How to choose the best flea and tick prevention for your pets

There are many products that can help in the fight. Some protect against fleas or only against ticks. Others offer protection against both. Some, in addition to fleas and ticks, add protection against other parasites, such as lice or mosquitoes. There are those that focus on immediately killing parasites that are already in your pet, but offer no long-term protection. Deciding which one works best for your pet depends on your pet’s needs and its specific environment.

Your vet will make a recommendation based on a number of factors: where you live, the health of your dog, and other pets and children in the home. This may sound complicated, but it comes down to two actions: killing fleas and ticks on your pet right now, and preventing fleas and ticks from attacking in the future.

Killing fleas right now

If your pet has fleas right now, you can try medicated shampoos and sprays, or a quick kill pill that works within a few hours. Then proceed with the preventatives.

Killing ticks right now

If your pet has ticks, remove the attached ones. If you see one, look for other ticks that are crawling or attached to another part of your pet. Check your pet’s head and neck area very closely, as this seems to be a common spot where ticks bite.

Keep them from coming back: preventive

The second part of fighting fleas and ticks is keeping them from coming back. These drugs are called preventives. A popular preventive method is a topical medication that is applied directly to your pet’s skin once a month. Read the label. Not all topical medications are the same. A product that is sold in stores, for example, works for dogs, but is harmful for cats. You must know the difference to know what products you need for your pet and how to apply the product. Protection is extended by putting oils on the pet’s fur. To apply, remove the fur and apply the product directly to the skin, starting with a spot on the neck and then one or two more spots on the back. Apply the liquid in places where your pet is unlikely to lick himself. In a couple of days the medication will spread and your pet will be protected throughout his body.

The best time to apply topical medication is at night, just before your pet goes to sleep and the children are in bed. There are a few hours in that time for the liquid to start working before your pet moves or children start playing with it. Also, it is a good idea not to wash your pet for a couple of days before or after applying the medication so that the oils remain on the coat.

Other topicals are applied to the skin, but are absorbed directly into your pet’s bloodstream. If you choose this method, you only need to apply the liquid in one place, on the upper part of the shoulders or on the back of the neck. After applying any topical, wash your hands and do not touch the wet stain.

Protective collars are another way to keep fleas and ticks away from your pet. You should change the protective collars approximately every three months.

Sprays may be another option. Read the directions on the bottle or can.

Talk to your vet

Your veterinarian will customize a flea and tick prevention program that works best for your pet and family where you live. Enjoy the season with healthy, parasite-free pets!

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