Tell the Difference Between Fleas & Ticks

Oh no! Looks like Fido has a flea or tick problem

Fleas and ticks are one of every dog owners' biggest nightmares. Both can be incredibly harmful to our pets, not to mention us. To effectively treat against fleas and ticks (and the diseases they spread) first you have to identify which is which.

So what are the differences between these two parasites and how do we tell them apart?

Is it a Flea or is it a Tick?

This ugly fellow is a Castor Bean Tick. You don't want him around do you?
You should always check your dog after it's been playing outside for fleas and ticks. A dog nibbling or scratching a particular area of its body is a potential sign of fleas or ticks, but always give your pooch a precautionary check whether it's scratching or not.


Ticks are easier to find than fleas but they are still tough to hunt down. Use a flea comb to go through a dog's hair, particularly in denser areas of the coat and between the toes, around the ears, face, mouth and tail. Ticks are small insect-like bugs with 8 legs. Comprising a small head and bulbous body, ticks can be anywhere from 1/16th of an inch to 3/4 of an inch in size. Also check the dog's bed, favorite resting places and your bed for additional ticks. Note: Ticks only stay on the host to feed. Once fed they will drop off and lay eggs, so it is vital to check dogs for tics as soon as they come indoors.


No it's not an alien, it's a flea and unless you are careful you could be host to thousands of them
Fleas are harder to find because they are smaller (often less than 1/16th inch) than ticks. The best way to find evidence of fleas is to rapidly brush a dog's coat over a sheet of white paper. If tiny black flecks of dirt fall onto the paper rub them with water to see if it turns red. If it does then the 'dirt' is flea poop which consists of dried blood. Note: One female flea can lay 4000 eggs in a dog's fur, making it essential to find and destroy them as soon as possible.


Getting Rid of Fleas and Ticks

Frontline Plus has developed an effective flea and tick control that lasts for a month
Ticks can be removed physically by pulling them from a dog's skin using tweezers. Care is needed prevent damage of the dog's skin or leave the tick's head behind half burrowed into and irritating the skin. Other methods include covering the tick with a cotton ball soaked in liquid soap until it releases from the skin. Note: Disinfect the area immediately after a tick is removed.


Flea eradication needs three steps; a topical powder to kill the adult fleas, topical shampoo to kill flea eggs and a thorough cleaning of the house (particularly carpets and pet beds) to remove any other traces of fleas. Note: Regular vacuuming is very effective at removing fleas.

Prevention is Always Better than a Cure
Taking precautions to prevent and control fleas and ticks is always better than having to eradicate then once an infestation has set in. Monthly flea and tick prevention treatments are especially good at providing 24/7 protection for your pets, and the acknowledged leader in this field is Frontline Plus. All good pet supply companies will have a selection of effective flea and tick controls from this respected flea and tick control specialist.

By John Bone