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Flea & Tick Defense: A Guide to Protecting Your Pet from Pests

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Summer comes with a lot of perks: more hours of sunlight, more time for family vacations, and, of course, more outdoor activities with our four-legged friends! 

Of course, we need to take the proper precautions for many of those outdoor activities. No one wants their doggo to deal with sunburn, water-related ear issues, or itchy, irritated skin as a result of pesky bug bites

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take as a pet owner to ensure that your dog has a safe, enjoyable summer that’s as pest-free as possible. Keep reading to learn more!

Common Pests That Can Pester Your Pet

As humans, we tend to think of bug bites as itchy, annoying inconveniences. However, bug bites on dogs can range from mildly irritating to seriously concerning. 

Common summer insects and pests that can pester your pet include: 


These tiny, irritating critters are infamous for jumping onto our pets’ bodies from the yard or around the home, resulting in itchy, irritated skin. Some dogs are even allergic to flea saliva, meaning that fleas can be a culprit of your dog’s seasonal allergies

Dog fleas are often found around the head, neck, and base of the tail. Flea bites may also be evidenced by clusters of small red bites in the folds of the skin or on the belly. 


Ticks, like fleas, are especially active during the warmer months—this doesn’t mean you should skip year-round flea and tick defense, though. Ticks are typically found in tall grass or thick brush and can latch onto your dog’s skin or fur upon contact. 

If still attached to your dog’s skin, a tick should be relatively easy to identify. Otherwise, you may notice a small red bite left behind that resembles a mosquito bite. Because ticks can transmit serious health issues to our pets (and us!), it’s a good idea to make a visit to your vet if you find evidence of ticks on your dog. 


Mites are tiny, barely visible pests that burrow and chew their way into your poor doggo’s skin. As a result, you’ll typically notice the effects of mites before you notice the mites themselves. 

Mites and fleas result in similar effects: swelling, hair loss, redness, and lots and lots of itching. 

Signs of Bug Bites on Dogs

If you spend a lot of time outside with your dog in the summer—especially in grassy, woodsy areas—you’ll want to pay extra close attention to any signs of bug bites on your pup. 

For example: 

  • Itching, scratching or biting the skin
  • Hair loss, especially around the neck and tail
  • Small red bumps on the skin

You may also be able to identify the creepy crawlies themselves. You may see “flea dirt,” or back specks on your dog’s skin that look similar to coffee grounds; if a tick is still attached to your dog’s skin, it’ll be relatively easy to identify.
It’s also important to note that some of these pests can transmit diseases, so be aware of any other signs of sickness, too. You know Fido’s appearance and behavior best, so you’ll likely be able to tell pretty quickly if something seems “off.”

Protecting Your Pup from Fleas & Ticks

Bug bites on dogs aren’t just uncomfortable—both fleas and ticks can lead to serious health problems down the road if not addressed. 

In order to keep your pet as pest-free as possible, take the following steps on a regular basis: 

  • Thoroughly clean your home. This includes washing bedding, vacuuming carpets and furniture, and removing any debris in your yard or garage that could be a prime hiding spot for fleas.

  • Keep your backyard tidy and well-maintained. Keep your lawn mowed, leaves raked, and shrubs trimmed. You may also want to invest in some flea-repelling plants such as catnip, marigolds, rosemary, and sage.

  • Conduct regular home health checks to inspect your dog’s skin and coat for any abnormalities.

  •  Keep your dog clean and fresh. This includes regular brushing and bathing, and possibly giving Fido a shorter summer cut to make his fluffy coat less appealing to ticks.

  • Visit the vet for regular checkups (and stay up-to-date on those vet-recommended flea and tick treatments).

  • Give your pup some supplemental support. For example, garlic can make your dog less appealing to pests, and coconut oil can make it harder for them to latch onto his skin. 

You can also find garlic and coconut oil (among other natural ingredients) in Pet Honesty’s Flea & Tick Defense chews. These tasty chews act as a natural complement to chemical pest repellants, providing a natural defense against fleas and ticks. While they’re at it, these chews can also boost your dog’s joints, skin, and immune health!