Fleas and ticks may seem like an easy solve, but they can lead to bigger problems, like allergies, hot spots, and even tapeworms (adult fleas can contain their eggs). Prevention methods are more effective than treating after the fact, and are easier on your pet – ask your vet about medications as well as measures like keeping your pet inside during warmer months.
Options for flea and tick preventatives vary widely. Some are over-the-counter while many can be prescribed and administered by your veterinarian.
Preventative Flea and Tick Medication
- Topical Medications
Called “spot on” products, popular topical medicines include Advantage II, Frontline Plus, and Revolution. Administered by applying a drop of the medication on the back of the neck or shoulder blades, the medication is spread over the body through the sweat glands. They contain flea- and tick-killing ingredients as well as a repellant to keep pests off your pet’s body. In addition, sprays, powders, shampoos, and flea combs are also topically applied or administered – examples include Bio Spot Active Care, Resultix and FiproGuard Flea and Tick Spray for these options. A drawback with these methods, however, is that “you missed a spot” can actually be detrimental to flea control.
- Medicated Collars
They’ve been around for years but flea collars do still exist! While they are effective against repelling fleas, the medication on the collar can be hazardous to humans and children, so be careful not to touch the collar when petting your dog or cat. They also do not necessarily protect your pet from ticks, and you will have to seek out medications if you’d like to protect against all parasites.
- Oral Medications and Injectables
The most efficient way to prevent fleas and ticks (and more) is to visit your vet and get oral medication or a parasite controlling shot. Not only is the treatment more comprehensive, you don’t have to let it dry or worry about bathing or swimming. Side effects are a little more prominent with this type of prevention – pets can get sick with vomiting and diarrhea, as well as some skin reactions like redness, itching, and/or hives. Ask your vet for all the options in this category.
- Regularly vacuuming your carpet, rugs and even furniture, as well as washing your pet’s bedding, can keep fleas at bay post-treatment.
- Also, keep your pet away from wild animals and garbage as these areas may also harbor tapeworms and fleas.
- Be especially cognizant of your pet’s whereabouts during spring and summer, when parasites tend to flourish.
Flea and Tick Prevention in Puppies and Kittens
At your kitten’s or puppy’s first vet visit, talk with your vet about flea and tick prevention. For dogs, it usually is part of a multi-faceted medication that covers many parasites (fleas, ticks, hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, heartworm). Cats have slightly different options, but can also benefit from a dose to combat multiple parasites.
By enrolling your kitten or puppy in pet insurance as soon as you can, you are assured that if the preventative measures fail (which is possible!) or side effects and complications arise from parasites, your best buddy will be covered. Start by getting a quote today.