Fleas and ticks can be big problems for our furry family members, and sometimes for our two-legged family members, too! The good news is that it’s not too complicated to keep our family (furry and otherwise) protected from these creepy crawlies.
There are many different options to protect your pets from fleas. We offer flea prevention in three forms – an pill that your pet takes, a topical ointment that you put on their skin, and a collar. All of these medications (except the collar) need to be given once a month, every 30 days.
Sometimes, choosing the right flea prevention for your pet involves some trial and error. Not every medication will work the same for every pet. Some people have great results with one brand, while the same medication might not work very well for your neighbor. The important thing is to be consistent, and give the same medication for at least three months before you change. With any of the types of flea prevention, fleas do need to actually get on your pet to get exposed to the medication. They will pick the medication up from your pet’s skin or from biting your pet. The fleas eat the medication when they groom themselves. The flea prevention medications will kill the adult fleas and make them sterile (so any eggs they lay before they die will not hatch). So seeing the occasional flea on your pet does not mean that the prevention medication is not working. However, if you see flea dirt or flea eggs (small, shiny, and white), this means either that your medication is not working, or that you have waited too long between doses.
The most important thing with any type of flea prevention is to continue your dosing every month. Most of the flea prevention medications come with stickers that you can put on your calendar to remind you. Do not wait until you see fleas on your pet to give the next dose of medication. Waiting too long will let new fleas come in and lay eggs, and you’ll be back to square one.
Ticks are a little harder to deal with than fleas. Most of the medications that kill ticks are also very dangerous to cats. In fact, Frontline Plus is the only tick prevention medication that can be used in cats. However, because cats are such good groomers, they rarely have problems with ticks.
Dogs are another story. We offer a variety of topical medications that will help protect your dog from fleas and ticks. We also recommend a collar that can help with tick prevention. Most of the collars that you can buy at the pet stores do not work very well against ticks. Most times, the medication is not distributed over your dog’s skin, it just stays near the collar and their neck. Whether you choose the topical ointments or a collar, the ticks do need to get on your dog to be exposed to the medication, but they will not bite your pet.
Many of the tick prevention medications also act as insect repellants. If your dog has problems with flies around his ears in the warm months, a tick prevention medication may also help keep the flies away.
Just like with your flea prevention medications, the most important thing with tick prevention medications is to remember to give the next dose at the same time every month. We know choosing the best flea or tick prevention medication for your pet can be confusing because there are so many options. Call us or come in to talk about which might be the best option for you and your pets.
Check out our Fleas Resource Page for even more information about fleas!