When we share our homes with cats and dogs, we often find ourselves sharing our homes with much less cuddly critters. Fleas and ticks make everybody squeamish, and rightfully so! These pests are notorious for spreading diseases, causing allergies, and just being generally terrible nuisances. In the Midwest, they are especially problematic in the summertime, when the climate supports their life cycles and there is plenty of lush vegetation for them to lay in wait.

Taking preventative measures are the best way to protect our pets, and ourselves, from infestations and the problems that can arise from them. Talk to your vet about what kind of topical or oral pest preventative medications might be best for your dogs and cats, be vigilant and observant when grooming them, and watch for tell-tale signs like scratching, flea “dirt”, and any changes in your pet’s behavior.

Unfortunately, ticks can be difficult to detect, as they can often be very small. They also release an analgesic at the sight of the bite, so that no itching or discomfort occurs. Often, attached ticks aren’t noticeable until they are 

well fed and bloated. Upon finding an attached tick, the sooner it is removed, the better! If the head is detached during removal, there is a higher risk of infectious body fluids entering the skin and causing problems.

Convenient devices like the Tick Key, which we carry here at Dog Day Afternoon, easily and safely remove ticks from pets and people. Attach it to your keyring or dog’s collar, or slip it into a wallet or purse to have it handy at all times. After camping or even just visiting the local park, make sure you thoroughly go through your dog’s coat with a comb to check for ticks when you get home!

Fleas, on the other hand, are not quite so stealthy. Though they can be difficult to spot right away on a dog or cat with dark or dense coats, your pet’s incessant itching and scratching will likely clue you in. Flea bites can be very irritating and painful, and some pets can even suffer allergic reactions to flea bites. It is a problem that can quickly get out of hand without quick intervention, as these parasitic little pests have no difficulty multiplying! While there are medications available to kill and prevent flea infestations, our friends over at Earth Bath have recently composed this wonderful list of more natural flea preventatives: Earth Bath: Natural, Safe Remedies for Fleas

We also carry DERMagic’s Flea Bar, which is made here in the USA of organic oils, aloe vera, and diatomaceous earth–a naturally occurring, soft siliceous rock often used to repel and kill insects like fleas!

So remember, prevention is key, but if you and your pets find yourselves cornered by yucky pests like fleas and ticks, Dog Day Afternoon can help!