Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Defending Dogs From Fleas and Ticks

Having dogs in Rural America is a treat for them, and us. Whether they spend their days relaxing indoors or working alongside ranchers and cattle – all bias aside, it’s a dog’s dream come true. It’s important to remember that, no matter the dog’s lifestyle whether being mostly inside or outside, all dogs deserve protection against harmful fleas and ticks, and summertime is prime time for protecting against these harmful, everyday pests.   

Fleas and Ticks: More Than an Annoyance 

Fleas and ticks present dangerous health risks to both inside and outside dogs. Their bite is more than just uncomfortable. Fleas and ticks can transmit diseases impacting a pet’s well-being. Another interesting fact is that fleas also are the most common cause of pet allergies and dog itch.

“Fleas can transmit harmful bacterial pathogens and tapeworms when ingested during a pet’s self-grooming. Fleas can cause anemia and intense itching in pets, and some dogs may also develop flea allergy dermatitis, which results from an allergic reaction to flea saliva,” said  Arnold Nagely, DVM, co-founder of Valley Vet Supply. “Like fleas, ticks also transmit harmful bacterial pathogens. One of the most dangerous and common tick-borne infectious diseases in dogs includes Ehrlichia infection, which can cause lameness, eye issues such as blindness, neurological problems, weight loss and swollen limbs. Among other diseases, ticks also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.” 

Dogs can demonstrate many tick- or flea-borne disease symptoms, including:  



Weight loss 

Joint pain 


Enlarged spleen or lymph nodes 

Gum discoloration 

Swelling and stiffness of joints 

It could take as long as 21 days for a pet to show signs of disease. In the case of Lyme disease, it can take as many as five months before signs become recognizable. Watch dogs closely for changes in behavior or appetite, if there are concerns they have been bitten by a tick.  

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