Dog Flea and Tick - Handling Fleas And Ticks In Your Dog

What are some problems you see come up with flea and tick bites and/or infestations?

The main problems with fleas include if your dog is allergic to flea saliva because they can be itchy for two weeks from one single bite. That can cause Bioderma and a lot of skin problems and skin infections. Fleas transmit tapeworm. One of the life cycles of the tapeworm is inside the flea. So when the dogs lick themselves and they eat the flea, they get tapeworms. It's very important to prevent that. Ticks transmit multiple tick-borne diseases, and the bacteria that they transmit can cause polyarthritis in dogs, which means arthritis in multiple joints, which can cause other problems.

Dr. Odet Kaspari-Chiriboga
Hillcrest Pet Hospital

As my vet, what do you recommend for fleas and ticks?

Here at this hospital, we use Bravecto, which is used every three months for fleas and ticks. People like it because you only have to worry about it once every three months, but also you have to remember that you have to give it every three months. Some people feel more comfortable with the monthly preventatives. NexGard works really well. There are also Comfortis on the market, which is only for fleas and not ticks. If you like something that is in combination with heartworm preventative, here, we use Sentinel, but you could get Simparica trio which has all three in one pill.

How can I identify fleas on my dog?

Fleas are tricky. They have a tendency to hide from you. One way is to really diligently look for them, and if you have an infestation, you will see the fleas themselves. But a lot of times, you see the flea dirt before you see the fleas themselves. And the way you can tell the difference between regular dirt and flea dirt is to take a piece of it and just put it underwater. If it turns red, you know you're dealing with flea poop.

How do I identify ticks on my dog?

Ticks are more easily seen, especially if they have latched on. So it's just about being diligent when searching your dog, especially after hiking. Where we are, in the mountainous area, the backyards are full of ticks. So just diligent searching your dogs will reveal any ticks.

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

Contact us immediately, and we will supply you with everything that you need to get rid of the critters.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (818) 249-2092, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Flea and Tick - FAQs

Dr. Odet Kaspari-Chiriboga
Hillcrest Pet Hospital

What are some different types of flea and tick preventions that you recommend?

There are a lot of products on the market these days. They're the topicals, the collars, and there are the oral ones, which are in pill and chewable form. There are many types.

How do I know what the best prevention is for my dog?

Some people claim that the topical preventatives don't work as well anymore because they've been on the market for so many years that the fleas may have become resistant to them. People love the oral ones because it's really easy to give with food. You give them a chewable tablet, so you give them like a treat, and dogs do really well with them. The side effects are less too.

Since we're in California, is flea prevention needed year-round?

Yes, unfortunately, because we have such beautiful weather here and we have a warmer climate, and that's why most people like to come and visit us and stay here. We do have fleas and ticks all year round. So yes, the preventatives are needed.

How do I control fleas and ticks in my dog's environment?

The fact that you're using the flea preventative on a regular basis will help after two or three cycles. Regular use will control the environment, but because we take our dogs in and out all the time, there may be fleas that get on them when they come back from their walk, and they can be deposited back into the environment. So we recommend you treat the house. Sometimes there are sprays and powders that you can apply that can help you with controlling the environment and control those hitchhiker fleas. That's what we were talking about.

Are there any vaccines for fleas and tick-borne diseases?

The one vaccine that I know of is the Lyme vaccine for tick-borne diseases. That's the one that is used, but I believe that's the only vaccine available right now for tick-borne diseases.

Do fleas will fleas and ticks resolve on their own?

Unfortunately, they won't because they're opportunistic and they like to stay. If they like the host, they will stick around for a long time. Imagine every flea lays about 50 eggs a day. Those eggs will hatch, more eggs are laid, and more fleas are created. So unless we actively seek to prevent them or get rid of the ones that are there, then, unfortunately, they will stick around for a long time.

Are there any home remedies to prevent fleas and ticks?

There are some. There is the Diatomaceous Earth that people use or have even heard of apple cider vinegar combinations, garlic oil, and clove oil. It helps in some cases, and in most cases, it does not, based on what people have reported, because fleas and ticks are so sturdy, and it's not easy to kill them. It works better when you use something stronger.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (818) 249-2092, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.