Does my pet really need flea and tick medication?
Fleas and ticks can be dangerous to you and your pet. Learn why it’s important to protect your household.
When the weather turns warmer, fleas and ticks emerge in greater numbers. These pests are more than annoyances to pets. Untreated, they can lead to serious illness and make your house all but uninhabitable.
“Ticks and mosquitoes are dangerous to the health of people as well as pets,” says veterinarian Dr. Jill Lopez. “For that reason, flea and tick protection is essential for all dogs and cats that live with you.”
Facts about fleas
Fleas are small insects that your pet can pick up just by taking a walk outside. Even indoor pets are susceptible if a flea decides to hitch a ride on your socks and shoes.
These little vampires feed on blood, which makes dogs and cats as appealing to them as filet mignon. After they burrow into your pet’s fur and have their fill, they poop it out in the form of little brown flecks known as “flea dirt.” Then they’re in the mood to mate, after which time females lay eggs (one can produce as many as 2,000 in her lifetime) – and the cycle continues until you take action to interrupt it.1
The first sign of fleas on a dog or cat is persistent scratching. If you have a light-colored pet or one with a belly without a lot of hair, check it for little brown flecks.2 Scrape a couple of those spots onto a paper towel, add a few drops of water, and smear them. If the result looks bloody, your furbaby has fleas.1
Signs of a severe flea infestation include bumps, a rash, hair loss around the base of the tail, and an unpleasant odor.3
Talking about ticks
Once cold weather breaks, ticks emerge and start feeding again. They lie in wait in grass and then hitch a ride on the nearest warm body, either human or animal. Like fleas, ticks are bloodsuckers and they can transmit serious diseases through their saliva when they bite.4
It’s not easy to tell at first if a tick has bitten you or your pet. When one latches on, it spits out a local anesthetic so the victim doesn’t feel it.5 Then it sucks the host’s blood like a wino at an open bar.
Ticks have eight legs and initially start off head-of-a-pin small, so they’re particularly hard to find on dogs with thick fur. As they feed, their belly expands and becomes engorged with blood.2
Your veterinarian can show you the best way to remove a tick. Dogs with tick-borne diseases can experience fever, joint pain, anemia, and even paralyzation. And when ticks replicate in a home, it can become infested with thousands of them.1
Protect your pet year round
Spring and summer aren’t the only seasons when fleas and ticks are active. The warmth of a heated home can also serve as a breeding ground for them.
So it’s vital to use products year-round — even if your pet never leaves the house. Pet parents can actually be carriers by unwittingly bringing pests in on their clothing or shoes. From there, it’s a short distance to your pet when she sits by your feet or jumps into your lap.1
Your veterinarian can recommend the best year-round protection against fleas and ticks. Ask about treatments such as BRAVECTO® (fluralaner), which delivers protection against fleas and ticks in a flavored dog chew for up to 12 weeks*.6
- Fleas and Ticks. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/fleas-and-ticks
- External Parasites. American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/external-parasites
- Cohen, Aly. Fleas. Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/fleas
- Tick-borne Disease: Prevalence, Prevention, and Treatment. AKC Canine Health Foundation. https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/sporting-field-dogs/tick-borne-disease.html
- How ticks spread disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/life_cycle_and_hosts.html
- Bravecto®. https://merckusa.cvpservice.com/product/basic/view/1047512
*BRAVECTO kills fleas and prevents flea infestations. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews for Dogs kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, brown dog tick, and Asian longhorned tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Chews also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Dogs also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats kills ticks (black-legged tick and Asian longhorned tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats also kills American dog ticks for 8 weeks.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
BRAVECTO 1-MONTH (fluralaner) Chews: indicated for dogs 8 weeks of age and older. The most commonly reported adverse reactions include itching, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, elevated ALT, lethargy, and weight loss. BRAVECTO 1-MONTH (fluralaner) Chews is not effective against A. americanum in puppies less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, anorexia and pruritus. In some cases, adverse events have been reported following use in breeding females. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, and moist dermatitis/rash. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, hair loss, decreased appetite, lethargy, and scabs/ulcerated lesions. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats is not effective against American dog ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing. BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) for Cats: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, hair loss, itching, diarrhea, lethargy, dry skin, elevated ALT, and hypersalivation. BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) has not been shown to be effective for 2 months in kittens less than 6 months of age. Use with caution in cats that are heartworm positive. The effectiveness of BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) to prevent heartworm disease after bathing or water immersion has not been evaluated.
BRAVECTO (fluralaner) has not been shown to be effective for 12-weeks’ duration in puppies or kittens less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews and Topical Solution for dogs is not effective against the lone star tick beyond 8 weeks of dosing. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs and Cats and BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) for cats are for topical use only. Avoid oral ingestion. The safety of BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats and BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) has not been established in breeding, pregnant, and lactating cats.
All BRAVECTO (fluralaner) products contain fluralaner, which is a member of the isoxazoline class. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. Neurologic adverse reactions have been reported in cats receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in cats without a history of neurologic disorders. Use with caution in cats with a history of neurologic disorders.
Want to share this article?
More like this
- Caring for a senior petCaring for a senior pet Cats and dogs may need … Read more
- Dealing with your pet’s allergiesDealing with your pet’s allergies Just like humans, pets can … Read more
- Five things you may not know about leptospriosisFive things you may not know about leptospirosis Leptospirosis is … Read more