How does my dog get fleas and ticks?

Fleas and ticks are in the environment. They either get them from being outside, they get them from another pet, or as humans, we can carry them inside to our dogs and cats.

 

Dr. Adam Stout
Cloverleaf Animal Hospital

 

Can fleas and ticks spread from my dog to my home and my family?

Yes. They can pick them up outside and carry them inside your house and your family. The fleas look for a nice warm body, and the ticks also do. So yes, they can carry them to the inside of the house. I've had several clients say that they found fleas and ticks in their house that most likely came in with the dog or cat.

Can my dog get fleas and ticks if they are primarily an indoor dog?

Absolutely. A lot depends on the environment, like if you have any yard and there's wildlife or stray animals around. All those animals have to do is walk through your yard, and those fleas and ticks drop off. Your dog goes outside just to use the bathroom, and the fleas and ticks feel that warm presence; they jump on them, and the dogs carry them inside. As an owner, when we go outside, if they're in the environment and they sense that warmth, they'll jump on the bottom of your pant legs or whatever, and you carry them right inside to your pets and family.

What health problems can fleas and ticks cause my dog?

With fleas, we're concerned about an overabundance or flea infestation on your dog or cat, which can cause severe anemia. They can cause severe flea bite dermatitis. Something as simple as flea bite dermatitis can lead to a severe skin infection. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis, diseases that humans can get.

How effective are flea and tick medications?

The products we use at Cloverleaf Animal Hospital are very effective and safe. Each one depends on your pet and their health, but the ones we use and recommend are very effective against both fleas and ticks.

What is the difference between over-the-counter and prescription flea and tick medications?

Over-the-counter flea and tick medication or any over-the-counter product is a product that you can go into Walmart or your local drug store and buy without a doctor's prescription. Prescription is something that is only sold through veterinarians. You have to come to the veterinary clinics, come to Cloverleaf Animal Hospital, and get your product. We can only sell it as veterinarians.

What different types of preventative treatments are there?

The preventatives out there are oral flea and tick preventatives, topical preventatives, and a couple of flea and tick collars that we've seen have been very effective. Here at Cloverleaf Animal Hospital, we use primarily oral and/or topicals.

What will my veterinarian recommend for flea and tick treatment?

It depends on your pet. Most of the time here at Cloverleaf, use an oral. We have a nice combination product that treats flea and tick, heartworm preventative, and intestinal parasite control. We use a topical flea and tick treatment for some of our cats. So it really depends on your pet and what you're comfortable with using as an owner.

How can I identify fleas on my dog?

A lot of times, you have to part the hair down to the skin or roll them over on their back and look at their bellies. It's a little black bug crawling around or jumping. You'll actually see fleas moving. Other times, you may not even see the fleas. You may see, what we call, flea dirt, which is their excrement. It's a dark, crumbly powder.

How can I identify ticks on my dog?

Ticks may be a little harder. It doesn't take too many ticks, and most of the time, depending on where you are, you may only have one or two ticks on your pet. Sometimes owners will see them as little things crawling around. Owners often find ticks that are attached and engorged. You're going to have this weird-looking colored cyst-like growth on your animal that has little legs attached to it.

What should I do if I see fleas or ticks on my dog?

The first thing you should do is call us here at Cloverleaf Animal Hospital or contact us and say, Hey, I found what I think is fleas on my dog or cat and/or a tick. Primarily with the ticks, we'd like to remove those ourselves. If they're embedded and attached, we want to ensure that we get the whole animal and its head when we remove them. So anytime an owner sees fleas or ticks or both on their pet, the best thing is to contact Cloverleaf Animal Hospital, and the team will guide you through what you need to do. And most likely, you'll have to make an appointment.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (330) 948-2002, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.