Dogs need flea and tick preventative year round, but warmer weather puts them at higher risk of becoming a flea market or a tick’s favorite campground. With spring and warmer temperatures on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your dog’s treatment options.
Here’s how to choose the best flea and tick preventative for your furry friend!
What factors should you consider when choosing flea and tick prevention for your dog?
- Age: Puppies under a certain age may be unable to tolerate certain medications, while older dogs may have weakened immune systems and require a different prevention strategy. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which option is best for your dog.
- Medical history: Dogs with pre-existing medical conditions may be more sensitive to some flea and tick preventatives. Additionally, dogs on other medications may not be able to take certain flea and tick preventatives due to potential drug interactions.
- Coat type: Dogs with long, thick coats may require a different prevention option than those with short, thin coats. For example, a topical treatment may be more effective for pets blessed with long locks, as a flea and tick collar may not penetrate through the fur to reach the skin.
- Lifestyle: Adventure-loving pooches who spend a lot of time outdoors may require a more robust flea and tick prevention plan than those that spend most of their time indoors. Plus, if your dogs love to swim, they may require a water-resistant flea and tick preventative.
- Location: Flea and tick infestations vary by geographic location. Do you live in an area with a high tick population? Then your dog may require a different preventative than those that live in areas with a high prevalence of fleas.
What are your preventative options?
- Collars: Flea and tick collars — such as Seresto and Hartz UltraGuard — are a popular choice for dog owners because they are convenient, affordable, and offer long-lasting protection. They work by releasing a chemical that repels fleas and ticks. However, some dogs may develop skin irritation from the chemicals, so it’s important to monitor them closely when using a flea and tick collar.
- Topical: Topical flea and tick treatments — like Frontline Plus, Advantix, and Advantage — provide up to a month of protection. Simply apply them on your dog’s skin, usually between their shoulder blades, and they repel or kill any fleas and ticks that come into contact with your dog’s skin. Topical treatments are generally safe and well-tolerated by most dogs, but those with sensitive skin may experience allergic reactions. Also, if your dog goes swimming or gets wet, there’s a chance the medication could be washed off and lose its effectiveness.
- Oral: Oral medications — such as NexGard, Bravecto, and Simparica — are little pills or chewable tablets that pack a big punch, quickly wiping out any pesky pests that might try to hitch a ride on your pet. And the best part? You don’t have to wrestle with your pup to apply a messy topical treatment or worry about getting residue all over your furniture. Of course, just like with any medication, some pups may experience side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. Some oral medications might not also repel fleas or ticks, so it’s better to use them with other preventatives.
- Natural: Some dog owners prefer to use natural remedies for flea and tick prevention as an alternative to harsh chemicals. These remedies include essential oils, diatomaceous earth, and even apple cider vinegar. They are often applied directly to the dog’s coat or added to their food or water. While the natural approach may be safe, it may not be as effective at preventing fleas and ticks as traditional treatments.
When it comes to preventing fleas and ticks from spoiling the fun for your furry friend, remember that any of the prevention options available have a minor risk of side effects. But untreated fleas and ticks can be real party poopers, and the consequences can be much worse.
Always consult with your veterinarian to make sure you choose the proper preventative to keep those pesky parasites from getting in the way of a doggone good time!