What is your recommendation for flea and tick prevention in this area?
Connecticut: home to the town of Lyme and some exceptionally vicious ticks. Thankfully, flea and tick preventatives have greatly improved in effectiveness (both in regard to application and prevention) over the years, and now offer a wide array of options to best suit an animal’s specific needs. As fleas and ticks can result in numerous diseases, the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies here.
Spoiler alert: I’m not going to endorse any specific products. I hope y’all understand, as specific product questions are better served by your veterinarian that knows your pet and their needs best. Before you close the tab, though, I encourage you to peruse some musings I consider when thinking about flea and tick preventatives.
- Before getting recommendations from your vet, take a moment to think about you and your pet and what might be preferable in terms of providing flea and tick prevention. Preventative options have expanded greatly to offer a wide variety of options: from chewable tablets to collars to topically applied liquids; from monthly to every few months or even less frequently. Why harp on this first? Historically, nationwide compliance with preventatives is generally low, so set yourself up to win and select an option that is easiest for you. Do you like a consistent routine? Perhaps once a month is easiest. Or do you like a “one and done” option? Perhaps applying something a few times a year is preferable. Whatever it might be, think about what is easiest for you and your lifestyle so that you can be most successful in administering the chosen preventative.
- If your pet has preexisting conditions, particularly seizure disorders, certain products may be advised to be avoided. Companies that make good quality flea/tick preventatives are excellent resources; call the companies with any questions!
- Strongly consider yearlong preventatives. Changing weather patterns have made it so that Connecticut and the surrounding area often doesn’t get the “deep freeze” needed to allow for a few-month respite from fleas/ticks.
- Not so fun fact: counterfeit products for flea/tick preventatives, unfortunately, abound. Purchasing from your veterinarian is a safe way to ensure that the product you are buying is truly that product. Unsure if what you have is “real”? Give the manufacturer a ring.
- Don’t forget about cats! Even indoor cats can be exposed to fleas and ticks. There are many safe and effective options for our feline friends. However, don’t ever apply a dog product to a cat unless specifically instructed to do so by a veterinarian. Some dog products contain permethrins which are toxic to cats. If you have a dog and cat that enjoy each other’s company and snuggle, talk to your veterinarian about safe options for both critters.
- Lastly, don’t forget about heartworm prevention. Heartworm disease is no joke, and not to be taken lightly. Plus, many heartworm preventatives treat common gastrointestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms.
Still have questions? Reach out to your veterinarian for any additional guidelines and enjoy the beautiful weather with your furry loved ones safely!
Disclaimer: The content of The Bethel Grapevine’s Ask the Vet blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be treated as such. If you have a medical question about your pet, call or visit your veterinarian or a veterinary hospital.