While typically associated with the long summer months here in South Africa, there is in fact risk of tick and flea bites on your animals almost all year round. That’s why it is absolutely critical that you put into place a stringent tick and flea control program to help keep your pet happy and healthy. Today Ou Kaapse Vet looks at how to do just this.
Start with the animal
Obviously, an effective program of prevention starts with the animal themselves. There is a host of tick and flea management options open to you, and which you choose to use is up to you. ‘Top spot’ style ampules are probably the most convenient to apply and use, needing you only to dot the product onto the skin behind the neck [so it cannot be licked off] on the suggested schedule. Protection typically lasts a month. There is also internal tablets now available on the market offering a longer treatment period.
Older methods of tick and flea control include sprays, dips, powders and flea collars. While these can be effective, they do not have the swift and decisive killing action of a veterinary product, and will still leave your animal more likely to pick up pests. It’s better to use these only in the event of a suspected infestation or dangerous environment, and opt for a veterinary-approved product as your primary avenue of attack.
Don’t forget the environment
Treating your animal only will not be enough, however, especially for fleas. Invest in a high quality bedding spray to ensure no pests make it into your home environment. Regular washing in hot water, as well as vacuuming, will also help with tick and flea management and are critical in fighting infestation should one occur. If you suspect a serious issue, you may need to treat your garden with a specialised product too.
There is a lot you can do to ensure your pets are not exposed to these pests in the first place. Don’t walk dogs through long grass, especially in the summer months, and try and ensure their play area is free from long grass too. Regularly brush your dogs and keep an eye on their coat to ensure you spot infestations as they occur rather than allowing pests to multiply.
Lastly, please do be aware that many products which are suitable for dogs cannot be used on cats, so please speak to the Ou Kaapse Vet team to pick a product that’s safe for your animal, effective and suits your lifestyle.