Picture this idyllic scene: You and your fluffy pup are strolling along one of the wooded trails in your local park, enjoying the balmy weather and gorgeous scenery. Ready for a break, you sit on a fallen log surrounded by tall weeds and bushes. Hoping to spot some inquisitive wildlife, you and your dog stay silent and still in your camouflage. After a few minutes, you feel a crawling sensation, see a tick sneaking up your leg, and end your calm, quiet demeanor as you scream and flail, trying to brush off the pesky parasite before it latches on. Mission accomplished, you grab your pup’s leash, and flee down the trail, back to mowed grass and paved sidewalks, wishing you could share your furry pal’s Bravecto, and protect yourself against fleas and ticks.

Have you ever been in this situation? Many pet owners wish they could use their furry pal’s parasite preventive to keep fleas and ticks away, and they understand that a single missed dose actually exposes their pet and themselves to potential parasite-borne diseases. What are the differences between fleas and ticks? What dangers do these blood-sucking parasites hide? What are the best ways to protect your four-legged friend from these pests? Following are the answers, and more.

What is the difference between fleas and ticks?

Fleas and ticks can be tough to spot, as they’re tiny pests in their immature stages. Fleas are still miniscule as adults, measuring only about 1/16- to 1/8-inch. Both like to feast on your pet, and can transmit a variety of illnesses, but that’s where the similarities end. 

A close cousin to spiders, eight-legged ticks are considered arachnids. Ticks are a bit larger than fleas, and tend to be about double the size as adults. They prefer cooler temperatures than fleas, so are more active in spring and fall. During their life cycle—which can take three weeks to three years—ticks seek a new host for each stage, questing for the next appropriate meal to walk by. 

Although fleas have two fewer legs than ticks, they have incredible jumping skills that propel them to their next meal. Fleas are more content than ticks to stay in one place, and will live out their adult lives on a single animal. However, female fleas produce the next generation on your pet, which can lead to flea eggs dropping in your pet’s bedding, your couch, or your own bed. A typical flea life cycle takes several weeks to several months, but flea pupae can hide out in their cocoons for much longer, waiting to emerge until conditions are right. 

What troubles do ticks cause in pets?

As ticks feed, they can transmit a wide variety of diseases. Most require a tick to remain attached for hours to transmit, so prompt removal—or a quality tick preventive—is crucial for warding off tick-borne illnesses. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, some of the most prevalent tick-borne diseases you need to watch for include:

  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Heartland virus (people only)

Here at Lebanon Animal Hospital, we most commonly diagnose ehrlichiosis in dogs and cytauxzoonosis (i.e., bobcat fever) in cats. Current reported ticks in Tennessee include the black-legged tick, American dog tick, lone star tick, and the invasive Asian long-horned tick. As the climate changes, tick habitat patterns, and the prevalence of tick-borne diseases, also change. 

What perils do fleas present for pets?

Like ticks, fleas carry their fair share of transmissible pathogens. Not only can they cause blood-borne diseases, but they can also lead to intestinal parasitic infections and skin problems. Some of the most common issues fleas can cause include:

  • Anemia
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Tapeworm infections
  • Bartonellosis
  • Plague

If fleas become an issue in your home, they may not stick to feeding on your pet—they may also jump to you. Fleas are known for causing murine typhus in people, which is a mild to severe fever-causing disease. Protect your entire family, two- and four-legged members alike, from this parasitic threat by investing in quality flea prevention. 

Why choose Bravecto to protect your pet from fleas and ticks?

With fleas and ticks causing so many illnesses, we want your furry pal protected with the best flea and tick prevention product available. Our favorite product, for a variety of reasons, is Bravecto. This product lasts 12 weeks, and can be administered as an oral or topical form in dogs, or a topical form in cats. The Bravecto chew for dogs works rapidly to eliminate pest infestations, killing fleas in two hours, and attached ticks in 12 hours. The topical form works more slowly, but a single dose is equally effective, preventing parasitic infestations for three months. 

For pet owners who frequently forget to administer their pet’s monthly flea and tick preventive on schedule, long-lasting Bravecto is the perfect alternative. We carry this incredible product in our hospital, or you can search for Bravecto, or other prevention options, on our online pharmacy

Unsure if Bravecto is the right flea and tick prevention for your pet? Stop by Lebanon Animal Hospital, or give our team a call to discuss the best parasite prevention options for your furry pal.