Most humans have experienced a bug bite or two throughout their lives, and if you have, you know that they’re painful, itchy, and generally unpleasant. Unlike our pets, we have the ability to inform others when we sustain a bite, then apply first aid to the site.
When a dog or cat is dealing with bug bites, like those from fleas and ticks, they can’t tell us that there’s a problem in plain English. Instead, they can display symptoms that give us clues and help draw attention to the issue at hand.
Read on to learn about the risks that fleas and ticks present to pets, how to identify each pest and the bites they leave, and how to provide aftercare to help bug bites heal.
When is Flea and Tick Season?
Flea and tick infestations can occur at any time during the year, but they’re more active during the warmer months. Early summer to late fall is the segment of the year that presents the greatest risk to cats and dogs. That said, the season varies by state and starts as early as March in many areas of the U.S.
Fleas and ticks cause more bug bites on dogs and cats when the weather is both warm and wet, while cooler, dryer weather usually decreases pest activity.
However, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for fleas and ticks no matter what time of year it is. Cold weather attacks do occur on occasion so you’ll want to be aware of how to identify flea and tick infestations on your pets.
Identifying Fleas, Ticks, and Their Bites
If you suspect a flea or tick bite on a dog or cat in your household, it’s important to examine your pet so that you can identify whether you’re dealing with fleas, ticks, or something else.
If your cat or dog is dealing with a flea infestation, you might notice that they are scratching excessively, you may notice scabs or hot spots on your pet’s skin, and you may find that your pet is losing hair or has pale gums.
Examine your pet by separating sections of fur to look at the skin surface and hair roots. You’ll also want to check the base of the tail, inside the ears, and on top of your pet’s head.
If you see tiny white specks close to the hair root, they are most likely flea eggs. If you see what looks like flecks of dark-colored dirt, you might be looking at flea droppings. You might also see small, dark, specks that move about in your pet’s fur. Those are fleas.
What do flea bites look like?
Flea bites look like small, inflamed bumps on the skin, which can become a blister or open wound as time passes.