There are many benefits to having a dog, but one of the peskiest problems you'll inevitably encounter is the flea and tick infestation. They multiply so quickly, and can live lengthily in the cracks and crevices of your home. Aside from making your dog extremely itchy and uncomfortable, they also bring a host of health problems, from skin disease to anemia and ehrlichiosis, which is often described by vets as "dog dengue."

What to do when you find these pests making a home out of your dog? Read on to find out.

1. Don’t crush the fleas on your dog’s skin.
This could release any eggs they might be carrying and worsen the flea itch when they hatch on your dog. According to Adams Flea Control, a female flea can carry 1,000 eggs in a month! Instead, wash or pick of the fleas and dump them in a container of soapy water. Another easy way to get those suckers is to press adhesive tape on your furbabe’s skin.

2. For tick removal, a pair of tweezers are your best friend.
Use this to ensure that all parts of the tick's body are pulled out, especially the head. Ticks usually latch on to the skin, and remaining body parts can cause germs to infect your dog. To help weaken the tick’s hold on your dog, dab it with a cotton ball drenched in alcohol and then give it a good yank.

3. Get your dog treated.
One popular way to remove fleas and ticks is to use a chemical solution such as Frontline, but make sure that all dogs in the house get the treatment. Otherwise, the parasites will just transfer from one dog to another. Not comfortable with chemical solutions? Go natural by mixing half a teaspoon of salt with another half a teaspoon of baking soda. Then, add in eight ounces of apple cider vinegar with four ounces of warm water, put in a spray bottle, and apply. Eucalyptus oil is also another way to keep the insects away.

4. Have your pet wear a flea and tick collar to help keep the pesky pests away.
These collars emit chemicals that kill the annoying little buggers. Not a fan? Make your own by taking two to three drops of cedar or lavender oil and mixing it with one to three tablespoons of water. Spread it throughout a stylish bandana and tie it around your four-legged friend. Or, simply dab the mixture onto his existing collar.

5. Clean your pet’s bedding thoroughly.
Wash and rinse with soap and disinfectant, and finish the job by vacuuming. Don’t forget to dispose of the vacuum bag properly as the eggs can still survive and hatch in the bag.

6. Regularly bathe your pet with a flea and tick control shampoo.
Or you can make your own. Everyday Roots offers its own concoction. Take half a cup of lemon juice, mix with 1 ½ cups of water and ¼ a cup of shampoo.

7. Of course, long-term solutions are the best ones.
Invest in a flea and tick exterminator. Did you know that flea pupae can exist dormant for over a year? The best way to have a pest-free house is to simultaneously de-flea and de-tick both the host (e.g. your dog/cat) and the living environment. Fleas and ticks can live in gardens, too, and make their way into your house. Keeping your house spic and span after pest control measures are put in place will help ensure that these buggers stay away.

PHOTO: Pixabay

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