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Queens Chronicle

It’s Flea and Tick Season: Tips to Protect Pets

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Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 4:33 am, Mon Mar 31, 2014.

(StatePoint) Protecting dogs from fleas and ticks is an important part of responsible pet care and this season shines a light on the prevention of Lyme disease in dogs. Distressing and harmful for your pet, parasites can cause diseases that affect you and your family.

Flea bites can cause skin disorders, infections and allergies, and spread tapeworms. And bacteria spread from infected tick bites can cause Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs and cats.

Lyme disease is characterized by lameness, swollen joints and fever. Ticks carrying Lyme disease don’t discriminate, so it is imperative to take a proactive stance in protecting not only your pet, but your family from this debilitating disease.

Whether you suspect your pet is besieged by pests or you wish to prevent the problem in the first place, experts identify three clear steps to take -- treating your pet, treating your home and treating your yard -- in that order.

“The fleas and ticks on your dog are a small component of your concern,” says Caryn Stichler, vice president of marketing at Sergeants Pet Care Products. “Fleas and their eggs can live outside in grass, soil and crevices in sidewalks, and inside on rugs, carpets, floor cracks and bedding. Treat your pet first and foremost and then the animal’s environment.”

Fleas and ticks multiply at an alarming rate. So act quickly this flea and tick season:

Treat the Pet

The first step is to apply a preventative treatment on your dog, such as PetArmor Plus IGR. PetArmor Plus IGR contains fipronil, the number one vet-recommended active ingredient that kills fleas, ticks, chewing lice -- helping to keep Lyme disease-carrying ticks at bay. It also contains an Insect Growth Regulator that kills flea eggs and stops the reinfestation cycle. The topical can be found at grocery, mass and drug retailers nationwide. More information can be found at www.PetArmor.com.

Treat the Home

“Washing pet bedding, vacuuming carpets and treating with household insecticide sprays, powders and foggers are good first steps to ridding your home of fleas and preventing infestations,” says Stichler.

Use a spray that’s pet friendly and designed to reach the hiding places of fleas -- rugs, carpets, drapes and upholstery.

Treat the Yard

Your yard should be a safe zone for pets to play, not a place to pick up parasites. Ticks, which are usually dark brown or black, have pincers and can be spotted by the naked eye. Fleas are tiny, brown insects and can be difficult to spot.

So inspect your yard wearing a pair of long white socks. Secure the infested socks in a plastic bag and throw them away. Now spray your yard and around the foundation of your home to kill flea populations lurking outside.

When it comes to the health of your pet and your family, be proactive. Clean your pet, home and yard regularly and use treatments year round to kill pests and prevent infestation.

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Photo Credit: (c) Pattie - Fotolia.com

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