How to Treat Fleas and Ticks Effectively

Professional Advice from N.D.G.A.A. Certified Pet Groomer, amy elizabeth

The least expensive way to treat fleas and ticks is to do it right the first time.  Cutting corners or penny pinching will only cost more due to the ineffectiveness of cheaper retail store shelf products.

Treating the Environment

First, it’s important that you understand that fleas don’t live on your dog, a dog is merely a host. So you must treat the environment where your dog lives.  Call an exterminator immediately, wash all bedding, throw rugs, etc. vacuume the furniture, then remove the vacuum cleaner bag and discard. It’s also a good idea to cut up a flea collar and keep a four inch piece in your vacuum cleaner for a month or so.  

Store bought foggers are effective to some extent, but they don’t kills eggs, meaning you will need to treat the house twice.  Dollar for dollar, they are not a bargain considering you will need many foggers to treat all your rooms, and then have to do it again in two to three weeks. Effective foggers are not at all cheap, and also mean more work for you. I recommend an exterminator.

Treating Your Dog for Pests

Topical flea and tick treatments are a spot-on product, such as Bio Spot® Defense Spot On® for Dogs, or Frontline® for Dogs, that is applied to the skin between the shoulders. These monthly products fight ticks and fleas for at least 30 days. For maximum protection, K9 Advantix II for Dogs contains an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), an ingredient that works to prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing. K9 Advantix II for Dogs is also water-resistant, which makes it ideal for dogs that swim or are bathed frequently.

You can purchase a spot-on product at your veterinary office [most popular products pictured below] but you need to go with a plan, as you have a couple choices.  Will you be applying the product yourself or taking the dog to a groomer? If you do it yourself you will need to isolate the dog and wait approximately 24 hours for the fleas or ticks to die and fall off.  On the other hand, a groomer will want to treat the fleas and ticks immediately, rid the dog of pests, remove the ticks by hand, and send you home a clean pest free dog.  But, some spot-on products are not effective on a clean dog, they need the natural oils on a dog’s skin to work.  Other spot-on products are made to use on a clean dog, so have a plan on which method you’ll be using to treat your pet before you buy. Having the groomer take care of your dog’s infestation is obviously an expense that could be avoided, but you will be assured that your pet’s pest problem will be gone. It will also be more convenient to have your dog away from the house while the exterminator is treating the home. It may not be as easy as you think to apply a spot-on at home, especially if your dog has a lot of hair or undercoat. This product must be applied to the skin – not the coat. Remember the most effective and inexpensive way to treat parasites is to do it right the first time. I recommend a visit to the groomer.

Flea and tick problems are avoidable; it is much more difficult to treat an infestation than to practice preventative maintenance.  Pictured below are a few of the most popular spot-on products available, one application fights fleas and ticks for at least one month. I recommend you to discuss with your veterinarian which maintenance plan is best for your dog all year round.

One of these products or equivalent will be available at your Veterinary Hospital.

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