5 Myths About Fleas and ticks you never knew!

With a great mane comes great responsibility! Our furry friends are our favorite companions dressed in their floofy suits and there’s no doubt we love to cuddle and cozy up with them! But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. With a thick coat, a common issue pet parents find is that ticks and fleas can hide and cause harm to our beloved pets! They’re annoying, sneaky, pesky, itchy, and carry many diseases that can harm us and our furry friends. 

Despite how common they are, these tiny parasites thrive in hot and humid conditions – which Thailand, unfortunately, has all year round. 🔬 Despite the tropical weather these pests love, pet parents can do their best to maintain and protect their pets from ticks and fleas! But before we get there, let’s get the facts straight and take a look at all the common myths we have about ticks & fleas! 

The Difference Between Ticks & Fleas

These best friends can look similar from afar. Both being parasites, they feed on blood and need a host in order to survive. Although, there are main key differences between ticks and fleas. 

❔ Ticks: Tend to be bigger, with a flat, round body. They have 8 legs and they tend to transmit Lyme disease, and blood parasites, among other serious illnesses.

❓ Fleas: These are much smaller with a narrow oval body. They have six legs, and their coloring is usually reddish-brown or black. They tend to be the cause of tapeworms and other parasites. 

Myth 1: They only come out in the rainy season 🌧️

In other countries that have more than “hot” as a season, many assume that “flea season” is just in the summer. But both ticks and fleas can survive year-long – in many climates. They’re great hiders and hunters – so in a tropical, hot, and humid country like Thailand, pet parents should keep an eye out for ticks and fleas all the time! Psst – they get a little extra excited during the rainy season as well. 

Myth 2: You can smush them! 🗑️

This might sound weird – but many of us Thais have probably heard adults telling us that we shouldn’t smush them because they might have a lot of eggs that can hatch after being exposed to the outside world – resulting in an army of ticks and fleas! But that’s not true. Still, the eggs need to be fertilized in the right conditions before they can hatch. Maybe the adults just didn’t want to clean the mess if we smushed them? Well, it’s not the greatest way to get rid of them anyways. You should either store them in a water bottle, then seal the lid tightly. 

Myth 3: Indoor pets don’t have to worry about ticks & fleas 🏡

Ticks and fleas attack anyone. It doesn’t matter if your pet is an indoor pet because life finds its way – even parasites. Although there’s less of a risk, they can still be brought indoors by clothing or an open window. They might camp in your carpet, bedding, or furniture, waiting for the right time to jump into your pet’s thick coat and feast. 

Myth 4: After getting rid of them, the problem is solved! 🧴

Don’t celebrate just yet, if you’ve recently solved your pet’s tick and flea problem! Making sure these little critters don’t come to bother you and your furry friends requires regular maintenance – which would include frequent grooming, cleaning, yard work, and a lot of sunlight and ventilation for all things that are surrounding your living areas!

Myth 5: They only attack our furry friends. 🐾

While ticks & fleas love to feast on our furry friends, we’re no exception to the rule! They bite people too! These pesky bites are not only annoying but also itchy. Bites are dangerous as they can carry serious diseases and cause illnesses in us humans. 

🛑 How to prevent and manage ticks & fleas 🛑

No matter where you are, the outskirts of the city, the provinces, or the central business district, ticks, and fleas will find a way. Although they prefer taller, unkept, and unmanaged greenery, your dogs can still brush up against these plants during your daily walkies and bring home some unwanted pests. That’s why it’s important to follow these tips to make sure you and your furry friends keep away from all the scary diseases ticks and fleas can bring into your loving home!

So, if your pet’s lovely skin and fur have been infested with ticks & fleas, the first step you should take is to remove the parasite as fast as possible! But be careful, you shouldn’t use your fingers, but a tweezer to grab it – as close to the skin as possible, and pulling straight out. Avoid twisting or squeezing – because this can make them panic and release more saliva onto your beloved pup. There are also flea combs out there you can use to brush through your pet’s coat. Discard the remains in hot soapy water to make sure they can’t bother you guys again! After that, make sure to keep an eye on your pet to see if they are showing any signs or symptoms of something more serious – and immediately seek veterinary advice if they do. 

The first step to making sure your pets are safe is cleanliness! Your living areas and all the surrounding places should be well-maintained. The garden should be trimmed and regularly looked after, so no pesky parasites can hide in the tall grass. After that, you and seek out different treatments and methods you can incorporate anti-tick and flea products into your routine. It could be in the form of shampoos, collars, or even chewable treats (that’s actually medicine)! 

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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