Ticks or fleas?
If you’re new to taking care of a furry friend, the first few times you hear about ticks and fleas, the two may seem similar or confusing, even. But while they are both blood-dependent parasites, ticks are a lot more visible and easy to pick out!
These insects can hitch a ride on you or your pets, and enjoy a field day with a 24/7 nutritious buffet right at their feet! Ticks especially, are most commonly found in our hot humid climate. (In Singapore, the Brown Dog Tick is more prevalent.) They make you feel squeamish, and for good reason, while they cause flea allergy dermatitis in dogs/cats (rash, loss of fur), they still carry a mild risk of carrying diseases such as Lyme disease (rare, but a possibility, carried by ticks with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria), or cat-scratch fever (swollen lymph nodes), or others. Maintaining hygiene and immediate tick and flea removal is always the best option to stay safe.
Usually found in grassy areas, ticks usually attach themselves in tough places for animals to groom, to efficiently hide away in safety. They might also find small corners in your home to hide! Regular cleaning of these hidden nooks and dusty corners would serve well in reducing the chances of ticks remaining in your home if your dog is unlucky enough to bring some home.
In hot and humid weather, remember to check your dogs for ticks especially when going to new environments, and when high contact with grass is made. (e.g; rolling around in grass) If you live on landed property, scheduling regular grass cutting is important to reduce the chances of ticks making a home for themselves in your very own garden.
Tick removal can be conducted at home safely, with the use of tweezers (to reduce direct contact with ticks) to pull an attached tick upwards. The tick can then be killed by wrapping it in tape (to avoid crushing it and subsequently releasing more bacteria) – as noted by the CDC.
However, if you believe your pet does have fleas, do pop down to your veterinarian to get advice on proper medications to protect them! Scarily, for every adult flea you find on your pet, there may be a hundred or more younger ones hiding away unhatched within his/her fur, according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Medications such as Frontline Plus (skin-only), or Revolution (selamectin), can be used to eliminate adult fleas, as well as to halt egg hatching.
Unfortunately, also according to UC Davis, other anti-flea products may have limited effectiveness, especially as stuff like flea shampoos only kill the adult fleas, and have no effect on hidden and leftover eggs, leaving subsequent reinfestations likely.
With that, do remember to take extra precautions for the well-being of your favourite furry friend, especially with the humid weather we have nowadays! 🙂