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One of the most effective flea and tick control options on the market are Frontline and Advantage - topical "spot" medications that are used on your dog once per month. This type of treatment kills adult fleas and younger fleas or pupae during development.
It lasts between three and four weeks and is less toxic and more effective than most treatments available.
The pros for products like these are their effectiveness and ease of use.
Cons are that you can't bathe your dog for 2 days after treatment, they are not always effective for large dogs, and you should beware if you have small children. Make sure you apply the treatment far away from little hands and fingers!
Additionally, these treatments are not "repellants" so parasites will bite or attach before they die.
There are many things you can do around the house to help with flea control. If you have found fleas in your home, begin with a good cleaning.
Start with vacuuming where your dog sleeps and spends the most time. If there are fleas about, this is most likely where they and their eggs will be. You may want to lay a clean old towel down where your dog like to sleep and wash it as much as once per day.
You will also want to treat entrances and exits that your pets use frequently and any areas in the garden of which your dog is fond or that maintain a moist wet environment - an ideal flea hatching climate. (Make sure your throw the vacuum bag away outside of the house!)
Finally, you may need to treat your entire home and you can do this with a flea fogger or an exterminator. The best way to deal with a flea and tick problem is to prevent any infestation in the first place!!
Flea and tick control is not only important for your dog's overall health, and it is also important to you. Your dog, when not protected, is open to:
* Lyme disease (from deer tics)
* Skin bacterial infections (from flea bites and the concurrent side effects)
* Skin allergies (many dogs have skin allergies to flea waste
* Heart worm (which can be contracted from mosquitos)
Additionally, these parasites can make your home uncomfortable and pose a health risk to you and your family. Not only are the bites from fleas irritating, but you can contract Lyme disease from deer ticks that travel easily on your dog after a run in the woods.
Flea and tick control in your home requires regular cleaning and maintenance, and the same goes for your dog. Do your research on potential homeopathic and alternative treatments that will keep your home and your pet pest free.
* To remove a tick attached to your dog, use finely pointed tweezers and grasp the tick's head or mouth parts right near the dog's body. Pull steadily outward to remove. Don't grab or squeeze the tick's body as that can force disease-causing substances into the dog.
The Pros of Advantage:
• Ease of use. Advantage packaging is simple and the instructions are well done and easy to follow.
• You can use Advantage whenever you want. (i.e. no bathing restrictions)
• Advantage is a little less expensive if you use the product as the manufacturer recommends.
The Pros of Frontline:
• Frontline is longer lasting. When you are using Frontline for flea control in dogs, it is actually good for about three months. More frequent application instructions are related to tick protection more than just flea protection.
• If you use Frontline every month, it does a good job of tick control but it does allow ticks to attach and you still may have to remove the ticks individually from your dog.
• Frontline is much harder to wash off, which means fewer application on dogs that get regular baths at home or like to spend time in the water.
• If you use Frontline every two months (less than recommended by the manufacturer but arguably as effective), it is less expensive.
Cons of Frontline
• You should not bathe your dog for three days before application, or for three days after.
• The packaging is more cumbersome and complicated and your vet will usually have to give you additional instructions to make the application location and guidelines clearer.
Other monthly flea and tick control products include:
• Hartz Control
• Sargeant's Pretect
• Zodiac Spot-on
These products all contain an insecticide called permethrin, a frequently used flea spray ingredient. This, like flea collars, is a good preventative option but if your dog already has a flea problem, Frontline or Advantage are a better bet. Additionally, Advantage and Frontline are safe puppies.
From the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are deworming guidelines for pets:
* Puppies: Initiate treatments at 2 weeks, repeat at 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age.
* Kittens: Begin treatment at 6 weeks, repeat at 8 and 10 weeks of age.
Deworming history of newly acquired puppies or kittens should be obtained to determine whether additional deworming is needed.
* Nursing dams: Treat concurrently with pups or kittens.
* Adult dogs and cats: Treat regularly for prevention. Also monitor and eliminate parasites in pet's environment.
* Newly acquired animals: Worm immediately, after 2 weeks, then follow above recommendations.
