Spring brings fleas, ticks and pet allergies

As spring nears, pets are feeling the effects of the seasonal change

A Youngstown vetrinarian is warning pet owners to be wary of fleas, ticks and allergies, as spring nears.
As spring nears, a Youngstown veterinarian is warning pet owners to be wary of fleas, ticks and pet allergies.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With the warmer weather, allergy season is showing itself early this year.

But not just people are being affected. Pets feel the seasonal change, too.

Veterinarian Dr. Donald Allen said this is the time of year for flea allergies to come out. Similarly to allergies afflicting humans, pets’ allergies may be confused with the common cold.

“Just like with us, sneezing, that’s first. And your allergy can lead to a cold because… your mucus membranes get all inflamed and irritated,” Allen said.

Allen said you can differentiate between a cold or allergy by your pet’s mucus. If it is yellow or green, it’s probably a cold, but if it’s clear, it’s likely allergies.

Another thing to look out for when the weather begins to warm up — ticks. A pet may pick these up while it’s outside.

“If you’re in an area where you take your dog or your cat… and you have a lot of undergrowth, or high weeds, or high grass, that’s tick heaven,” Allen said.

He said the best way to remove a tick is with a tick removing tool, which you can buy at many local pet stores. You can also use tweezers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends using steady, even pressure to pull the tick upward from the skin. The CDC says not to twist the tick, as parts of it can break off and remain in the skin.

After removal, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Dr. Allen said fleas and ticks can also burrow into carpeted areas in your home, so it’s a good idea to buy a flea removing product and clean carpets with it once a year.

Local pet stores say they have noticed these flea treatments are flying off the shelves early this year.

“We offer several different types flea collars, flea drops. There’s different sprays, and bedding sprays, and stuff to help take care of fleas, and eggs, and everything like that,” said Tim Klug, manager of Petco.

Both Klug and Allen recommend using a quality flea and tick medication, like Advantage, rather than using a knock-off brand.

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