Should dogs take flea and tick medicine all year?
Is flea and tick medicine necessary for dogs?
Fleas are the picture of small yet mighty, and they tend to come in large numbers – bad news for you and your dog. They’re responsible for flea allergy dermatitis, which can lead to constant scratching, hair loss, and more serious problems. In addition to being ankle-biting annoyances, fleas spread plague and tape worm eggs. Likewise, ticks carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and a number of other serious diseases to dogs, cats, and even people in your household.
The FDA and the American Kennel Club recommend flea and tick medicine to prevent the spread of disease among pets and their people.
Flea and tick products have come a long way since the messy, ineffective powders on the market last century. Today, pet parents can choose from pills, chews, and other oral flea medications as well as topical flea treatments, collars, dips, and sprays. Flea and tick products must be approved for use by the FDA, and so they’re safe for most pets. However, the FDA “strongly recommended” involving your veterinarian when choosing a flea and tick product, “especially if your pet has any health conditions.”
Do I need to treat for fleas and ticks in the winter?
While warm spring and summer months are considered peak flea season, research by Dr. Michael Dryden, a professor of Veterinary Parasitology, found that the number of fleas on animals is over 70% higher in the fall than in the spring. Even in areas where cold winters put most insects into hibernation, fleas can live comfortably indoors. That makes year-round flea and ticket prevention a must.
How long does it take to eliminate a flea infestation?
It doesn’t take long for a couple of fleas to become an infestation, and that problem can take weeks to correct. Where there are fleas, there are flea eggs and flea larvae. Each individual female can lay up to 2,000 eggs in its short lifespan. Because of the four-stage flea life cycle, it can take up to eight weeks to get rid of all the adult fleas and the immature eggs and larvae. Preventing the first flea from getting in the door is the most certain way to avoid an infestation and related health issues for your pet.
What’s the right flea and tick treatment for your pup?
There’s no doubt that a year-round defense is the best way to prevent flea and tick problems, but which treatment is right for your pet? That depends. Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club, advises, “Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice about the safest treatment for your dog and your home. Depending on where you live, the age and breed of your dog, the protocol may vary. For example, young puppies or older dogs with weaker immune systems may require special doses or treatments, or if you live in a tropical area, the environmental applications required may be more frequent.”
We’re here to help you make the safest, healthiest decision for your best friend.
As an American Animal Hospital Association-accredited veterinary hospital, Gloves City has been evaluated on more than 800 rigorous veterinary standards of care. We are committed to providing the safest environment and the highest quality care to your dogs, cats, and other small pets. If you need us, call Gloves City Veterinary Hospital at 518-725-8117.