As the temperature ramps up, so do insect populations, particularly fleas and ticks. These blood-sucking pests can do a number on your pet, not only by biting and causing irritation, but also by transmitting a variety of serious diseases. The best way to protect your pet—and your family—from flea and tick infestations is through year-round parasite prevention. Skipping a dose here and there leaves gaps in your pet’s flea and tick armor, allowing these pests to sneak in, and infect your furry pal with illness and disease. But, so many flea and tick preventive options are available, you may be overwhelmed with choices. So, how do you know which product is best for your pet? Simple—the best flea and tick preventive for your pet is the one you remember to give.
To help you choose a flea and tick prevention method for your four-legged pal, we’ve outlined the three main types—topical, oral, and collars. Each type offers pros and cons that can help you decide which product will work best for your pet, and their lifestyle.
Topical flea and tick preventives for your pet
Topical flea and tick preventives, which work well for many pets, offer a one- or three-month shield against parasites. For pets who are excellent at evading pills, topical preventives are a great alternative, because they are easy to apply, without the hassle of sticking a pill down your pet’s throat. Topical preventives have some downsides, including the following:
- They leave a greasy residue on your pet for 12 to 24 hours, which can get on clothes, bedding, or furniture
- Small children can come in contact with these preventives—this can be avoided by applying the product before leaving for work, or before bedtime
- They can cause a skin reaction on sensitive pets
- Other pets in the household can lick the preventive, leading to a toxicity case
- They are difficult to apply to thick-coated pets, because they must have contact with the skin
Overall, topical flea and tick preventives are ideal for pets who can sniff out a pill hidden in cheese, hot dogs, or tuna. Some products also contain heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention, offering additional protection options.
Oral flea and tick preventives for your pet
Similar to topical preventives, oral preventives can also protect your pet for one or three months from fleas and ticks. Heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention can also be found in all-in-one oral preventives. If your furry pal is a chowhound, and will scarf down anything hidden in a food dish, oral preventives are perfect. There’s no messy application or greasy residue with oral preventives, but there are a few drawbacks, such as:
- Some pets cannot tolerate oral preventives, and may experience vomiting or diarrhea
- Ensuring pets receive oral preventives can be challenging, particularly with cats, who are notoriously finicky about pills, including chewable tablets
- Pets can spit out their oral preventive when you’re not looking
Oral preventives are excellent for pets with good appetites, since they’re simple, easy-to-give products that provide great protection without a mess.
Flea and tick collars for your pet
In the past, flea and tick collars were poor options for parasite prevention. They were rarely effective, and if they did anything at all, usually kept only a strip of fur right around the collar parasite-free. Also, toxic reactions from these collars could cause considerable harm, especially in cats. Fortunately, a couple of veterinary-approved, high quality flea and tick collars without these negative side effects are now available. These collars last for months—one product claims up to eight months of flea and tick protection, and is safe for cats.
However, these better quality flea and tick collars present a few pitfalls. Namely, collars can easily break, or be chewed off, especially by another household pet. Some pets cannot tolerate collars, and will develop a skin reaction. Overall, flea and tick collars could be an ideal choice for your pet, provided you choose a high quality, veterinary-approved product.
Are you overwhelmed with the flea and tick prevention options available through the Mill Creek Animal Hospital online pharmacy? If so, call our team for personalized advice on choosing the best product, to keep your furry pal safe from parasitic infections.