Let’s face it, fleas and ticks are the stuff nightmares are made of. If they serve a higher purpose, other than grossing us out, I haven’t been able to find it. It’s best to just prevent them from ever becoming a problem. There’s a lot of different ways to treat and many different options. So, making the decision is really a matter of preference and what you are willing to “stick with” to keep your pets parasite free. This article covers treatments for your dogs or cats. Controlling them in the yard and around the house will be covered in later articles.
“Spray-on” flea and tick products are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and will often prevent and treat infestations. Spray-on products come in a variety of different formulations and you can easily find organic and chemical-based formulas. There are even some DIY spray formulas. The chemical or organic formulations each have their own benefits and drawbacks. The peace of mind when using an organic product can’t be understated. However, chemical sprays will last longer after application. Sprays are best used just before your pet is going into an area where infestation may occur. The lead time for the application can vary from product to product, and many of them will need to be re-applied after swimming. If you are going to spend a lot of time in potentially infested areas this can be a bit of hassle, as they will need to be re-applied more often than other products.
Application tip: Apply your spray onto a towel first. You can use the towel to get the product onto your pet without risking application getting into your pet’s eyes or mouth. Even an organic product may cause irritation if applied to these sensitive areas.
Flea and tick collars have made a bit of a resurgence over the last few years. Mainly from the Bayer product called Soresto. Collars were a very cheap way to keep your pet flea and tick free. There are a few organic collars that focus on repellency rather than killing. The cheaper versions of flea and tick collars use a very old chemical, the more expensive collars and variations are using some very new chemicals that appear to be much safer for pets. A newer take on the collar is the Spectra Shield Medallion. These control for a long time and claim to have an almost none existent level of toxicity. As I mentioned above there are no organic versions of collars so if you are leery of chemicals, this is not the solution for you. The greatest benefit to a collar or medallion is the continuous control they provide. The Soresto collar and Spectra Sure Medallion claim to control for 4-8 months.
Application tip:Flea and Tick collars need to be somewhat loose fitting. It is the movement that helps move the chemical over your pet’s body.
Spot-on treatments have been popular over the last decade. Like collars, I haven’t heard of any organic spot-on treatments. There are a few different products to choose from, and many opinions concerning their effectiveness. Bio-spot, Advantix, and a new brand locally made in Eagle called Pet Lock (available this May) are some of the more popular brands available. In general, spot-on treatments last for about a month, they are often sold in three-to-four month packages. Over the years there have been a few reports of dogs reacting negatively to spot-on treatments. Usually, they are associated with hair loss at the application site(s) and don’t seem to be widespread. Spot-on treatments are easy to use and after application can pretty much be forgotten about.
Application tip: Apply outdoors and have a towel ready, as the liquid can sometimes be a bit runny. You will also want to apply at least a day before you go into infested areas so the product has time to travel around your pet’s body.
This is just a quick rundown of the three of the major categories in the flea and tick control world. I didn’t cover the edible flea and tick controls. They are fairly new and I just don’t know enough about them.