**Be sure to have your dog check regularly for parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia and fleas. An infestation of parasites can reduce your dog's health. Follow your veterinarians advice on proper treatment.
If you live in a region with mosquitos, take action against potential heartworm disease in your dog. A female mosquito transmits the disease-causing parasite when biting a dog. Both indoor and outdoor dogs are at risk. Have your dog tested for heartworm, then set up a prevention plan with your veterinarian.
Heartworm disease is easily preventable with these three little steps: a trip to the veterinarian, a blood test and heartworm medication. Make sure you give the medication as directed to avoid this deadly disease.
Proactive flea and tick control begins with grooming your dog. You should brush your dog frequently to dislodge or remove fleas and ticks that are hitching a ride on your dog's fur coat.
Additionally, you can do a spot check of your dog's skin for any parasites that may have latched on. If your dog has a thick undercoat, you may want to consider having it clipped for the summer so you can more readily maintain your dog's skin and coat. If you find any unusual bumps on your dog's skin, you should get this checked out as it could be a tick, but it could also be something more serious.
Feel free to bathe your dog as frequently as you like but try to use unscented shampoos or those that use eucalyptus (another natural bug repellant). Finally, there are natural flea and tick repellants that you can feed your pet, like garlic and brewer's yeast.
*To give your dog quick relief from itching caused by flea bites, rub an 8-inch patch on the dog's back with cooking oil and then rub in some garlic powder.
If you haven't had to deal with a flea infestation or flea control, you may only know about products like flea sprays, flea powders, flea collars and flea dips. Here is a rundown on what is effective and what really does no good.
Flea powders and flea sprays and topical remedies for your home and sometimes the dog itself. These products are not really very effective and many of the “old school” products contain pesticides and poisons that may make your dog sick. Products like Frontline spray work better, are safer for your dog, and cost about the same (they may in fact cost less because they are so much more effective in the long run).
Flea dips are offered only for dogs because they are not considered safe for cats. Flea dip is a good choice for big dogs, because larger dogs are harder to treat with spot or spray flea control. When you are ready to “dip” your dog, you will need to treat his or her entire body from nose to tail, about every three weeks throughout the spring and summer (prime flea season). Bear in mind that flea dip is a pretty stinky process so it may not be a good option for indoor dogs. Small dogs should be effectively treated with Frontline or Advantage.
Flea collars are cost effective and solid proactive flea control option. If you're pet already has an active flea infestation in his or her coat, it is really too late for flea collars. Additionally flea collars can smell funny and are not great for dogs that are around small kids who love to grab onto collars and promptly suck on their fingers.
*To eliminate fleas and ticks the natural way, give a dog each day 1 heaping tablespoon of brewer's yeast per 50 pounds of dog and 1 clove of garlic.
Flea season arrives with spring each year, and dog owners need to be ready to deal with this pest. Talk with your veterinarian for safe, effective flea control. This is important both for the health of your dog and often for the health of family members. Both can suffer from flea bites.
* When fleas are biting and you can't get to the store right away, sprinkle some salt on your pet's bedding -- this is where the fleas are infested -- and also on carpets and chairs. The flea problem will be reduced.
If you are protecting your dog with Advantage of Frontline, and you live in a climate with a large number of mosquitoes, you may be wondering how to treat your pet to protect him or her from heartworm laden mosquito bites. There are pet bug spray products available to supplement the topical flea and tick treatments.
One option is UltraSpray Bug Spray by Best Shot. This is an all natural products containing essential oils and herbs including citronella, eucalyptus and peppermint. This can be used for both dogs and horses and depends wholly on organic means to repel insects. This means it's really safe for everyone!
Bug'N Out is another non toxic and chemical free bug spray available on the market. This spray uses mainly citronella as its main ingredient. This product is accompanied by herbal shampoos and conditioner's which are also organic and focus on cleanliness and insect repellent.
You will find many other repellents on the market and it is recommended that you stick with the organic ones. This is because pesticides are considered poisonous and may hurt your pet. Additionally, if you or your kids like to pet and hug your dog (we sure hope you do!) then you may not want to come away with a lot of bug spray of pesticides on you! You should look for several of the following ingredients: Citronella, Neem, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Orange Oil and Tea Tree Oil.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|