Protecting your pets from fleas and ticks is an important part of taking good care of your cat or dog. Pets and people can get a variety of diseases from fleas and ticks and their bites can make us all very uncomfortable. But flea and tick prevention can be a challenge. The fleas and ticks living on your dog or cat are only a small percentage of what exist in the animal’s surroundings – fleas and their eggs can live outside in your yard, the sidewalk and in the park and inside in your rugs, upholstery, bedding and floors.
The best protection starts with prevention. Comb your pet regularly with a flea comb and inspect for fleas and ticks (this is also good bonding time with your pet). Vacuum regularly and dispose of the vacuum bags after use to get any critters and eggs out of the house. Try to keep your dog out of tall grassy (keep your lawn mowed!), wash your pet’s bedding and your bedding weekly and wash your pet with a flea/tick shampoo. And, it’s best to keep your cats indoors – this doesn’t completely prevent them from the pests, but it reduces the chances dramatically.
Flea and tick products
Many of us don’t want to use flea and tick products because of potentially harmful chemicals, so it’s best to consult with your vet and decide if the benefits of using the products outweigh the risks. There are a variety of options available including monthly treatments, shampoos, sprays, powders and collars – some are “natural” and some are not – and your vet can help you decide what’s best for you and your pet. When choosing a product, carefully read the label and be aware of what the product contains. If you want to learn more about flea and tick product ingredients, The Humane Society has a good article that provides a solid overview on the topic.
At Pemberton Farms, we carry “natural” flea and tick products from Ark Naturals and Pet Naturals of Vermont – and, although they are natural, there are still hazards associated with them and it’s important to understand their ingredients and how to use them.
Using Conventional Flea & Tick Products
Follow these simple steps to help prevent problems:
- With your vet’s guidance, decide what product is best for your pet – make sure you are familiar with the risks associated with the product;
- Never use dog treatments on cats and vice versa;
- Follow the instructions on the package – this is critical for your pet’s safety;
- Make sure you follow the proper dose on the package (determined by weight) and don’t split large doses for smaller pets;
- Do not use these products on elderly or pregnant animals.