleas and ticks:Temperature: Fleas and ticks flourish in warm climates, preferring somewhere in the 70 to 85 degree range.
Humidity:Fleas and ticks require a high humidity level (ideally around 70%) for survival.
Landscape:Ticks generally live in the wooded areas with leaves and bushes. Fleas like shaded, damp spaces. Both rural and suburban areas, including the garden or dog park, could play hunting ground for these creepy crawlers.
Light:Fleas and ticks thrive in dark, humid areas.
Natural Flea PreventionPets are most at risk of catching fleas outdoors and tracking them inside. Thankfully, the outdoors is a relatively easy arena for preventative flea-fighting.Adult fleas and larvae can’t survive for very long in direct sunlight, so focus your efforts on shady cool spots where your pet likes to hang.1. Mow:Keep the grass short and yard neat to eliminate any patches or leaf piles.2. Water:Fleas drown, so hose down any flea-prone spots (shady areas, your pet’s favorite spots, etc) with water every few days.3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE):DE can be applied outdoors. Simply dust over shady spots (using an old sock or glove) once a month or as needed. Let the dust settle out of the air. Once clear, continue play as usual.4. Beneficial Nematodes (BN):These little microscopic ninjas seek out and feast on garden-borne pests (i.e. fleas). Like DE, BN are all-natural, chemical-free, safe for people and pets, and highly effective. Unlike DE, you don’t need to worry about inhaling them.Beneficial nematodes are often sold on a small sponge pad, which you soak in a gallon of water and spray over shady spots in your yard. Just be sure to use a dedicated lawn sprayer, as one previously used for pesticides could kill the little guys.5. Health:Fleas thrive on sickly animals. Take a peek at your dog’s food ingredients and make sure their immune system is strong.Consider adding supplements like kelp or fish oil to boost their skin & coat defenses to keep hungry pests at bay. Some of our favorites include Kelp Help (giant 1lb tub, packed minerals and micronutrients) and Fish Oil (all the natural Omega-3s of high end salmon oils, without the high end price tag).Natural Flea TreatmentYou've kept your yard neat and tidy, but your dog played with friends at the park who were kind enough to share their fleas. Now what?1. Bath & Comb Time:Fleas hate water, so use lots of it in tandem with a natural flea treatment shampoo. Comb them down with a fine-toothed flea comb paying special attention to the face, neck, stomach, and tail.Dip the comb in soapy water to kill any fleas you get off. Bathe no more than once every other week (over-bathing can dry out your pup’s skin), and groom with a flea comb daily.2. Vacuum:Vacuuming sucks up 30% of larvae, 60% of flea eggs, and much of the larvaes’ food supply. Be thorough: get under furniture, cushions, etc. and pay extra attention to high traffic areas and your pet’s favorite spots.Tip: Empty the vacuum bag contents into a plastic bag, freeze, and throw away, since fleas can live and reproduce unattended in the vacuum. As an added precaution, you can throw a chemical-based flea collar into the vacuum bag to kill any sucked up.3. Laundry:Wash your pet's bedding and any washable material with warm, soapy water. Immersion in water kills adult fleas and larvae.Tip: Cover your pet’s bedding and any favorite napping areas with a towel or blanket, and wash every 2-3 days.Furthermore, Tomlinson's Feed carries a variety of traditional and natural flea treatments.Traditional
If your pet has fleas, you can knock adult pests out with Capstar, an oral pill that kills adult fleas within 30 minutes.
Monthly topical medications like Advantage II, Frontline, Sentinel, and K9 Advantix are all options for flea and tick prevention.
If you prefer a gentler version or can't remember to apply monthly topical, Bayer's new Seresto collar releases low concentrations of flea-killing potions. As a result, it will protect your pet for up to 8 months.
*These products and more can be found at any of our 14 locations.Wondercide
If you prefer a more natural flea treatment, Wondercide products use organic, food-grade materials to protect pets, people, and property.
The active ingredient in Wondercide Flea & Tick products is cedar oil, which works by blocking octopamine--necessary to regulate heart rate, movement, and metabolism in “bad bugs” like fleas and ticks.
Use the EcoTreat formula, an insect control concentrate, to kill and repel countless pests, including fleas and ticks.
Other treatment and prevention kits for homes, apartments, people and pets are safe for use on all surfaces, plants and animals.
Finally, we're here for you. Visit us at one of our 14 locations to walk you through prevention and treatments while we provide a shoulder to lean on. Need natural flea treatment ASAP? Some of these products are available for delivery thanks to Instacart!Sources: Dog Owner's Guide, PetCareRX and Wondercide