Ah, Spring. The birds have started chirping, the weather is getting nicer, the flowers are in bloom…and the fleas and ticks are coming out to play.

Ticks used to be found most commonly in the Southern United States, but the tick population is on the rise and they have started their migration north of the Mason Dixon line.

Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea, is most common flea species found in dogs and cats. Fleas can be found in any climate, but pets living in warmer temperatures and higher humidity areas are more susceptible to infestation. Fleas have 3 sets of legs that help them jump onto animals. Once the flea has found their new home on your dog or cat, the flea then bites the animal to get nutrients from the blood. For most dogs a flea bite will cause itching, but in more severe cases the saliva allergy can result in abrasions, hair loss and tapeworms. Flea infestation in puppies or smaller breed dogs can result in anemia and death.

Fleas and ticks are small in size, but pose a great health risk for our pets. Prevention is key in protecting your pets from these tiny pests. Even if you live in the drier climate regions, we still suggest talking to your veterinarian about flea and tick prevention. Your vet will be able to suggest a medication that works well for your pet’s size and weight and give you instructions for application. It’s important to follow your vet’s advice closely to protect the longterm health of your furry friend.

For more information, read this article on flea control.