Fleas or Ticks What Causes More Damage to a New Pet

Fleas or Ticks: What Causes More Damage to a New Pet?

For new pet owners, it can be overwhelming to think about all the hazards and risks that affect dogs and cats. You love your pets and want to keep them safe, but how can you protect them from everything? Topping the list of risks are the two most common parasites found on your pets: fleas and ticks.

Everyone knows that fleas and ticks feed from dogs and cats. These bites can cause lots of itching and discomfort. But are you aware that flea and tick bites can cause damage beyond just itching? Both of these parasites carry diseases that can have long-lasting impacts on your pet’s health.

Also read: Understanding Dog Fleas: How Fleas Breed & Affect Your Dog’s Health

Pet owners need to understand the risks that fleas and ticks pose. After all, how can you fully protect your pets from these bugs if you don’t know where they come from and how to avoid them? Continue reading to learn about fleas or ticks and find out which poses the greater threat to your beloved furry friends.


If you’ve ever been around cats or dogs in any capacity, you’re probably familiar with fleas. These pests feed on your pets’ blood and reproduce extremely quickly. This, combined with their expansive and complex life cycle, makes flea infestations very difficult to control. Although fleas only live a few months maximum, a single adult female can lay up to 50 eggs per day!

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Being bitten by fleas—especially dozens or even hundreds of fleas—can cause a lot of stress and discomfort for your dog or cat. Flea bites are very itchy, so a pet dealing with an infestation may demonstrate excessive scratching, biting, and licking. These actions can cause additional skin irritation and even loss of fur, too. But the dangers of fleas go beyond the surface.

Fleas are to blame for many other health issues in pets, including:

  • Tapeworms
  • Rickettsial Diseases
  • Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Disease)
  • Mycoplasma Infection
  • Yersiniosis (Plague)

In cases of an extreme infestation, a flea infestation can also cause a cat or dog to become anemic due to the massive loss of blood.

Also read: Dog without half an ear and infested with fleas regains faith after spending years on the streets


Ticks don’t reproduce as quickly as fleas, and very rarely will you find a tick infestation in your home or on your pet. But with ticks, all it takes is one bite to cause lifelong damage.

Your pet may not feel a tick bite. If you’ve ever found a tick attached to your body after camping or hiking, you probably didn’t feel it either! But ticks can remain attached to the skin, feeding on the host’s blood, for days or even weeks. And the longer a tick is attached, the greater the risk of transmitting a deadly disease. 

There are many tick species that are common across the United States, including the American dog tick, brown dog tick, black-legged tick, Lone Star tick, and Gulf Coast tick. 

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The list of diseases spread by these ticks includes:

  • Lyme disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

These tick-borne diseases are extremely serious and can have devastating effects on your pet’s health. Symptoms of these illnesses include lethargy, fever, joint pain, anorexia, and even death.

Which Poses the Greater Threat: Fleas or Ticks?

Of course, in a perfect world, your pet will never come into contact with either of these parasites. But the fact remains that fleas and ticks are a threat to all animals—yes, even those who spend most of their lives indoors. So which should you be more worried about?

Although both fleas and ticks can transmit diseases to your pet, ticks pose the greater threat. This is because the illnesses they transmit are much more life threatening than those posed by ticks. 

How to Protect Your Cat and Dog from Parasites

Fleas and ticks may be dangerous, but there are measures you can take to protect your cat and dog. The first and most important thing you should do is start your pet on a monthly flea and tick prevention. Your veterinarian can recommend the best treatment for your pet.

Also read: Identifying & Controlling Your Dog’s Allergies

You should also check your pet regularly for both fleas and ticks, especially after your pet has been outdoors. Even if your pet has only been in your yard, it’s very possible they could be picking up these parasites from neighboring pets or wildlife. 

Finally, educate yourself on the signs of flea- and tick-borne diseases. If you notice your pet displaying any of the heartworm symptoms in dogs or cats, you should take them to the vet immediately.

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With a little bit of education and a few precautions, you can help protect your pet from both fleas and ticks.

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