Dog & Cat Care: Protect Your Furry Friends from Fleas
Dan Levenson April 28, 2020
Dealing with fleas and ticks are two of the most frequent pet owner concerns in America. During the warm summer months when your pet is frolicking around outside, you may be noticing an influx of these dangerous pests. Read on for more information on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, how you can best prevent these parasites from making a home on your fur baby, and when it’s time to consult with a veterinary professional.
1. Know the Signs
It’s important to not only know the symptoms of a flea or tick infestation but also to act as quickly as possible if and when you do notice the signs. Below we’ve included a brief overview of each parasite, including ways for you to tell when your furry friend is suffering.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), fleas are the most common external parasite to plague companion animals. “They are wingless insects that feed on blood, can jump up to two feet high and are persistent in the environment.” This means that even if you have a well-kept yard and check your pet each time when he or she comes inside, there’s a chance fleas will still be contracted by your animal.
You’ll know if your cat or dog has fleas if they begin itching more than usual, sometimes uncontrollably, and if you spot small pieces of “flea dirt” (flea droppings) in their fur coat. You may even be able to see fleas themselves crawling on your animal’s skin and hiding in its hair.
Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their unlucky hosts, which can be cats, dogs, or many other animals (including humans). Although often their presence isn’t even noticed by the host animal, ticks can transmit many diseases with each bite.
You’ll know if your dog or cat has ticks because they are almost always visible to the naked eye. By checking your pet regularly, especially if you live in an area where ticks are common or that has long grass, you’ll be able to find any ticks that may be hiding in your pet’s fur. Make sure you check your pet all over by running your hands carefully through his fur whenever he comes inside, being particularly careful around the ears, head, and feet.
2. Use Preventative Medications
There are a lot of preventative flea and tick medications on the market. As always, make sure you read all enclosed instructions in the box and, depending on your pet’s age and size, consult with your vet before administering any oral or topical medications.
Frontline Plus Topical Flea and Tick Treatment
Frontline is one of the most popular over-the-counter preventative flea and tick medications out there. Whether you have a large cat or small dog, Frontline has multiple offerings of its treatment to match the type and size of animal you are treating. It is a monthly topical treatment that is safe and works to exterminate all life stages of fleas, ticks, and lice.
Bayer Advantage II Topical Flea Treatment
Bayer’s Advantage is another leading brand that deals with flea prevention on large and small animals. It is another monthly topical treatment, like Frontline Plus, and similarly kills all adult fleas as well as flea larvae. It does not, however, offer protection from ticks.
3. Consult With Your Vet
Whether you simply need a second opinion when it comes to choosing a preventative medication, you want to pursue other medications that aren’t available over the counter, or you’d like to bring your pet in for professional grooming services, consulting your veterinarian should always remain an option when finding the best course of treatment for your furry loved one.