With spring weather finally here, it‘s the time of year many pet owners start worrying about their parasite prevention. But did you know, ticks can be out and about any day it's over 4 degrees celsius, and fleas any day its over 10 degrees celsius! The best way to protect your home and pets (even indoor pets!) is to use a monthly flea or tick treatment like Advantage, Revolution, or Bravecto. Here is a little more info on some of the most common flea and tick treatments, from our least favourite to most favourite!
-GARLIC IS TOXIC TO YOUR PETS. PLEASE STOP GIVING THEM GARLIC IN THE HOPES THAT IT WILL PROTECT THEM FROM FLEAS AND TICKS. Not only does it not work, but it causes anemia. Just dont.
Any flea collars:
-Many over the counter flea and tick preventatives (especially those made by Hartz or Zodiac, or flea collars) have had their safety called into question over and over again. As such, we dont endorse using any of these on your furry friends.
-Out of our top three flea preventatives, this is ranked the lowest. Although it's great that it is available in a chewable treat for dogs, and protects the longest, they have a long history of controversy that just makes us a little uncomfortable. While nothing is proven, there have been many deaths possibly linked to its use. Until there are more trials and more information available, we avoid this for our own animals.
-Protects against ticks (American dog tick/rocky mountain tick, deer tick, brown dog tick), and fleas (cat/dog flea)
-Capstar is NOT a flea and tick preventative! Although quite safe, and available over the counter, we only ever use this for flea infestations in kittens too small for revolution or in a pinch while we wait to get revolution from the vet. It kills fleas, but will not prevent them (which means reinfestation is common because fleas will sleep on bedding and furniture)
-While advantage has some reported side effects and more reported allergic reactions than revolution, it is MUCH more affordable, and available over the counter.
-Unfortunately, it does not protect against anything other than fleas.
-It is important to note the difference between Advantage II and Advantix. While made by the same company, they are very different products. Advantix is ONLY for dogs, and some vets even recommend not using it in a household with cats (it is highly toxic to cats). It protects against fleas and a very wide variety of ticks. Advantix has however been reported to cause burns on the skin of small dogs.
-While it is the most expensive option, revolution protects against parasites such as fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworms, ear mites, and American dog ticks. It's safety has been proven more than most flea preventatives, and it gives us peace of mind.
There are many more preventatives on the market, and you should definitely talk to your vet about the best one for you and your pet. In general, flea and tick preventatives you get from your vet are considered safer that over the counter ones.
Although revolution protects from common parasites, you may still have to treat your animals for internal parasites if you use a different flea prevention, if your animal is too small still for revolution, or if your pet has a parasite that revolution doesn't cover. Animals under 8 weeks and 2 pounds can't receive most flea and tick preventatives, but should still be dewormed as parasites like ringworm can cause small animals to get very ill. We like to use something gentle like Strongid (pyrantel) to deworm younger animals, starting at about 5 weeks, and a topical parasite control like profender for our older cats. Profender is a broader spectrum dewormer than strongid, but not suitable for young kittens.
The other thing to be conscious of in the spring, is ticks. As important as it is to have a monthly flea and tick preventative, as you can see from our examples above, no preventative covers every species of tick. That is why it is SO important that you (as a human) wear a good bug spray that protects against ticks (like Off Deep Woods), and do a thorough tick check on your dog (who cant wear bug spray) when you get home from hikes, camping, and even walks. Due to climate change, ticks are migrating farther north, and becoming more of an issue in many areas. A tick is more dangerous ad more liable to transmit diseases the longer you leave it in your pet. If you find a tick in your pet, bring to the vet right away, as many will remove them for free. It is not recommended that you just use tweezers at home to remove them, as doing so sometimes results in breaking the tick or only removing part of it (leading to a high risk of infection). If you find a tick that has obviously been in your pet for longer than 12 hours, or your animal shows signs of illness after a tick bite, testing for tick borne illnesses can be done 6 weeks after the initial bite.
For more info, check out these links:
Advantage and Advantix
Fleas and Ticks