It’s that time of the year; summer’s round the bend and extra degrees are dancing across the temperature gauge. Humans aren’t the only ones who are invigorated by the heat – creepy crawlies are too, and they multiply fast. It’s why flea treatment in NZ is of particular importance to cat and dog parents right now (tick prevention less so but still of concern).
It’s not like the little critters aren’t bad enough on their own. But as if to add insult to injury, besides bloodsucking, they can cause several knock on effects. We’re all about prevention being better than cure. Because we know you are too, we’ve listed the below guidelines for flea treatments.
And while ticks aren’t a big issue in New Zealand, we’ll be looking at these louts too… But first, fleas!
Why you need flea treatment in NZ
Fleas might not be an eyesore, but their ability to hide under pets’ fur makes them even more of an enemy worth defeating. That they have the gall to set up shop on your pet is one thing. Then they eat your pet, poop on them, lay eggs on them, and all on the sly. How insulting (and gross)!
Fleas in New Zealand are gonna get the shock of their lives when they realise how much we Kiwis love our pets. We mean business, and that’s no more free meals. Most especially because fleas can cause the four following knock-on problems for cats and dogs:
1. Allergic dermatitis
The flea life cycle is one gross affair. Not only do they drink blood and poop on pets, their pupae then eat the adult fleas’ poop before spinning cocoons. This whole affair often causes serious itching that can at its worst become allergic dermatitis. Once it reaches that stage, you usually need a multi-pronged treatment.
Removing the fleas can stop the problem, but often you’ll also need to give your pet medicine and change their diet to reverse dermatitis. Allergic dermatitis causes pets to scratch and lick their open wounds. It also causes inflammation, crusting, patchy red skin and can eventually lead to hair loss.
Ideally, flea treatment in NZ should be used to prevent issues like this before they happen. We’ll get to that a bit further on, but first…
Fleas reproduce at a hideous rate. They can lay up to 50 eggs per day, and each egg can hatch at any time between one and 12 days. So in a matter of days, your pet can be swamped with an entire feasting flea population.
Large numbers of fleas can result in significant blood loss in an animal and eventually anaemia. For young and old pets or those with already compromised immune systems, flea anemia can be fatal.
It literally just gets worse (if you’re squeamish, skip to the next section, or even the next next section)… Fleas are hosts to tapeworms. Intermediate hosts actually. The tapeworm just hitches a ride with the flea hoping to get eaten by your pet to fast track their journey into its intestines.
This happens more often than you think. Cats and dogs tend to scratch with their mouths a lot, so you can see how the tapeworm gets its way. What this means is that its always best to treat for fleas and worms if you have either.
4. Bartonella henselae infection
Bartonella, or cat scratch disease, doesn’t just affect cats and dogs. Once they have it, it can spread to humans too. This bacterial infection is caused by flea bites and can cause inflammation, swollen glands, fever and more. Pets aren’t always symptomatic, but even if they don’t display effects it’s still transmissible. An infected cat can pass Bartonella to a person by scratching them.
Just another reason why flea treatment in NZ is good for pets and you!
Ticks on dogs and cats
Luckily, problems arising from ticks are so rare in New Zealand that it’s virtually ungooglable (yes we made that word up). As in, when you Google search ‘ticks’, mostly what you find is people misspelling TikTok as Tick Tock.
However, there is one tick that can bug our cats and dogs, and that’s the New Zealand cattle tick. Just like fleas, ticks can cause skin problems and anaemia. When it comes to tick bite fever, Kiwi pets are in the clear. That is, although the cattle tick causes tick bite fever elsewhere in the world, it doesn’t pose this threat in New Zealand.
However, if you’re planning on flying with pets to Australia then be on high alert. Australia is home to one of the world’s deadliest ticks – the paralysis tick. The paralysis tick kills 500 dogs there each year and affects thousands more. Read how to remove a tick properly to find out about the paralysis tick and other tick hazards.
Tick and flea treatment in NZ isn’t just for summer
Fleas (and ticks) may be on the up and up in summer, but that’s just peak time. The truth is they’re active 12 months of the year and so should we be. And as we mentioned earlier, the best tick and flea treatments in NZ are about prevention rather than cure.
This is also best practice for pets. Regular treatments that target all life stages of the pests are generally safer and more holistic than random treatments. And FYI, flea eggs aren’t sticky, so they tend to fall off and hatch in between floorboards, on carpets, on your clothes and in your bed. In other words, they’re on your pet and in your home.
In fact, they think it’s their home. It’s a hostile takeover, and we’re taking back. Here’s how…
Tick and flea treatment in NZ for dogs and cats
Tick and flea treatment in NZ comes in all shapes and sizes. From combined treatments to tablets (for eating) or liquids (to be applied topically). Baths and sprays tend to target adult parasites, but do little against the eggs. Which is why you’ll most likely need to combine baths and sprays with oral treatment for best results. Some well known brands include Bravecto, Frontline and NexGard.
Treatments can be effective for three to six months, depending on product and dosage. Treatment intervals may depend on how furry your pet is (as in how well their fur conceals and even shields fleas or ticks). Where you live can also be a deciding factor…
For example, coastal and warmer areas may be more affected by pests than cooler parts. If you live in the North Shore residential area, for instance, you may need to guard against parasites more astutely than if you live in Ophir.
Tick and flea treatment in NZ should also include spraying your furnishings and your pet’s bedding. And if you think even one lone parasite has stepped foot in your house, it’s always good to wash your bedding on a boil cycle.
Be sure to administer the correct amount (and not more) for your pet’s age and size/weight according to package instructions. This is especially important while pets are young. A great option is to chat with your vet for a good treatment recommendation.
Having your vet invested from the get-go is conducive to achieving the best lifelong treatment of your pet.
Symptoms of flea and tick problems in cats and dogs
Fleas and ticks work on the sly. Signs of your pet’s mounting tormenters might be subtle, at first. Routine pet care should involve regular checks for parasites like fleas and ticks. That way you can catch the sneaky bloodsuckers before they get eat you out lock, stock and barrel.
Checking for ticks and fleas
Part of tick and flea treatment in NZ means regular checks. You can do this by parting your dog or cat’s fur to see if any critters are hiding on their skin. Take special care to check their armpits, groin and inside ears – all warm spots that pesky critters love. In addition, take note of signs of a tick or flea problem.
Symptoms of fleas in cats and dogs:
- Hair loss
- Licking, scratching or biting (which is essentially a form of scratching)
- Skin infections
- Ear infections
- “Flea dirt”
Symptoms of ticks in dogs and cats:
- Licking / chewing specific areas
- Lumps (most notably on pets with long fur)
- Finding a tick in your house
- Head shaking
Tick and flea treatment in NZ isn’t a nice to have, it’s 100% necessary for pets’ wellbeing. When a pet is burdened by parasites, they can find it to be painful, disturbing and traumatic. If left unchecked, the effects of parasites can lead to anxiety and even obsessive compulsive disorders.
Pet insurance for peace of mind
Keeping in touch with your vet is a sure way to plot your pet’s road to continued health and happiness. Vets are the best people to advise on what treatment and how much to use and to help you avoid any bigger health issues. And with pet insurance, you know you’ve always got someone onside.
Because if you incur bills for vet visits, hospitalisation, prescriptions or more, we’re there to help cover the costs. That can be especially useful when pets have overnight stays at hospitals. Whether it’s for the problems you know or the ones that surprise you, having pet insurance can help your peace of mind.