All about fleas and ticks

  • identification
  • lifecycle
  • types
  • diseases
  • removal
  • How do you identify fleas and ticks?

    Just think about fleas and ticks and you itch all over. Ick! But don't worry - you've come to the right place. With regular use of a SENTRY® Fiproguard® topical products, these unwelcomed guests will soon be a thing of the past.

    Ready to get started?

    This quick video shows you how to identify fleas and ticks on your pet.

    Lifecycle of a flea

    Fleas go through several stages of development. All stages pose problems for your pet and home. Flea infestations begin long before you see biting, jumping bugs. In fact, the active adults make up only about 1% of an infestation, which means that 99% are pre-adult fleas lurking around your pet, home and yard!

    Stage 1: The eggs

    In a single day, an adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs. The eggs are not sticky, so they quickly fall off your pet and into your carpet, furniture, pet's bed and yard. They hatch from 2 to 21 days after they are laid. Then the real problems begin.

    Stage 2: The Larvae

    Once the eggs hatch, they are larvae. These nasty little things head for the dark places in your home and feast on flea dirt - flea feces that contain digested blood from your pet. Larvae are almost invisible and settle deep into carpets and furniture. Even vacuuming won't remove them all.

    Stage 3: The Pupae

    Immature fleas, or pupae, spend about 8-9 days in their cocoon and can remain in this stage for up to one year! They are growing and waiting to emerge…to bite your pet and wreck havoc in your home.

    Stage 4: The Adult Flea

    Adult fleas like warm, humid places and stay on the same host pet their entire life. This is the most annoying stage because adult fleas bite, feeding on the blood of your pet. They can survive for up to a year without feeding, just laying in wait. Once they feed, female fleas lay 45-50 eggs per day on their host, and the life cycle starts over again.

    lifecycle fleas

    Lifecycle of a tick

    Ticks have two things on their minds: biting and blood. They aren't picky eaters, either: it can use yours or your pet's blood that fuels their growth. They bite down and bury their heads into the skin while they ingest blood and can transmit disease from animal to animal or human to human at any stage of development.

    Stage 1: The eggs

    Ticks begin as eggs that hatch into 6-legged larvae. Adult females of some tick species lay about 100 eggs at a time; others lay 2000 to 5000 eggs per batch. Regardless of species, tick eggs hatch in about two weeks.

    Stage 2: The Larvae

    The larvae live and feed on animals or humans for about a week before detaching and then molting (shedding) anywhere from one week to eight months later. The larvae then become 8-legged nymphs.

    Stage 3: The Nymph

    Nymphs feed on animals, engorge for three to 11 days, detach and molt about a month later – depending on the species and environmental conditions.

    Stage 4: The Adults

    Once the nymph molts, it becomes an adult tick. Adult ticks climb up grass and plants and hold their legs up to sense or 'look for' their prey. They hop onboard an unsuspecting pet or person and feed. An adult female tick can increase her size up to 100 times her original weight while feeding! After feeding, she mates and lays eggs – usually between 2000 and 5000 eggs at a time. And it starts all over again.

    lifecycle ticks

    Types of Fleas

    While variety is the spice of life... it can also be a bad thing, especially when it comes to fleas.

    • There are more than 2,000 varieties of fleas in the world, and more than 200 types in the US. While each type of flea has different characteristics, they are usually classified by the type of animal they live on - dog fleas, cat fleas, rat fleas and so on.
    • The most common flea in the US is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis.) They live on both dogs and cats, so if you have these biting bad boys around, you're probably fighting against the cat flea.

    Types of Ticks

    There are several types of ticks. All of them feed on blood and can spread disease to animals and people.

    • Deer tick. Deer ticks can carry Lyme disease, which is potentially fatal in humans and animals. Adult deer ticks are tiny - about the size of a sesame seed. Males are black and females have a dark red abdomen and a black shield near the head. Females swell to double in size when fully engorged after feeding.
    • Brown dog tick. This tick almost exclusively attacks dogs. If a dog is infested, the overflow of ticks can be seen on walls and furniture!
    • American dog tick. This tick is found across North America and attacks dogs, cats, humans, cattle, horses and other large mammals.
    • Lone star tick. These ticks aren't picky and will attack mammals and birds alike. The female of this variety has a tell tale white spot.

