There are always those acquaintances who we hate opening our doors to; dog parents can include a couple of more names to this list of unwanted guests, fleas and ticks. Many times, in the UAE we hear of these infestations, especially given the warm climate. However, we can take some steps to shut these parasites out (unlike their human counterparts). This is your one stop practical guide.
Why should you prevent?
Two words, discomfort and disease!
Flea bites can cause flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) and hair loss in dogs. In certain cases, they can also transmit bartonellosis and tapeworm (when our pupper ingests the fleas infected with tapeworms). If that seems serious, ticks are even worse. They can transmit potentially deadly diseases like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
The good news is that you can prevent any of this from happening. Let us see how…
First things first, fleas and ticks are different!
The unwanted guests, fleas and ticks, are often used together (and in some cases interchangeably). Many of us do not know how to tell them apart. Here is a guide:
Prevention is the best cure, simple rules and tools
Since our dogs love to romp on grass, trees and all other places where they can pick up the unwanted guests, fleas and ticks; prevention is always better than cure.
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Rule 01: Examine your dog’s coat often
While ticks are often very visible (like a small blister or wart), presence of fleas can be indicated by flea dirt or black specks.
Rule 02: Look for any symptoms
Intense scratching and chewing of neck, ears, thighs and base of the tail. While many find dogs chasing their own tails as funny, it may also indicate a reaction to flea bite. For ticks, occasionally there may be an allergic reaction, but small infestations may have very visible symptoms (unless there is a disease).
To be sure, we spoke to Dr. Sam Westhead, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at Dubai-based Amity Veterinary Clinic about the symptoms of ticks and fleas in dogs.
“The signs of tick infestation are frequently very mild. Dogs might lick or chew the bite site, which may become inflamed. But mostly they feed without causing too much discomfort. More significant are the diseases transmitted by ticks such as Ehrlichia. While fleas are not common in the UAE, it is always worth looking out for. They can cause anything from a minor itch to a severe dermatitis, referred to as ‘flea allergic dermatitis. The skin becomes inflamed, itchy and sore with a discharge which dries to form dark crusts,” he said.
When asked about the worst seasons for ticks and fleas, Dr. Westhead said, “The answer to this is very subjective. But I would say that any time other than the summer! The brown dog tick that we see here does not really seem to be active between about June and September. However, I am prepared to be corrected on that one, as it is largely based on my personal observations in the clinic.”
Rule 03: Protect from flea and tick all year round
There are primarily five options: spot on treatment, collars, sprays, oral treatments and injectable treatments. While spot on, collars and sprays are available in most pet stores, for oral and injectable treatment you may need to visit your friendly neighbourhood vet. For sure, you can use tick and flea shampoos as an added protection. Note that for ticks it is always recommended to use a tick removal tool.
Rule 04: Use home and yard spray
This will help to target possible hiding places for ticks and fleas.
Products and prices in the UAE
Below is a typical price list for flea and tick protection products available in UAE
Spot on treatment:
- Frontline Flea & Tick Spot on combo – approx AED 135 – AED 179 depending on size of dog. Protection lasts for about 8 weeks and typically needs to be repeated every 5-6 weeks
- Advantix Spot-On Treatment – approx AED 169 – AED 230 depending on size of dog. Protection lasts about 3-4 weeks
- Frontline Flea & Tick Spray (250 ml) – approx AED 162. Reapply every 3-4 weeks
- Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Spray (350 ml) – approx AED 69. Effective for up to 4 weeks
- TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Dog Collar – approx AED 75.65. Effective up to 4 months
- Beaphar Canishield Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs – approx AED 109 – AED 119, depending on the size. Effective period is 4-6 months, depending on the parasite
- Tickless Ultrasonic Tick & Flea Repeller – approx AED 120. Effective period between 6-12 months
- Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Shampoo (350 ml) – approx AED 69
- Synergy Labs Woof Wash Flea & Tick Shampoo (709 ml) – approx AED 76
Home and yard sprays:
- TropiClean Flea and Tick Spray For Yard (946 ml) – approx AED 155
- Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray (946 ml) – approx AED 92.4
What the vet recommends
In summation, some recommendation from Dr. Westhead to treat ticks and fleas in dogs.
“The very best product on the market, and the one I prescribe above all others, is Bravecto. It is a palatable tablet given every 3 months, and it is the treatment I use on my own dog. Only issue is that it is not cheap. But when you take into consideration the efficacy, you will realise that the on a month-by-month basis the cost is not too different to the spot-on products. But it goes without saying that if you see ticks on your dog remove them in an appropriate manner, preferably with the use of a specialist tick removal tool.”
With the unwanted guests, fleas and ticks, remember that prevention is easy and much better than cure.
Keep PawzNRead-ing for more information on flea and tick related products. Also, share with us how you go about your flea and tick control routine.
Note: This article is meant for information and awareness and should not be considered a treatment guide. Always consult your veterinary doctor before opting for any treatment.