Flea Prevention

A brief overview of types of flea prevention available and how to flea-treat your pet using a topical medication

If there’s one thing that even cats and dogs can agree on, it’s this: no one likes fleas! They make your pet itchy and uncomfortable and can be a pain to get rid of. That’s why monthly flea preventives are so important. By preventing an infestation before it begins, you can save yourself and your pet a lot of trouble.

istock_000002937031small_microscopic-flea
Fleas are visible on your pets as small moving black dots and are great jumpers.

No matter what flea product you use, proper application and consistency of use are the two most important points. Make sure that whatever you’re using, you’re using it correctly – both in how, and how often, you’re putting it on or giving it. Oral chewable medications can be a good choice if your animal likes treats, since most of them are beef or liver-flavored, making your pet think that they’re getting a tasty treat! Topical flea treatments can be a littler trickier, especially for head-shy dogs and cats. Topical flea treatments don’t work unless they’re applied properly, and that means that they have to come into contact with the animal’s skin. If the flea treatment is just applied to the fur, then it won’t be as effective.There are a lot of different options out there – topicals and chewables are the main categories, but there is a lot more to consider. Some products guard against heartworm or ticks in addition to fleas. There are collars, dips, and shampoos. Finding the right flea product for you and your pet can be tricky, but your veterinarian and their staff can help!

Itchy toes
Chewing on their feet can mean a lot of things, including a flea allergy!

When we flea-treat our three live-in clinic cats, we take great care to make sure that the flea treatment is properly applied, so that we don’t run the risk of having three flea-infested cats running around our clinic! The easiest way is to do it in the following steps:

  1. Get some help if your pet is wiggly!
  2. Pick a spot on the back of your pet’s neck, where they can’t turn around and lick the medication off.
  3. Part the hair until you see your pet’s skin.
  4. Apply the medication to the skin, making sure to cover one to 2 inches of skin. If your pet is large and receiving a bigger dose (which can mean more liquid medication), then you can medicate in multiple spots along the back of the neck.
  5. Use the applicator to fluff up the fur after application.
  6. Be sure not to touch the area for two hours after application, (you don’t want to get the medication on you or accidentally wipe it off), and don’t bathe your pet for 24 hours after application.

Consistent use is the other part of keeping your home flea-free. We recommend treating your pets with a flea preventive year-round, not just during the summer (“flea season”). While most products require monthly application, some newer products last up to three months, cutting the need to treat your pet down to 4 times yearly. Whichever you choose, make sure to keep it up on a regular schedule, treating your pet the first of every month, or each third Thursday, whatever works for you.

To find out more about the best flea prevention care for your pet, visit our website http://northseattlevet.com or check out our online store!

Photo Credit:

  1. Microscopic Flea: http://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/fleas/flea/

Author: North Seattle Veterinary Clinic

North Seattle Veterinary Clinic is an independently owned veterinary clinic near Northgate Mall in Seattle, WA. We are a family/companion pet practice, seeing cats and dogs as well as small animals such as rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs. We even see to the odd hedgehog! We do everything from annual visits to spays and neuters to dental procedures. Please visit our homepage at http://northseattlevet.com for a complete list of our services and to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

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