    Diseases Spread by Fleas

    Besides being annoying and potentially embarrassing (no one wants dinner guests scratching their ankles), fleas can cause big problems. Flea bites can cause skin disorders, infections, and allergies for pets and people. They also spread diseases such as:

    • Tapeworms. If a flea is infected with tapeworm larvae and is then eaten by the animal it calls home, the animal can easily contract tapeworms. Some pets eat 50-90% of the fleas on their bodies through grooming, making tapeworms a widespread problem. Tapeworms are zoonotic - they can be spread from pets to people.
    • Tularemia. This disease is caused by bacteria and spread by fleas and ticks to pets and people. Symptoms include an open ulcer near the flea bite, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.
    • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This disease is spread by fleas and ticks. It is potentially fatal and infects both pets and humans. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, and a rash around wrists and ankles.
    • Q Fever. This is carried primarily by rat fleas and usually infects humans. It can also infect wild rodents, rabbits, and some domestic animals such as dogs and cats.

    Diseases Spread by Ticks

    With their bloodsucking ways, thinking about ticks is enough to get your imagination going and your skin crawling. But they also pose more serious problems by spreading diseases to both pets and people.

    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever This disease is spread by fleas and ticks. It is potentially fatal and infects both dogs and humans. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, nausea, and vomiting. A rash is usually seen around wrists and ankles.
    • Lyme disease. Bacteria spread from the bite of an infected tick causes Lyme disease. While it can be treated with antibiotics, left untreated it can be fatal to humans, dogs, cats, horses and cattle. Even treated, it can also lead to ongoing rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms. Symptoms that a tick has infected a human with Lyme disease include a bull's eye rash, one-sided facial paralysis, headaches, fever and swollen glands and joints.
    • Tularemia. Bacteria spread from the bite of an infected tick causes Lyme disease. While it can be treated with antibiotics, left untreated it can be fatal to humans, dogs, cats, horses and cattle. Even treated, it can also lead to ongoing rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms. Symptoms that a tick has infected a human with Lyme disease include a bull's eye rash, one-sided facial paralysis, headaches, fever and swollen glands and joints.
    • Texas Fever. This is also known as Redwater Fever and Tick Fever. It mostly infects cattle.

    Getting Rid of Fleas

    If you already have an infestation, don't panic. Getting rid of these nasty little pests is possible. The very best way to treat fleas and ticks is to prevent an infestation.

    Regular use of a SENTRY® Fiproguard topical product is essential to preventing fleas and ticks from living on your pet... or in your home!

    STEP 1: Treat the pet. Bathe your pet to eliminate dirt. Use a flea comb to remove flea dirt (feces) and dead fleas. Use SENTRY® Fiproguard monthly, according to package directions. Never use a pesticidal shampoo in combination with SENTRY® Fiproguard topical products.

    STEP 2: Treat the home. Washing pet bedding, vacuuming carpets, and treating with household sprays or powders are good first steps. Remember, read all labels carefully before using more than one flea and tick control product.

    STEP 3: Treat the yard. Don't forget to spray around your yard and treat around the foundation to kill any flea populations lurking outside. Again, read all labels carefully before using more than one flea and tick control product.

    Getting Rid of Ticks

    If you see ticks in your home or on your pet, it is imperative that you start to treat the problem right away. These tiny bloodsuckers are more than ugly - they can carry very dangerous, life-threatening diseases.

    STEP 1: Treat the pet. Look for ticks on your dog according to the video directions in this section. If you find a tick, DO NOT remove it. If the tick's head or pincers remain under the skin when the body is removed, the chance of disease transmission is greater. Apply SENTRY® Fiproguard® monthly, according to package directions. Never use a pesticidal shampoo in combination with a SENTRY® Fiproguard® topical product.

    STEP 2: Treat the home. Washing pet bedding, vacuuming carpets, and treating with household sprays or powders are good first steps. Remember, read all labels carefully before using more than one flea and tick control product.

    STEP 3: Treat the yard. Don't forget to spray around your yard and treat around the foundation to kill any adult ticks, eggs or larvae lurking outside. Again, read all labels carefully before using more than one flea and tick control product.

    Applying SENTRY® Fiproguard® Products

    Important safety information

    Make sure to follow these extremely important guidelines every time you apply the SENTRY® Fiproguard topical products to your pet.

    • Weigh your pet before purchasing the product. The product dosage is based on weight. Do not guess. Make sure you purchase a product for the correct species. Each formula is designed for a specific species and weight break. Do not use dog products on cats, or the cat product on dogs

    • Read the SENTRY® Fiproguard topical product label completely and follow directions. Do not treat with more than one pesticide product at a time. For example, do not use flea and tick shampoos before applying the SENTRY® Fiproguard topical products.

    • Do not split tubes between pets. One tube is one dose and must be used on one animal. Doing otherwise could result in less effective results or put your pet at risk for overdose.

    • In a multi-pet household, separate animals after treatment until the product has dried completely to avoid the chance of ingestion.

    Where to Buy SENTRY® Fiproguard®

    To purchase this product, visit one of these retailers.
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