How does my dog get fleas and ticks?

Fleas and ticks are found in the environment. They live in the soil, sand, grass, trees, and brush, so primarily outdoor environments are where your pet is going to pick fleas and ticks up from.

Dr. Cara Bankson
Vets of East Texas

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

Yes. Fleas and ticks can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, and they can be laid anywhere: on your couch, carpet, and places where your pet sleeps. Fleas and ticks can also jump to a human. While fleas don't typically live on humans, ticks can bite humans and transmit diseases. So yes, fleas and ticks can be brought into the home and onto you or your other pets.

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

Yes. It is a myth that if your pet is only inside, it can't get fleas and ticks. Most of the time, our pets still go outside to go to the bathroom, visit the veterinarian, or go to the pet store. These are all outside areas where pets are exposed to potential fleas and ticks.

What is the difference between over-the-counter prescription flea and tick medications, and how effective are they?

Over-the-counter flea and tick medications don't always have the same ingredients or the same percentage of those ingredients as prescription preventatives. Cats can be particularly sensitive to some of these medications, which can cause problems if administered incorrectly. Prescription products are generally more effective. Over-the-counter products are less effective due to their lower strength and sometimes different medications.

What different types of flea and tick preventative treatments are there?

There are three classes of preventatives and treatment options: oral, topical, and collar. Oral preventatives, administered by mouth, typically last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, depending on the product.

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

If you see fleas or ticks on your pet, take them to the veterinarian. They can provide preventatives, treat any present infections, and remove any embedded ticks.

How can I keep my dog from getting fleas and ticks?

Keeping them on year-round prevention is crucial. You can also treat your environment, such as the yard and areas where your pet stays, both indoors and outdoors. Consult an exterminator who uses pet-safe products.

Are there any vaccines for tick-borne diseases?

There is a vaccine for Lyme disease, but it is rare in some areas. There are no vaccines for the other two tick-borne diseases or for flea prevention.

Will fleas and ticks resolve on their own?

No, because your dog serves as a host, feeding the fleas and ticks. Treatment of the pet and often the environment is necessary to eliminate them.

How do vets find fleas on dogs?

Vets use examinations and sometimes flea combs to identify fleas and ticks. Flea dirt, which is flea defecation, can also indicate an infestation.

If one pet in the household has fleas, will the others get them?

Most of the time, yes. If one pet has fleas, the others likely do too. It is recommended to treat all pets in the home to resolve the infestation.

How long will it take to get a flea problem under control?

It generally takes about three months of diligent and consistent work, including frequent vacuuming, keeping pets on prevention, and treating the yard.

Can my dog still get fleas and ticks in the winter?

Yes, it is important to keep your pet on flea and tick prevention year-round. The cold in many areas is not sufficient to kill all fleas and ticks.

What factors can increase my dog's risk of getting fleas and ticks?

Keeping grass cut regularly, clearing underbrush, and treating your yard can help prevent your pet from getting fleas and ticks.

Is there a test to diagnose tick-borne diseases?

Yes, there is a blood test that can diagnose three tick-borne diseases and heartworm disease. This in-house test provides immediate results for treatment decisions.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call at (903) 459-4582. You can also email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. Don't forget to follow us on social media: Facebook and Instagram