Fleas and ticks are resilient creatures that can withstand extreme temperatures. But they are most active during warmer months and even more so in humid conditions. These pests flourish in Spring and Summer seasons, and are a great cause for concern in tropical climates such as Singapore. Flea and tick preventative treatments are must-haves here. Read on to learn the signs of flea and tick infestations early so that you can work on prevention!
Fleas & Ticks: What are those?
Fleas and ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of living organisms, and getting bitten by one can keep you up all night! Most of us don’t realise that we’ve been bitten by a mosquito until our skin starts to swell and itch. Similarly, it’s only after fleas and ticks begin their vampiric feeding that we start experiencing these bodily reactions.
Here’s a size comparison between a mosquito, flea and tick:
There are many different species of fleas and ticks, and different species carry different diseases. The most fleas species in Singapore are the Cat Fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and Dog Fleas (Ctenocephalides canis), while the most common type of tick is the Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). Despite their names, they can be found on other mammals, not just cats and dogs.
How harmful are they?
Here are some diseases fleas and ticks can transmit through their bites:
In some cases, flea bites can trigger allergic reactions in your pets, causing them to itch. This can be life threatening for the sick, young or senior pets due to their weaker immune system, increasing the likelihood of them developing health complications from parasitic bites! Prevention is definitely better than cure, so let’s learn to identify the signs before it’s too late!
DID YOU KNOW?
Both fleas and ticks become engorged during feeding, being capable of taking in blood that is equivalent to 15 times of their body weight.
Keep Fleas and Ticks away!
Prevention is definitely better than cure, as it can take months to rid your pet of fleas and ticks. The average lifespan of fleas is around 2 to 3 months and ticks can survive up to 5 months without feeding! They also multiply rapidly, with fleas laying 40-50 eggs and ticks laying 4000 eggs on average.
So what should you do in Singapore, where the climate is ideal for these nasty buggers? Start by keeping the living environment clean, especially fabrics or dark places such as crevices on floors.
You can also wear a flea and tick collar to repel these pests, and incorporate a flea comb into your pets’ grooming routine and check their coats for parasites and any remnants that may indicate an infestation. You may also give your pets flea and tick topical treatment regularly to reduce the chances of an infestation.
Learn the Signs of Flea & Tick Infestation
Sometimes, despite all our efforts to keep them away, the nasty buggers can still make a breakthrough. Look out for these common signs if you suspect your pet has been infested:
Scratching or biting their skin more than usual
Patches of hair loss
Black specks (aka flea droppings) on your pet’s fur
Bumps on pet’s body
Sometimes, the parasite infestation is accompanied by other symptoms such as,:
Loss of muscular control
Sudden weight loss
If you notice any sudden changes in behaviour from your pets, you should bring them to your regular veterinarian immediately for professional advice and diagnosis.
I Caught a Flea or Tick! What now?
So dreadfully, you caught a flea or tick during a grooming session. What should we do to remove these tiny vampires?
Fleas and ticks can easily be removed and crushed using our bare fingers, but follow the steps below to avoid leaving the tick’s mouth in their bodies.
Before removing a tick, prepare a pair of tweezers and disinfectant or antiseptic cream.
Grasp the tick with the tweezer
Pull upwards in a straight, steady motion. Check to ensure that the tick’s mouth is not left behind as that can lead to infection.
Either crush the tick, or drop it into isopropyl alcohol or boiling water
Apply antiseptic to the wound
Disinfect your tweezers after use
Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention
Manual removal by the hand is not sufficient in the case of an infestation, as the bugs would have laid their eggs in the fur and skin of your pet. Typically, these infestations are treated through topical or oral medication. Topical (‘spot-on treatments) and oral medications (chewables or pills) focus on treating active infestations and preventing infestations in the future.
Oral medications that target fleas and ticks can usually only be obtained with a prescription, and only used in the event of an infestation. These medications can have side effects on your pet’s gastrointestinal health, especially if they have sensitive stomachs. If your pet starts to vomit or have diarrhoea after being given oral medication, you may want to switch to topical medication instead!
Most topical medications do not require prescription and can be easily purchased from the pet store. The application of topical treatments is easy and convenient, with each dosage offering a month's protection against these nasty pests.
When applying topical flea and tick treatment on your furkids:
Avoid rinsing your pets 24 hours after application
If there are other pets in the house, separate them as they may accidentally ingest the medication when grooming their furry counterparts, some of which may be toxic
Ensure that you purchase and administer the correct dose as they are determined by your pet’s weight
Tackling an ongoing infestation may not be an easy feat and the recovery process can be painful and itchy for our pets, which is why Himalaya Furglow Oral Conditioner comes in handy! It contains ingredients that aid in the recovery from flaky skin and dandruff, while also promoting hair growth. Perfect for furbabies recovering from infestations!
Flea and tick collars are popular choices for flea and tick prevention, due to their low cost and convenience. Compared to oral and topical treatments, collars are more long-lasting and can last around 7 to 8 months.
You can choose between repellent and medicated collars which work against the pests in different ways. Repellent collars emit gas that deters fleas and ticks from biting your pets, whereas medicated collars contain medication that gets distributed to other parts of our pet’s body through natural skin oils. Flea and tick collars are cheap and effective solutions that offer the most protection against fleas and ticks near the head and neck region. They do however, give minimal protection to the rest of the body.
The consequences of a tick or flea infestation can be at best a nuisance, but at worse, dangerous for your pet. Thankfully, with the whole host of preventive and treatment options available, we are not at the mercy of these bloodsuckers. Implementing preventive measure could be one of the best investments you can make for your pet!
If you’re looking to buy a collar for prevention, you can give CatanDog’s Pet Tag a try. Charged with special electromagnetic scalar waves, they help repel parasites from your pets. Each tag can last up to 2 years before replacement and can be used with your favourite dog and cat collars. If you’re keen, check out this exclusive time-limited offer: You get a free bottle of Himalaya Furglow with every CatanDog Pet Tag purchased!