At Trinity Pet Hospital, we recommend keeping all pets on a monthly medicated flea and tick preventative. Many pet owners contact us with questions about which preventative medication is most effective and safest for use with their pet, whether at-home remedies are effective, and what to do if they think their pet has fleas or ticks. Below, our veterinary team compiled five of the most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see an answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact our team for more information.
#1: Why is flea and tick prevention important?
Fleas and ticks are more than just pesky parasites that cause your pet to itch. A single fleabite can cause an allergic reaction that lasts for up to one week. Fleas can carry parasitic worms; ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. While fleas and ticks are most common during the warmer summer months, they can affect pets at any time.
#2: What should I do if I think my pet has fleas?
Severe inflammation and itching are the first symptoms of flea allergies. If your pet is frequently itching or scratching at his skin, he could have fleas. Fleas can also cause “hot spots”, which are zones on the skin where a pet has itched or bitten the skin so much that the skin has become red and inflamed. In some cases, broken hairs, oozing or crusty sores may even be present. To check your pet for ticks and fleas, have your pet stand outside over a white sheet. Run a fine-tooth comb through your pet’s fur. Any fleas will fall off on the white towel and appear as black specs. If you think your pet might have fleas, contact our veterinarian immediately. Our veterinary team will recommend the appropriate flea treatment for your pet.
#3: Are at-home remedies effective for flea prevention?
While at-home remedies have become increasingly popular in recent years, our veterinarian strongly recommends medicated flea and tick prevention products. Flea and tick prevention products are safe for use on puppies and kittens as young as three months of age. The dosage size depends on your pet’s weight. Our veterinarian is happy to discuss different flea and tick prevention products to help you decide on the right product for your pet.
#4: What happens if I find a tick on my dog?
Ticks are the most common parasite that can be found virtually anywhere from urban dog parks to wooded countryside. Check your pet regularly after playing outside for ticks. If you find a tick, use sterilized tweezers to remove it.
#5: How can I prevent fleas and ticks?
The best way to prevent fleas and ticks is with a monthly, medicated treatment. In addition to keeping your pet on a monthly, medicated flea/tick preventative, you should also practice good grooming. A dirty, mangled coat increases the risk for fleas and ticks. Regular baths will keep your pet’s coat clean and help prevent these pesky parasites from entering your home.