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What are the pros and cons of each type of preventative treatment?
Prescription is usually stronger than over the counter and tends to last longer. Over the counter medications tend to wear off before the next dosage is due.
Oral chews are a great option for your pet, especially if you take them swimming, baths, or to the groomers. These tend to be more effective because they cannot be washed off. They are also preferable if your dog is around other dogs or kids as they cannot come into contact with the medication.
Topical treatments are usually applied on to the back of a pet’s neck and is absorbed into the skin/ fur after a few hours. One dosage is supposed to last for a month but sometimes they wear off quicker than that due to baths, trips to the groomers, or pets in general getting wet. Topical treatments also tend to leave a greasy mark where they are applied but this usually disappears within a day or so. If your dog/cat or another animal licks it and ingests it they could become sick. People, especially children, should be prevented from coming into direct contact with the medication either during or after application prior to absorption.
Collars can be a good option too if you are really in a hurry to get some flea medication for your pet. Depending on the brand you buy, they can last for up to 8 months. However, since they are worn around the neck that is typically the area where the medication in the collar is the most effective. It is common to see dogs or cats with collars have fleas or ticks on their hind quarters. It is also important to consider your dog’s environment. If your dog is wearing a collar and other dogs lick or bite the collar or if kids touch the collar then put their hands in their mouths they can get sick.
There are also more natural ways to get rid of parasites such as dish soap, lemon spray, or eucalyptus leaves/oils. However, these tend to not be very effective and there is always a possibility that these could irritate your pet’s fur and we cannot therefore recommend these methods.
Tips & Tricks for Ticks:
The best way to prevent ticks is to give your pet preventative medication, however if that fails and you find ticks on your pet here are some tips and tricks to remove them:
When removing a tick do not use your hands. The idea is to try to remove the whole tick, head and body, without squeezing the contents of its body into your pet. It is best to use tweezers or tick removal tools. Once you have the tick out, put it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. This will allow us to determine what type of tick it is and if it needs to be sent into a lab to be tested for Lyme disease. If you feel uncomfortable trying to remove a tick from your pet on your own, please make an appointment with us- we would be more than happy to remove it for you.
-Lemon Juice: Ticks hate acidity. Putting lemon juice on a Q-tip and dabbing it on the tick and the area around where the tick has buried its head can cause the tick to loosen its grip and sometimes to even unbury itself completely.
-Tools: There are some specialized tools that make tick removal quick and easy. The best ones have a prong end. You put the tick between the prongs and carefully twist until the tick is removed.
If you would like to read more, please click on our resources below:
Common Parasites and How to Treat them
Laurelwood Veterinary Clinic