Ah, finally. Summer is beginning to arrive. The days are getting longer – now the evening walks with your dog are no longer cold and miserable but the highlight of your social calendar. Yet the promise of sun unfortunately comes hand in hand with the arrival of those pesky parasites known as fleas and ticks. Although dog owners can confirm that both parasites just love to attach themselves to our furry friends, the majority among us aren’t aware how they differ. Read on to study up and to protect your dog this upcoming summer.
What Do They Look Like Under A Microscope?
We can undoubtedly say that both types of parasite won’t be winning any ‘Best Looking Animal’ awards any time soon. They look, to be quite frank, absolutely horrifying. Fleas are wingless insects which measure around 1/16 to 1/8 inches long. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, just because fleas cannot fly doesn’t stop them from causing all sorts of havoc. They are able to jump high and far with their freakishly long legs, making them one of the best jumpers of all known animals. Ticks have the advantage of possessing wings and usually eight legs, allowing them to move about as they please. They’re a little bigger than most fleas, measuring from 1/4 to 1/8 inches long. We’re glad they’re not any larger!
How Long Can Each Parasite Survive?
Let’s be real, nobody wants parasites to survive for more than one second. Unfortunately, this dream is yet to become reality. Fleas have an average lifespan of around 100 days and some can survive for even longer. However, they’ve got nothing on your average tick. These parasites can happily live from three weeks to three long years. This is why it’s important to protect your pooch before any bloodsucking nuisances decide to set up camp on your furry friend.
What Climates Do They Prefer?
Both fleas and ticks love to be cozy and thrive in temperatures around 70 to 85 degrees. However, you can’t kill them off by simply turning down the thermostat. Fleas will begin to die when the temperature drops below 35 degrees, but the average tick is a lot harder to wipe out and can withstand conditions as cold as five and ten degrees below zero. They’re extremely resistant and can adapt easily to a number of climates. Therefore, this means that during a mild winter, please be sure to remain as cautious of ticks living off of your dog then as you would be in the summer.
How Long Will Fleas And Ticks Stay On My Dog?
There are two main kinds of humans – those who work and those who settle. The same can be said when comparing the behaviors of fleas and ticks. Fleas are settlers. When they jump on to an animal, don’t expect them to be moving anytime soon. Why? Because your dog offers them enough nutrients to sustain them until they finally die. This unfortunately means that they have time to lay up to 40 eggs, of which your dog will deposit far and wide when it sheds. On the other hand, ticks spend the majority of their unfortunate existence off of hosts and are able to lie in wait for long periods of time. When they acquire a target, they won’t hang around for long and usually jump from animal to animal. However, they’ll be sure to rudely leave behind thousands of eggs on your dog.
What Diseases Do Both Animals Spread?
Although it’s hard to believe that such tiny parasites could inflict large amounts of damage, many diseases that fleas and ticks carry can be detrimental and extremely dangerous for our dogs. Fleas commonly transmit diseases like bartonellosis and tapeworm. Symptoms of bartonellosis include a loss of appetite and inflammation of the heart and eye in your dog. The signs that your dog may be dealing with a tapeworm may include abnormal weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Although both infections listed above are far from ideal, ticks can transfer diseases that are even more harmful for your dog. Lyme disease, although curable, can be fatal for dogs. Their recovery depends upon how far along this disease has progressed. Moreover, if not treated right away, then Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever will make your dog seriously ill. Likewise, expect your dog to suffer from swelling and fatigue. The spread of these diseases is why it’s so important to take your dog to a vet regularly and use a flea and tick control product. This way, your dog will be able to enjoy their summer walks without welcoming any unwanted visitors!