Finding the Best Spot-On Treatment for Your Pet
For centuries, fleas and ticks have feasted on dogs, sometimes for generations of the little pests, spreading disease, causing allergic reactions and being generally annoying. And your dog isn't always the only one who suffers, as anyone who's become personally infested can tell you.
Luckily, the problem can be cured. But with so many preventative solutions and remedies available, it can be difficult to determine which treatment, whether spot-on, topical or shampoo, is best for your situation. Identifying your dog's specific needs and reviewing the options available can go a long way to helping both of you enjoy a pest-free lifestyle!
Flea and Tick Basics:
- Fleas are insects, while ticks are arachnids.
- Both carry and cause disease, in humans as well as dogs.
- Some of these diseases can be fatal.
- Fleas are wingless, and jump from host to host.
- Ticks must be attached to a host for more than 24 hours before a disease is transmitted.
- Fleas reproduce rapidly, so it's not enough to simply remove them; you must break the flea life cycle.
Spot-On Flea and Tick Treatment FAQs:
- Spot-on flea treatments are often applied monthly.
- Treatments come in liquid form.
- Waterproof options are available.
- Some brands are safe for use on puppies as young as 7-8 weeks old.
- Treatments are often applied at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades.
- In addition to fleas, many brands protect against other parasites including ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies and lice.
- Some spot-on solutions stop the flea growth cycle, preventing eggs, pupa and larva from maturing into adult biters.
- If your dog seems to have an adverse reaction to the treatment, stop using it and consult your veterinarian immediately.
Flea and Tick Shampoo FAQs:
- Flea shampoos are applied to your dog's entire body.
- Several flea shampoos can be applied more than once a month.
- Select flea shampoos can also help soothe itchy or irritated skin.
- Pesticide-free shampoos or shampoos that use natural ingredients to fight fleas are available.
- Shampoos can eliminate adult fleas as well as other pests, including ticks, lice, and mites.
- Use of a flea shampoo can help you evaluate the severity of a flea problem based on the number of dead fleas found during bath time.
- Use a flea comb during shampooing to maximize flea removal.
Home and Yard FAQs:
- Treating your yard can help reduce the risk of flea and tick infestation.
- While treating your yard, focus on areas around a doghouse or kennel, around and under decks, along fences, and close to the house foundation.
- Flea eggs often fall into carpeting and fabric-based furniture. If you have either, keep them regularly vacuumed and cleaned.
- Indoor premise sprays can eliminate or reduce the risk of re-infestation. Look for formulas containing adulticides (for adult fleas) as well as IGRs (insect growth regulators) to stop eggs, pupa and larva from maturing.
- Cut tall grass, remove all weeds, trim bushes and shrubs, and rake away leaf litter.
Tick and flea species vary depending on where you live, as do the diseases they spread, and the times in which they tend to proliferate. Consult your veterinarian first, and be sure to follow up on preventive methods to keep your dog happy and protected. Also, never use a flea or tick product meant for dogs on a cat, or yourself.
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