April 10, 2013
As a pet owner, you know it is important to provide your pet with regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and lots of love and affection. But you also have a responsibility to protect your pet from health risks, such as those posed by pests.Â Ticks and fleas can make your pets â€” and you â€” sick and can lead to infestations in your home.
Ticks can be especially dangerous for pets, including animals that spend any amount of time outdoors, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses. As with humans, black legged deer ticks, which are most common in the Northeastern U.S. can transmit Lyme disease to some pets. In dogs, symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, decreased appetite, swollen, painful joints, lameness or limping, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes. In serious cases, pets with Lyme disease can develop kidney disease.
In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can also cause “tick paralysis” in pets. Tick paralysis occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord, causing muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses, are more susceptible to ticks. However, other animals can carry ticks into yards, allowing pets to pick them up without ever leaving your property. Ticks can then hitch a ride into your home on your pet, where they can bite humans and other pets.
Fleas are another common pest that can affect pets, especially cats and dogs. The most common species of fleas plaguing American homes and their domestic animals is the cat flea. Their bites can cause itchy, red bumps that lead to excessive scratching. Fleas can also cause conditions such as anemia and flea allergy dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms.
Adult fleas lay their eggs on their host, where they hatch and reproduce. Eggs can also roll off onto nearby surfaces such as carpets, couches, pet bedding, and anywhere else that a family pet has access to and particularly likes to lay.Â Fleas can be particularly hard to find since they are so small and move very fast along the surface of the skin.Â In addition to being hard to find, they breed fast. One adult flea can lay as many as 20 eggs per day, and the eggs typically hatch within 2 to 14 days. As a result, a flea infestation can grow quickly. A large infestation of fleas can be difficult and time consuming to eradicate. A flea infestation in your home should always be left to Pest Ops to handle. Our team of trained professionals has the knowledge, tools, and experience to treat the infestation safely and effectively.
Of course, the best way to protect your pets and your home from common household pests is to prevent an infestation before it ever happens. Luckily, there are many steps pet owners can take to protect their pets from pests like fleas and ticks:
- After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly.Â Brush their coat to remove any debris or insects. Be especially vigilant if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses, where pests thrive.
- Bathe dogs regularly, using a shampoo that can kill pests.
- Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks or red, itchy skin. Excessive scratching is a good indicator that they have skin irritations.
- If your pet has long hair, consider having them groomed in the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are most prevalent. Not only will this help to prevent insects from latching onto their long hair and help you to spot any that do, it will also help to keep your pet cool during the warmest time of the year.
- Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet.
- If you notice a change in your animal’s behavior, such as lack of appetite or decrease in energy, take them to your veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of Lyme disease or other health issue caused by pests.
- Wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls, and sleeping areas on a regular basis.
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free to deter pest infestations and make it easy to spot any pests that do find their way indoors. Vacuum frequently and wash linens on a regular basis.
- Keep your lawn cut short and gardens well maintained to prevent breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses.
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to extract the head and mouth parts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the consult of a veterinarian.
By following these tips and keeping your pet and your home pest free, you’ll help ensure that your pet has many happy, healthy years ahead of them.
If you suspect your home is infested with ticks or fleas, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
April 3, 2013
When temperatures rise, families â€” including pets â€” flock outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that fleas can cause significant health and property threats for homeowners and their pets.
Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded bodies and have an extraordinary ability to jump, allowing them to move easily once inside a property.
Although closely associated with pets, as flea saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis, and transfer tapeworms, these pests can cause significant problems for homeowners as well. Fleas often infest blankets, furniture, and even clothing, while also reproducing quickly, especially when warm-blooded hosts are present. Even more, the presence of fleas â€” if not brought in from the outdoors â€” can be indicative of a secondary pest problem as these pests frequently transport themselves on rodents.
“Fleas can pose serious threats to both health and property and as such, it is imperative that homeowners â€” and pet owners â€” be vigilant of these pests,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “These parasites have the keen ability to infest and reproduce quickly, which makes them difficult to eradicate. If you experience a flea infestation, it is essential to address the problem in a timely, professional manner.”
The NPMA offers homeowners the following tips to help protect their pets from flea infestations during the spring season:
- Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outdoors. Be aware of any excessive scratching, licking, or grooming behavior.
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where fleas often gather.
- Treat your pet’s environment: Wash pet bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently.
- Check your pet (and yourself) thoroughly after you have been in known or potential flea-infested areas.
If you suspect a flea infestation, contact Pest Ops to rid your property of these unwanted pests and prevent future infestations. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
August 6, 2012
If you’re itching to rid your home of fleas, you may want to heed some expert advice. The first thing you should know is that it’s important to act fast. Infestations pop up quickly and can be very difficult to control once inside the home, says the National Pest Management Association.
Fleas are hungry parasites that feed on any warm-blooded body, so it’s easy for pets to bring them inside and spread them throughout the house â€” where they can then turn you into supper. It’s not healthy to live in a house with fleas; these pests have been known to transmit fatal diseases like the bubonic plague and the bacterial disease, murine typhus. However, it is more common for pets and people alike to suffer an allergic reaction to flea saliva, which can cause painful, itchy bumps on the skin.
Here are some flea-fighting tips from the National Pest Management Association:
â€¢ Keep your lawn groomed. Untended lawns provide hiding spots and food sources for rodents and other animals that fleas feed on.
â€¢ Fleas can hitch rides on rodents. If you notice a rodent problem on your property, fleas are just one more reason to call a licensed pest professional immediately to remedy the problem.
â€¢ Keep pets leashed while outside. Bathe and groom your pets regularly and use flea treatments as recommended by your veterinarian.
â€¢ Clean and vacuum your home frequently to help remove fleas.
â€¢ Getting rid of adult fleas alone will not solve your problem.
If you find adult fleas, then there may also be hundreds of eggs in your home. These eggs can take seven to 14 days to hatch and the infestation cycle will continue. Pest Ops can rid your home of both adult fleas and larvae. To schedule an appointment or inspection with Pest Ops, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
Summer is the prime time for pet pests such as fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. Although animals tend to view pests as merely annoyances, they can pose substantial health risks to both the pets and their owners, warns the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
“These pests are known to transmit some potentially serious diseases like West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease to animals and their human family,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Dogs can also contract heartworms and disease through mosquito bites â€” an expensive illness to treat if it’s not detected early.”
Another major concern is property infestation. Pet pests can breed quickly and are difficult to locate once inside the home. “Fleas and ticks typically remain on the warm-blooded host. Yet, flea eggs roll off the host and hatch in carpets, furniture, and bedding,” says Henriksen. “The small size and mobility of these pests make them hard to eradicate without the help of a pest professional once inside the home.”
NPMA offers the following tips for pet owners during the summer months:
â€¢ Check your pet frequently for fleas, flea dirt, and ticks, especially after the animal has been outside. Keep an eye out for excessive scratching, licking, and nibbling grooming behavior in your pet.
â€¢ Avoid walking pets in tall grass where there is a greater chance of fleas and ticks hitching a ride.
â€¢ Eliminate sources of standing water in the yard, as these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
â€¢ Talk with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to pets and inquire about heartworm protection.
â€¢ Treat the animal’s environment. Wash pet bedding and plush toys and vacuum carpets frequently.
If you are concerned about your home and pets, contact Pest Ops to help prevent or treat infestations. To schedule an appointment or inspection with Pest Ops, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.