Last week we held a live chat on Facebook with Dr. Kristen Andrews to answer questions about flea and tick season. If you missed the chat, don’t worry, because we have some Dr. Andrews best tips and information here!
3 tips to help prevent ticks and fleas before they happen
1. Start prevention early.
2. Treat all pets in the household. Pets that go outdoors can bring pests into the home.
3. Have your yard and house sprayed for pests.
What to look for when choosing a tick and flea preventative for your pet
1. A preventative that also has a repellant, like VetGuard Plus/VetGuard for Cats.
2. Choose a preventative for cats that is formulated specifically for them. Never use your dog’s preventative on your cat!
3. Choose a product that protects the entire pet, by being topically applied.
4. Prevent flea eggs from developing into biting adults with a product that has an insect growth regulator like pryiproxyfen (which can be found in VetGuard Plus).
How to check your pet for ticks and what to do if they have them
1. Check your pet daily by running your hands through their coat. If you feel something, part the hair and see if it is a tick.
2. If you find a tick, remove it immediately. Wear gloves to keep from coming into contact with fluid from the tick. Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull the tick straight out. Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, or any other irritants. Clean the bite area afterwards and wash your hands.
3. Be sure to apply a tick preventative to kill any other ticks that you may have missed and reapply monthly. Have a pest control company check your yard for ticks and spray if necessary.
4. Notify your vet about the tick.
How to check for fleas on your pet and what to do if they have them
1. Fleas are a dark brown color, are about the size of a pin head, and can be seen by parting the hair and looking throughout the coat.
2. Look for flea “dirt”- these are black specks present in your pet’s coat found when parting the hair and looking throughout the coat.
3. Always consult your veterinarian before starting a treatment program as they can help you to select an appropriate treatment for your pet. They can also discuss medical problems that can occur from fleas such as flea allergies and tape worms.
4. Apply VetGuard Plus and VetGuard for Cats every month during the flea season for continued control.
5. You must treat not only the pets but also the environment. Don’t forget to treat your yard. There can be a large flea population just waiting to re-infest your pet and undo all your hard work.
Why does my pet still have ticks and fleas despite treatment?
There are many reasons why treatment may fail but here are a few:
1. Not applying the medication correctly. Make sure you applied the medication correctly and use the correct dose for their weight. Read all of the directions thoroughly.
2. Not treating all pets in the household. Be sure to treat all pets (inside and outside).
3. Not giving the medication time to work. Depending on the size of the pet and the oils on their skin, products like VetGuard Plus may take up to 24 to 48 hours for the product to be absorbed throughout your pet’s skin.
4. Not treating the environment, both inside and outside.
5. Waiting until after your pet is already infested to start treatment.