Fleas and ticks are a pet parent’s worst nightmare and an approaching flea/tick season can make pet owners even more anxious. However, by being a little proactive you can safeguard your beloved pet against a host of parasites such as fleas, ticks, chewing lice and mites.
Many over-the-counter pest control products are effective in repelling all kinds of pet parasites, which means that a single formulation, if applied correctly, can protect your dog or cat from a host of disease-causing pests.
With so many options to choose from, picking a product that’s just right for your dog or cat can be daunting, particularly when you’ve never used a flea and tick preventive or did not have a great experience with your previous buy. So here is a handy guide to help you buy and use a quality pest-repellent product.
When to consider treating your pet for fleas and ticks
While there is something called the flea/tick season, these parasites can be found in your house at any time of the year. Depending on where you live, pet care experts recommend using a pest-control product once every month to ward off a potential infestation during the warm months of the year, which is when your pet is at greater risk of an infestation.
Buying a parasite control product
When choosing a flea/tick control product for your furry friend, you need to inform yourself well about all the ingredients in a particular product, and the best way to do this is to read up on the product and its reviews.
Whether buying online or from a retail store, read the product’s label to know what’s in it, what dosage should be applied, and how. You also need to know whether a particular product is suitable for your dog or cat’s age and weight. Quality products will always have this information on the website as well as on the label.
By doing thorough research before purchasing a flea/tick/lice control product, you can ensure that you’re buying a formulation that’s safe for your dog or cat. This is especially important if your feline friend is still a kitten, is expecting babies, is nursing, or has recovered from or living with a health condition. Not all parasite control products are suitable for all pets, so you need to make a careful, well-informed selection.
Moreover, never use a product made for dogs on you cat—and vice versa, as this can cause serious health problems for your pet.
Using a parasite control product
Now that you have purchased a quality product, read the literature included in the packaging for directions on how to apply it on your dog or cat’s coat. Find out the right quantity that needs to be applied as well as the time and frequency of application.
Natural parasite control products are often a better way to control infestations on your dog or cat. Here are some ideas:
Over the counter or veterinary recommended products
When natural doesn’t quite cut it, you may need to go to something stronger. Whether it’s a spray or a spot-on formula you’re using, it needs to be applied safely and correctly as directed. Additionally, it’s very important to protect yourself from coming into contact with the product, so wear gloves and also a face mask if needed. Wash the exposed areas well after the application and dispose the packaging as per manufacturer instructions. These safety measures are all the more important if you have children and/or other pets in the house. Accidental ingesting of these chemicals can prove dangerous for humans as well as animals.
Lastly, these products take time to seep into your dog or cat’s skin, so avoid physical contact with your pet until it’s time to wash off the product. You can find more detailed information on safe usage of flea and tick preventives here.
Dealing with accidental ingestion
To be really effective, the product needs to be left on your dog or cat’s coat for a few hours. Do not leave your pet alone during this time. Be around to observe your furry friend for any sensitive reaction that might need medical attention. This can happen if you switched brands or are using a preventive on a kitten that has never been exposed to pesticides. Look out for adverse reactions such as vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, foaming, seizures, behavioral changes, and refusal to eat.
If any of these symptoms occur shortly after pesticide application, remove the product immediately by washing it away with soap and water and call or visit your vet at the earliest.
If you did not use gloves to apply the product, wash your hands with a good antiseptic soap to rid your skin of the chemicals. If a family member ingests or inhales the product by accident, take them to ER to rule out any adverse reactions.