As the weather warms and the days get longer, springtime can make us feel as though we are emerging from hibernation. But, before you head into the great outdoors with your pet, remember that fleas, ticks, and other pesky parasites are also coming out in droves, and your pet is the perfect target. Not only are these bugs a nuisance, but they can carry harmful diseases, which they can pass along to your pet. Fleas may harbor tapeworms, and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and other tick-borne conditions common in upstate New York. For these reasons, we recommend year-round parasite prevention for every pet. While fleas and ticks tend to be more active during the balmier months, many species can survive near-freezing conditions, so keep this in mind when planning your pet’s year-round preventive medication.
Now that you are convinced your pet needs flea and tick prevention, it is time to choose the right product. With the exorbitant amount of choices available, this decision can be overwhelming, and we are here to help. Our guide breaks down available products into topical liquids, chewable oral tabs, long-lasting products, and combination preventives.
Some prevention product ingredients that are perfectly safe for dogs can cause severe toxicity in cats; therefore, never administer a preventive medication labeled for a dog to your cat, and vice versa. In addition, some medications may not be suitable for households with both dogs and cats, because of the exposure risk to cats, so always check the label. The following product list, while not exhaustive, includes some of the most popular choices, including those available in our online store.
Topical or spot-on treatments are popular, easy-to-apply choices for parasite prevention. They are typically packaged in individual tubes for monthly treatment. We recommend applying the liquid to the skin at the base of the neck, or between the shoulder blades, so that your pet cannot turn around and lick it off. Pet owners should wear gloves, or wash hands thoroughly, after the application process. Pets must not be bathed for 24 hours before, or 48 hours after, applying topical preventives.
Oral parasite prevention is an ideal option for pet owners who prefer the ease of a flavored tablet rather than a potentially messy liquid. These medications should be used cautiously in pets with potential food allergies or sensitivities, as most chewable tablets are formulated with beef or chicken.
Heartworm prevention is also recommended year-round for all dogs and cats, and these combination products provide full parasite protection in one convenient dose. They are available in both topical and chewable formulas, and most also have the added protection of intestinal parasite coverage.
Let’s be honest—remembering to apply that topical medication every month, or give that pill every 30 days, is not easy. If a longer-lasting product is more your style, you are in luck. Depending on the coverage you want, topical, chewable, collar, and injectable options that can last up to eight months, are available.
This list is meant to serve as a guide for the myriad of products available on the market. Ultimately, your Stack veterinarian is your best resource when you have questions regarding preventive medications, and the best option for your individual pet. When you are ready, head to our online shop, and order your pet’s flea and tick preventive. As always, contact us with further questions, or to set up a consultation about flea and tick prevention.