With warm weather comes the necessity to protect your pet from fleas & ticks.  Fleas and ticks are both technically external parasites.  Infestations can be more than just an inconvenience - they can actually be harmful to your pet's health.

If your pet is allergic to flea saliva, it can cause extreme pruritus (itchiness) that can lead to discomfort, hair loss, and secondary skin infections.  Severe flea infestations can even cause life-threatening blood loss in small, very young or very old pets.  Fleas can also carry microscopic parasites that cause even more diseases.  Flea larvae can eat tapeworm eggs and carry them in their bodies until adulthood.  When dogs or cats eat a flea from licking or chewing an itchy spot, they actually ingest these eggs and are then infected with tapeworm.  Tapeworms can cause trauma to the small intestine and steal vital nutrients away from your pet.  This can also lead to weight loss and malnutrition.  Fleas can also transmit bacteria through bites, such as Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever) and the bubonic plaque.

Lyme disease in not the only disease ticks spread.  Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis are two other tick-borne diseases.  Keep in mind that humans can get tapeworm, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis.  So, if you are seeing fleas and/or ticks in your home or on your pet, you and your family are at risk, too.

Here are some helpful hints to keep your pets safe and comfortable:

* Outdoor kennels and dog houses are breeding grounds for fleas and ticks.  Clean on a regular basis to help control larvae, eggs, and kill fleas.  Ask your vet for a list of pet-safe insecticides to use in cleaning these areas.

* When walking your dog, stick to areas where trees, grass and bushes or shrubs are well trimmed.

* Keep your own back yard well-manicured.  Fence off any garden areas to limit the access your pet may have to them.

* Keep garbage and refuse areas as clean as possible, and garbage cans tightly sealed.  These areas attract wild animals that carry fleas and ticks.

* There are many monthly preventatives to choose from in several forms.  Powder, pills, drops, and shampoo are the most common.  Be aware that many of these products are manufactured specifically for dogs OR cats - do not try to mix and match them, as they can be harmful to pets for which they are not intended.

* Regular flea & tick baths are a great preventative measure.

* Regular grooming can also help you to spot fleas and ticks sooner rather than later.  

* Look for a pet-safe product to treat your yard.  many lawn treatments cover more than just fleas and ticks.  Mosquitoes, gnats, and flies are also covered under many yard-spray products. 

The Scoop Feed & Supply carries many flea & tick prevention products:

- Nutri Vet Defense Plus for dogs: Kills fleas, ticks, mites, lice, misquitoes, and all eggs and larvae. (3 month supply per box)

- Zodiac Spot-On for cats: Kills fleas, deer ticks, mosquitoes, and flea eggs. (4 month supply per box)

- Zodiac Home Fogger: Kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, ticks, mosquitoes, house flies, ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and spiders.  Treats up to 1,125 square feet. This product also prevents flea re-infestation for up to 7 months.

- Espree Flea & Tick Shampoo for cats and dogs.

- Adams Yard Spray: Kills fleas, ticks, ants, hornets/wasps, roaches, mites, flies, mosquitoes, and spiders.  32 oz. concentrate makes 36 gallons of spray and treats up to 6,000 square feet.