San Diego, California (NAPSI) - While there are many reasons to be happy about mild weather, dog owners know that warmer days can put their dogs at an increased risk for flea and tick infestation. Flea and tick bites are not just annoying. These pesky bites can expose dogs to a number of parasite-borne diseases.

Itchy fleabites can turn into open sores from constant scratching and lead to infections and serious skin problems.

Tick bites can transmit Lyme disease, which in dogs can cause joint damage, kidney, heart and nervous system damage. People can get infected, too.

The best way to solve a flea and tick problem is to prevent one. Being proactive is the best practice and a comprehensive system of pest prevention is the most effective. Some people may try to save money by not buying treatments for their pets but that can lead to spending more on veterinarian and doctor bills later.

A comprehensive system involves treating not just your dog, but also your home and, if necessary, your yard.

Start by protecting your dog. Make it a year-round practice to use flea and tick topical drops or a collar. Just because parasites are more prevalent during the warmer months does not mean your dog is not at risk during the rest of the year.

If you find yourself with a flea problem, act quickly, as this can turn into a full-blown infestation in no time. Here is a handy solution checklist:

• Topical drops. Take care of your pet with a flea & tick treatment such as Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® flea & tick treatment for dogs. This treatment will provide immediate relief by starting to kill fleas within 15 minutes and will last a full 30 days.

• Deflea your home. Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, which only breed outdoors, fleas can thrive indoors. Female fleas start producing eggs 24 to 48 hours after taking their first blood meal and can lay up to 50 eggs per day. These eggs are laid on your dog and easily fall off onto bedding, carpets, furniture and everything else your dog comes in contact with. Where your dog rests and sleeps becomes a primary habitat for eggs and developing fleas.

Treat your home with products that kill adult fleas plus flea eggs and flea larvae, breaking the flea life cycle.

Should you find a widespread infestation, use a home fogger to alleviate the problem.

• Don’t forget your yard. The final step in a complete pest management system is taking care of your yard, a place where fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can be prevalent.

Ticks find their hosts by climbing on grass, shrubs and other outposts. To fully protect your dog, be sure to use products such as Hartz UltraGuard Yard Spray to eliminate multiple types of pests outside your home.

For over 85 years, Hartz Mountain has provided products to keep pets healthy. An Ask The Vet section on its site can answer pet-related questions.

For more information, visit www.hartzultraguard.com.