It’s not just us humans and our pets who enjoy the summer months: parasites like to come out to play too! Although these pests are around throughout the year, they up their game in warmer weather. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your pet protected.
What parasites is my pet at risk of picking up?
Introducing the not-so-pawesome foursome: fleas, worms, ticks and lice. We’re here to give you the lowdown on each culprit and the steps you can take to protect your pet against them.
The parasite most pet parents think of when they notice their dog or cat scratching more than usual, particularly around their hind or belly.
Female fleas reproduce all year round, but especially from June – September. A lady flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, so within 60 days you can have up to 20,000 fleas on your hands (and paws). And for every 5% of fleas on your pet, the other 95% are living around your home, mostly in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae.
If you’re thinking “I have an indoor pet, I don’t need to worry about fleas”, think again! Pesky fleas can hitchhike into your home on your clothing, so even indoor-only pets can still be at risk.
How to get rid of fleas
A monthly spot-on treatment, such as Itch Flea, is an easy way to stop fleas in their tracks. Fleas that have hopped onto a pet treated with Itch Flea die within 24 hours. They might go hyperactive during this time – this just means the treatment is working. Itch Flea’s double-action formula also stops flea eggs and larvae developing too, so no new fleas can join the party. Not all flea treatments do this though, so it’s worth double-checking the credentials of whichever solution you’re using!
There are different types of worms which can affect our pets, the most common in the UK being roundworms and tapeworms.
Roundworms are spaghetti-like in appearance and pets can become infested with them after ingesting contaminated faeces or soil, or eating another infected animal such as a rodent.
Tapeworms look like rice when excreted. They have a segmented body with suckers and hooks to help them attach to the lining of the small intestine. The segmented parts of the tapeworm body often separate, and it’s these segments that you might see around your pet’s bottom or in their faeces. A major route of tapeworm infection is via fleas – if your pet eats a flea that’s carrying a tapeworm, this can cause them to become infected.
Symptoms of worms include:
- Vomiting – worms may be visible in their sick
- Bloated tummy
- Lethargy, increased appetite and weight loss
- Diarrhoea with blood
- Itchy bottom and scooting (dragging their bottom along the ground)
How to get rid of worms
If you suspect your pet may have worms, discuss this with your vet who will be able to provide a worming treatment to help eliminate the infestation. Our furry friends should be routinely wormed to prevent an infestation establishing itself in the first place. Pet owners can add Itch Worm to their monthly parasite protection pack to keep their pet safe from worms.
Ticks are 8-legged parasites that start off small, only being a few millimetres in diameter and brown in colour. As they feed, they can grow up to a centimetre in size and turn grey in colour.
Ticks have perfected the art of hitchhiking. They climb to the ends of long pieces of vegetation and wave their legs around (a behaviour known as ‘questing’). When a pet brushes past, the tick clings on. Once attached, it will remain firmly in place while it gets its fill of blood. As well as the initial irritation of a tick bite, ticks can transmit diseases to our pets during feeding.
It’s a good idea to check your pet for ticks daily. Top sites for ticks include your pet’s head, neck, ears, groin, armpits and between the toes. Ticks tend to prefer areas that are dark, warm, have less hair and where the skin is thinner.
How to get rid of ticks
The safest way to remove a tick is by using a purpose-designed tick hook. If you pull at a tick, you risk separating the body from the head, which will remain embedded and leave your pet at risk of developing an abscess. A tick hook helps to remove the entire tick.
A year-round tick preventative treatment is an excellent way to keep your pet safe from ticks and their harmful effects. The good news is tick protection is already included in Itch Flea! Itch Flea will kill pesky ticks within 48 hours.
Lice are wingless parasites that can be divided into two camps: chewing lice and sucking lice. Louse infestations aren’t as common as some other parasite infestations, and they’re more likely to affect vulnerable pets (due to age or health) and those kept in poor conditions. Lice can be very irritating to our pets and can even transmit other diseases.
How to get rid of lice
If you think your dog or cat may have lice, follow up with your vet who will be able to recommend a plan of treatment. This is likely to include insecticide medication (shampoo, spray or spot-on). Pet owners using Itch Flea can breathe a sigh of relief – any lice that land on your pet will be killed within 48 hours.
Say ‘so long’ to parasites with Itch!
Itch provides a winning combination of pet health and well-being products. We’re proud pest-killing experts, offering highly effective parasite treatments, developed with vets and backed by science. Never miss a treatment for your pet again – we automatically deliver to your front door each month, exactly when you need it.
Sign up today and get your first month FREE at itchpet.com