One of the only drawbacks to the amazing weather here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country is that there is not a “flea and tick season” for pet owners to deal with, it is a year-round battle! Not only do these parasites cause itchy allergic reactions, they spread disease and can act as vectors for internal parasites. Flea and tick control is a part of owning a pet here in Texas, but in just a few minutes each day you can save time, money and keep your pets and household healthy. By using the tips below you can eliminate fleas and ticks from your home in Marble Falls, Burnet, Lakeway and surrounding areas!
Chemical Flea and Tick Products
Texas fleas have often been called “super-fleas”. Many pet owners report that the over-the-counter flea control chemicals are not effective in the elimination and long-term prevention of fleas and ticks. Your veterinarian can offer advice and prescribe the best type of preventative for your pets. It can vary from year to year and while most of these chemicals are safe to use for domestic animals, the form and dosage that is best for your furry family members can be best determined by your vet.
There are a variety of spot on treatments that go directly onto your cat or dog’s skin, there are pills that can be given orally and even a new type of flea and tick collar. These types of preventatives are all designed to last for a month under typical conditions. Depending on weather, individual circumstances and parasite population this time-span may be different, and your vet may also recommend a combination of chemical preventative solutions.
Flea and tick shampoos can help with the removal of the parasites from dogs, especially when used with a flea comb to physically remove them from the skin and fur. Dawn dish soap is a less expensive and safer alternative. The detergent in this particular soap dries out fleas and ticks and is safer for use on very young, older or ill animals.
Insecticide sprays may also be used in and around the house to prevent flea and tick infestations. It is often best to get one with an insect growth inhibitor to prevent the development of larvae into adult parasites. Be sure to read the label for safe use instructions. Chemical pesticides can be dangerous when used improperly.
Chemical Alternatives for Texas Flea and Tick Prevention
Sometimes the best option to remove any type of household pest is the use of strong chemicals. If a safer alternative will work, it is the best choice to maintain a healthy home. In order to minimize chemical use and the risks that go along with it, there are measures that can be taken that will eliminate and prevent a flea and tick infestation in the home.
Carpeting, furniture and dog bedding should be vacuumed several times per week. If fleas or ticks have been seen on the dog or in the home, daily vacuuming may be needed until they are gone. Washing dog bedding regularly along with any blankets or scarves on the furniture helps maintain indoor living areas. You may also wish to sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth under and behind furniture. This is a chemical free and safe way to dry out the bodies of fleas and ticks inside the home.
Plants—Nature’s Parasite Prevention
There are a variety of plants that will make your yard unappealing to fleas and ticks. Keeping them out of your yard can go a long way in keeping them off of your pets. Mint, sage, basil, lavender and lemon grass are natural bug repellents. These plants can be planted along the borders of the yard, are safe and non-toxic, useful in cooking and most are easy to maintain. Keeping grass mowed short reduces parasite populations in the yard and adding cedar chips to flower beds and fence lines is another great way to make your yard a bad neighborhood for fleas and ticks.
Entomopathogenic nematodes will not harm people or pets, but they feed on flea eggs and larvae. These little warriors can be purchased in dry form and sprinkled on the lawn. Then, add water and you will have a safe and natural flea prevention army living right where you need them.
An Ounce of Prevention
Planning in advance is one of the best ways to prevent a flea and tick infestation in your home. Environmental management is less expensive, less time consuming and safer for the whole family than using chemical extermination. Check your pet’s fur daily for signs of fleas and ticks, even if you have an indoor cat. Humans can track in fleas and ticks on shoes and pant legs, and parasites can find their way to the cat. Dealing with pests need not become a large ordeal, observation and prevention can keep this problem small in pet-loving Texas homes!