The best method of flea and tick treatment is preventing your pet from getting them in the first place! Yet, with so many different options out there, it’s difficult to know what type of flea and tick preventives are right for your pet. Here are a few things to know to prevent these pests from making a home on your pet:
Parasites are attracted to weak animals. A good defense is to keep your pet healthy and their immune system strong.
Make your home and yard inhospitable to pests. This entails vacuuming your home, mowing your lawn and washing your pet’s bedding.
Inspect your pet for ticks at least once a day and if you identify fleas, use a flea comb to remove them.
Note: If your pets get either fleas or ticks, consider both your home and pets infested and work swiftly to avoid a larger problem. If any of your pets have had fleas or ticks, there can be more of them in your home.
Now that you’ve taken the steps to keep your yard and home flea and tick free, let’s talk about the various products available to keep your pets healthy. Spot-on treatments, sprays and oral medications are the most common and effective means of flea and tick treatment. Some are solely preventative, others treat existing flea and tick health issues, and some do both! Keep in mind that most of these products are not recommended for dogs and cats under 6 weeks of age.
Oral Flea and Tick Control
Oral medications are a lot more effective and are useful in that they provide protection for your dog’s entire body, whereas sprays and rinses might leave some areas of your dog vulnerable to fleas and ticks. There are some oral medications that are made to only protect from ticks, and others that will protect your dog only from fleas, and some that will protect your pet from both. At Animal Health Center, we currently use both three month and one month duration flea/tick oral products. The names of these products are Bravecto (3 month), NexGard (1 month) and Simparica (1 month). As with all medications, be sure to read the directions carefully and consult your veterinarian, as dosages differ from one medication to the next.
Frontline Plus and Revolution are two spot-on treatment brands that we offer that you may recognize. Both are sold in monthly doses and you apply the liquid in each dose to the skin of your pet's back once a month. They're relatively inexpensive, generally have no side effects and are easy to apply. This product prevents fleas and ticks from hosting on your pet, and will kill them when they try. There are some differences among popular spot-on treatments, so consult your veterinarian when choosing the best option for your pet.
Sprays are another useful product for both flea and tick prevention and treatment, although they are only useful in very specific situations such as using with small/young puppies, kittens and alongside other treatments with existing infestations. Sprays kill fleas and ticks on contact, while working to prevent their eggs from hatching. While alcohol-based sprays are usually highly effective, they can have unwanted side effects in certain pets. Always read the package information or consult with your veterinarian for instructions on use and any possible interactions with other flea and tick products and medications.
Talk with your vet with any questions about these treatments and stop in at one of our four Animal Health Center locations to receive 10% of flea and tick preventives this month.