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Flea Control and Prevention

Keeping your pet free of parasites is an important part of their overall health care. Even a mild case of fleas can cause itching and skin irritation in your pet. Some pets can also be allergic to flea bites, which in severe cases could result in anemia, additional parasites (transmitted through the flea bite), or even your pet's death. That's why flea control and prevention is so important for your pet.

Flea control products come in many different forms. Flea collars and shampoos, once-a-month topical liquid medication, and pills are just some forms that the medication can take. Herbal or 'natural' flea remedies are also available (holistic veterinarians may be better able to provide this type of information) - but there is debate over the effectiveness of these products. One completely non-toxic way of getting rid of fleas is to use a flea comb. It is time-consuming but safe.

While it is possible to purchase certain types of flea product without a prescription from a veterinarian, it may be best to err on the side of caution and consult a vet about the best medication for your pet.

Cautions, Warnings, and Other Useful Information

  • Never administer dog products to cats, or cat products to dogs, or mix the two together.

  • Don't use flea products on very young pets, elderly pets, ill, or pregnant pets without consulting in-depth with your vet.

  • Don't use more than one type of flea medication at the same time without checking with your vet first. Different medications may interact negatively and make your pet ill when used together.

  • Products meant to kill adult fleas will not kill the eggs or larvae, or vice versa.

  • Some products will also prevent ticks and heartworm.

  • If you have fleas in your home, you'll need to treat your home as well. otherwise the fleas will attach themselves to your pet.

  • Ask whether the medication is 'waterproof'. Some flea products may need to be re-applied after your dog has been swimming or playing in the water.

  • Read the label. If in doubt about whether or not the medication is appropriate for your pet, talk it over with your veterinarian and ask about alternatives.

  • Give the correct dosage for your pet's weight. Don't estimate; weigh your pet first before purchasing the medication.

  • Follow the directions for applying the medication to your pet. Ask for instructions or a demonstration from your vet if you need to.

  • Be patient. It takes time to kill fleas if your pet already has them. Keep re-applying the medication on schedule, as needed.

  • If you're traveling with your pet, ask your vet if fleas are a problem in the area where you'll be traveling. Bring enough flea control and prevention product to last your entire trip.

  • It is much easier to prevent fleas than to try to get rid of them later. Once your pet has fleas, your home probably will too. There are several convenient once-a-month treatments that will prevent fleas on your pet... a good investment in both your pet's health and in helping to keep your home flea-free.

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