Ticks and fleas are two types of parasites that commonly infect cats and dogs. They bite and suck blood from their hosts, as well as transmit diseases. The sight of one of these bloodthirsty insects latched onto your pet’s skin sends shivers down your spine.
Fleas and ticks are more common during the warmer months, but you can protect yourself from them at any time of year. The soft, warm fur of dogs and cats creates an ideal environment for fleas and ticks. These insects feed on your pet’s blood and can cause a variety of health issues, from allergic reactions to serious tick-borne illnesses.
What is the major difference between Ticks and Fleas?
Appearance: Ticks can grow up to 1/4″ in length and gain weight as they feed on the blood of their hosts. Ticks and fleas are both dark brown, but ticks have more colour variation on their bodies than fleas.
Disease: Ticks can transmit diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and Bourbon fever, which can be fatal. Some specific ticks can pass on tick-borne encephalitis.
Detection: Ticks are more difficult to locate because they prefer to hide on the scalp or under clothing.
Appearance: Fleas are small, coming in between 1/16” and 1/8” long, and almost invisible to the naked eye. They are blackish-brown specks, smaller than ticks and they jump very quickly and high. To test if your dog has fleas, place the flea dirt on a wet kitchen tissue and you’ll see it leaving red stains.
Disease: Fleas are less known to spread disease, but they can bring tapeworm, bartonellosis, typhus, cat-scratch disease, and even the plague to pets and/or humans.
Detection: The first sign of fleas is usually a scratching pet, and it progresses from there.
Symptoms that indicate your pet has ticks and fleas:
- Red spots on your dog’s skin may be from tick or flea bites
- Symptoms of flea faeces
- Spotting a tick anywhere in your home (yes, even a single one) (yes, even a single one)
- Rashes or bumps (some dogs are allergic to tick bites)
- A lot of itchiness and scratching around the head and ears
These abundant insects cause painful, irritating bites and can also carry and transmit diseases. While they have a lot of similarities, including treatments, they have different appearances, habits, and life cycles.
Prevention for ticks and fleas:
Prevention is always much easier than cure when it comes to protecting your dog from fleas and ticks. Flea and tick prevention can be done in a variety of ways. We’ll be happy to prescribe a treatment during your pet’s wellness exam, once we’ve ruled out the possibility of parasites. Even if your dog is already receiving prophylactic parasite treatment, there are additional steps you can take to keep your pet safe from fleas and ticks.