September 20, 2014
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Simpler ways to kill fleas, ticks
Ann Corvin

As the warm weather approaches, so do those pesky bugs that torment our pets. Fleas and ticks are out and about and looking to assault your furry friend. Luckily, there are some great products out there to kill and repel fleas. While things like flea collars, flea dips, flea shampoos and flea sprays and powders still exist; there are simpler ways to keep the flea and ticks under control.

Flea collars rarely work; they keep fleas away from the neck but not the rest of the body and usually do nothing for ticks. Flea dips kill whatever is on the dog but does not repel them; dips should never be used on cats, since they constantly groom themselves with their tongues. Flea shampoos also kill what’s on but don’t repel. Sprays and powders eradicate existing bugs and repel but they need to be reapplied often and should never be used on cats.

There are several top products out there, which are applied to the skin just above the shoulder blades. They need to be applied every 30 days. These are great because you don’t need to bathe and it kills fleas and ticks and repels them for 30 days as well. However, some of the products sold in department stores and supermarkets do not work. I recommend going to your vet to buy these products. Personally, I do not like to use anything new to the market. They haven’t been around long enough, and in some cases they pulled products after pets had reactions from them. I don’t like to use anything that kills everything short of the dog. That’s too strong and do not want to risk my pets having reactions from them. I use Advantage, Frontline or Revolution; they have been around for years and they work. Advantage works for fleas only while Frontline does fleas and ticks. Revolution does fleas and mites and prevents heartworm.

Never put a dog product on a cat. It could kill it. Make sure you have the right product, even if a vet tech hands it to you; people make mistakes.

Never put the wrong size on your pet. Make sure you have the right dose for weight. If you don’t know how much your pet weighs, take it to the vet. They don’t charge for that.

Never apply more than one product without checking with your vet. A dog should not be bathed for three days before or three days after application; it lessens the effectiveness of the product.

Apply the product from spring through fall; until the first frost hits, those little monsters are still out there and looking for a nice warm coat.

This doesn’t mean you will never see a flea. These products work when a flea bites the pet and soon dies. Don’t be alarmed if you happen to see a flea on your dog after a walk, it doesn’t mean the product is not working.

While most animals get itchy with fleas, there are some who are hypersensitive and have flea allergies. Just a couple of fleas can throw your pet into an itching frenzy. It is much more important to apply the product to them as directed. If your pet has fleas, don’t ignore it. It’s unbelievably uncomfortable for them and can create a host of other problems, such as secondary skin infections like staph and cat scratch fever, and anemia.

If you have an infestation in your home, you will need to apply the product for several months while you either “bomb” your house with special sprays (making sure living things are out of the house at the time), or you can spray the carpets, bedding and furniture for several weeks. If you are bombing, you’ll need to do it at least twice to stop the lifecycle of the fleas. For those of you who do not want anything synthetic, there are some natural products out there that may work. You can do some research online or talk with your vet. Veterinarians have information on alternatives. For pets with flea allergies, the best choice is the one that works.


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