Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Pets

Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Pets Deborah Y. Strauss, D.V.M

Summer is just around the corner, and that means fleas and ticks could be making your pets itchy and uncomfortable. Preventing infestation before it begins can diminish the chance of skin problems and infection in your household pets. In addition, keeping these pests off your pets can keep them out of your house.

There are now a plethora of products to choose from, including topical and injectable medications. You can work with your local vet to determine the best regimen for your pet, environment and schedule. Here are a few of the most common options.

Shampoos and Sprays

Shampoos and sprays are among the most common methods for preventing fleas and ticks. Some brands even kill fleas, ticks and mosquitos. Most products are recommended for pets older than 8-12 weeks. Your vet can help you decide on the best option for your pet. There are also all-natural products on the market. Keep in mind that you will need to apply the all-natural products more often for them to remain effective.

Topicals

We’ve all heard those catchy jingles advertising the latest brand in topical flea and tick prevention. Topicals are generally okay for animals above the age of 7-8 weeks. If a topical treatment is the best option for your pet, be sure to check if the product kills the adult pests while also controlling flea development. Most treatments are designed for monthly use.

Collars

Flea and tick collars are increasing in popularity because they last for months, making them convenient for busy pet owners. However, they sometimes need to be used in conjunction with other preventative medications, and can be potentially dangerous if small children or other dogs touch the collar. Additionally, a cat who isn’t used to wearing a collar may injure themselves trying to slip out of it. Your vet can help you weigh the pros and cons.

Other Methods

Depending on where you live, flea and tick medications may be necessary for your pets, but there are other ways to help. For example, you should have a well-kept yard and try to avoid bringing your pet to wooded, overgrown areas. You should also check your pets for fleas and ticks every day if they go outside. To check, part their fur with your fingers, even in between their toes and around the ears.

 

For concerns about fleas and ticks this season, talk to your pet’s veterinarian. If you notice that your pet is itchy, but you don’t notice any fleas, ticks or bumps, you should also call your vet. It is possible that your pet may have an allergy or other condition you should address.