While the fall season has officially begun, the need to protect four-legged friends from parasites lingers with the season's warm weather. Goodnewsforpets, the original online home of animal health news, offers pet owners these facts and tips to keep their pets free of parasites.

-- Fleas are the most common external parasite in cats and dogs. Fleas prosper in warm, humid environments and feed on the blood of their hosts.

-- Whether your pet joins you outside or not, it is important to continue active parasite prevention. If your pet is not currently on prevention, consult your veterinarian.

-- Always keep your pet's bedding and carpet inside your home clean and well vacuumed. These areas can be breeding grounds for pests and can perpetuate an infestation if not kept clean.

-- Signs of fleas on your pet include hair loss, scratching, an unusual amount of biting and licking and black specs on your pet's skin and coat. Reactions to fleas range from dermatitis to anemia, which, in severe cases, can lead to death in small dogs and puppies.

-- Pet owners need to be aware of the American dog tick, the most common tick found on pets. Ticks thrive in heavily wooded areas and areas with high grass. Whenever possible, check your pet for ticks by running your hands through his or her coat and take notice of any irregular bumps. The American dog tick is also the primary carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially fatal disease for humans.

For more information on fleas, ticks and other animal health-related news, visit goodnewsforpets.

Goodnewsforpets has been a leading source of animal health-related news since 2000 with more than 300,000 visits a month. The site features original animal health columns, up-to-date news releases, veterinary conference information and links to popular associations.

Goodnewsforpets is published by Kansas City-based animal health communications agency Germinder & Associates, germinder.

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