The summer season brings out a host of new pests, but for your pets, fleas and ticks are probably the biggest concern. It’s flea and tick season now in St. Louis, and protecting your pet from these disease-carrying pests is important. Of course, all your furry friends should be on a preventative program to protect them, but during the warm summer months, it’s important to heighten your awareness.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Blue Chip Pest Services, a pest management company servicing the St. Louis area, said, “When the weather is nice, pets are likely to spend additional time outdoors enjoying long walks or playing in the yard. Unfortunately, this means they are more susceptible to attracting fleas and ticks. Not only can these pests make your beloved pet sick, but they can lead to an unwanted infestation in the home.”

Phillips says that in St. Louis, blacklegged deer ticks and American dog ticks are of concern. The former can transmit Lyme disease to pets, while the latter can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and sometimes cause tick paralysis. This occurs when a female tick attaches herself near a pet’s spinal cord.

And of course, there are the fleas. When they bite your dog, they cause itchy, red bumps that cause your pet to bite and scratch. But flea bites can also cause anemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis. What many pet owners don’t realize is how quickly fleas can multiply. They breed quickly, so if not tamed effectively, a flea infestation can overtake a home in no time.

Phillips adds, “It’s important for pet owners to be on the lookout for fleas and ticks, checking their pets frequently throughout the summer months.”

In addition to being vigilant about checking your pets for pests during the summer, there are some other things you can do to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends:

  • Keep an eye on your pet, and watch for excessive scratching or licking

  • Avoid walking your dog in tall grass where pests tend to gather

  • Bathe your dog after walks in questionable areas or playtime with other animals

  • Wash your pet’s bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently

  • Talk to a veterinarian about treatment options to protect your pet, and seek medical advice if ticks or fleas are found on your pet

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