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Fleas and Ticks - Don't Panic!

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are unwelcome guests on your pet and in your home, however that doesn't keep them from trying to move right in. If you spot a flea or tick on your pet don't panic! You have many options in fixing this problem.

If you feel the need (and have the resources) bringing in the professionals will be the easiest way to get rid of the problem for good.

Because fleas can live in carpeting and bedding, as well as in your yard (especially pine straw) seeking a pest elimination team is recommended. Look for a service that treats indoors and outdoors with pet safe products. Also many services will offer a guarantee if you see pests again in x amount of days they will come back and spray again for free. 

At roughly the same time that your house is being treated try to get your pet professionally groomed (be sure to tell the groomer that you are bringing your pet to them to remedy a flea infestation). When seeking a grooming professional, ask what they use to kill the fleas. Many groomers will give a capstar to eradicate the immediate problem; however that will only kill the adult stage of the flea. A professional flea and tick shampoo will still need to be applied in the bath to kill the flea at egg, larva, and pupa stage. I use Bio-Groom flea and tick because it is effective in killing fleas, ticks and lice while also being gentle on the pet's skin and coat. There are other professional products that work as well; Dawn dish soap is not one of them, so avoid salons that use dish soap as their flea control method. Shampoo designed for dogs is pH balanced for them and will protect their skin and coat from having essential oils stripped away leaving the skin vulnerable to infection and irritation. 

If the professional route is not in your budget, there are many things you can do to rid your pets and home of fleas. An important thing to remember is that just because you don't see any fleas in your home, doesn't mean they are not there. If you have located the parasite on your pet there is a very good chance that they are in your home. They are known to lay eggs in carpeting under sofas and furniture that doesn't get moved or vacuumed under frequently. Eggs can live for weeks in these places without hosts. With that said, that is a good place to start looking for them. Your goal should be to vacuum all carpeting, couch cushions and floors. Wash all bedding, pet bedding, towels, piles of laundry etc. I found flea bombs effective; however I don't know how safe they are. IMPORTANT: Remember to remove all pets from the house before using any kind of pesticide, shampoos, or treatments and follow all safety directions on the packaging. You can buy Bio Groom flea and tick shampoo at petsmart and many other local pet stores. If it is not available in your town it can be ordered online. Although there are other flea and tick shampoos to choose from, i have not seen consistent results with them. You may need professional help from a groomer or a vet with removing ticks. They are known to bury their head in your pets skin and can be very difficult to remove, even with tweezers. If the head is left in the skin it can become infected.

Now that the fleas and ticks have been removed from your pet and home, let's talk prevention. The market is flooded with preventative solutions for fleas and ticks, however in my mind one stands above the rest. I have only come across one product that kills an array of biting pests as well as repels them, and that is Advantix 2. This product is only available for dogs at this time, so for cats I recommend Advantage 2. Although this doesn't have the ability to repel the parasite, it kills all stages quickly and effectively. In my opinion as a professional groomer who has remedied this problem hundreds of times, is to steer clear of cheaper topical alternatives. They may have the same or similar ingredients lists but they may use less of the active ingredients, or cheaper quality products. In the end it is easier and more cost effective to spend a little more in prevention then have to tear apart your home and deal with a full on external parasite invasion. These products can be found at your vet's office or usually at discounted prices online.

 

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