I have seen this time and time again and I can’t help but let it grind my gears when I do see it. I’m at a friend or family member’s home and their dog is itching up a storm. Or maybe their gnawing at their backside. What could be the reason? Are they just addicted to reaching that itch they can never scratch? No, the truth of the matter is that they have the dreaded pest known as fleas.
Even worse is when I go to pet a dog and find my fingers rubbing across the bulbous and grotesque body of a tick that has sunk it’s vampiric little mouth into their skin. Gross! I want to take some time to discuss the best flea and tick prevention for dogs because not only is it important from a hygenic stand point but frankly, it is important to your dogs health as well! I also hope to go over some general information below regarding flea and tick medication.
My dog is indoors – why does it matter?
A lot of people have a common misunderstanding of what it means to be safe from fleas and ticks. They think that because their dog is an inside dog that it is impossible for them to track in any of those nasty pests. There is a very good reason why ANY veterinarian will tell you that prevention is key!
Even if you do have an inside dog, it is still very possible and very likely that they will bring in pests from outdoors. How? It is very simple. Think about how many times a day you take your dog for a walk, or let it into the backyard to go to the bathroom. Even though they’re an indoor dog overall, they still have plenty of chances to contract those pests. Fleas tend to live in shaded areas outdoors. They multiply very fast and they hide away in places where your dog may naturally go to escape the heat of the sun on a hot day.
The fact that fleas breed in these shaded places means that they’re more likely to catch a ride on your dog while it is outside, even if for a short time. As for ticks, well they can be found in just as many places, They usually will live in grass or woods and the sort. Be extra vigilent if you live beside a wooded area. Your dog can very easily bring these little monsters inside, and then you will have a big problem!
Top listed flea and tick meds – Which is right for me?
One of the more expensive flea medications comes in the form of Comfortis. This is a chewable tablet for your dog, though you may want to wrap it in a treat such as a pill pocket. It runs around $90 $100 on PetMeds.com for a six month supply. Though it is on the more expensive side, I can say from personal experience with a dog that has a flea allergy, it is worth it!
Another brand you will most likely see when you’re shopping for medication is Advantage. This flea medication has been around for quite a while and it is a topical medication. This means that it is applied directly to the skin of your dog. Statisically speaking, it does not work quite as well as Comfortis but for the price it may be worth it for you. Coming in at around $60 on average for a six month supply, it may be worth it for you.
The third flea brand I want to discuss is FrontLine. FrontLine a few different incarnations, from FrontLine Plus to Gold and runs around $68 and $45 respectivally. It covers fleas, ticks, and chewing lice as well. The main problem I see pretty often i that FrontLine doesn’t work all that well anymore. FrontLine has been around for over twenty years, being one of the older brands of flea and tick prevention. That may sound great at first, because obviously if it is that old it must do its job, right?
The problem with a flea medication that has been out on the market for so long is that it loses effectiveness. Fleas and ticks, like any other pest in the wild, build up a tolerance to the pesticide in the flea medication. This can be a problem, considering that price of it and the chances of it not working for you. That isn’t to say that it NEVER works. On the contrary, a majority of people who use it have no issues with it. But as the years go by, it gradually will continue to lose its effectiveness.
Now, on to the tick medication. As I just previously mention, FrontLine is a flea and tick combination medication. This can be great if you’re in need of watching how much you spend, since medications for your dog can very quickly add up. There is also a brand known as Bravecto. This runs around $55 and is a chewable tablet. The great thing about most, not all, but most flea medications is that they cover tick infestations as well. This is great for the frugal spender who still wants to ensure that their dog is safe!
Are meds dangerous? – Knowing the facts
This is the questions we all want an answer to. Are your pet meds safe? The overall answer to this is absolutely, yes. The FDA has reported previously that flea and tick medications could lead to seizures due to a chemical known as Isoxazoline. This chemical is meant to effectively paralyze the pests and kill them, but according the FDA this chemical is slowly taken into the dogs body as well over time and has reportedly lead to seizures and other health concerns. Now while this may sound absolutely terrifying this is a very rare situation and by no means the normal in society.
It is important to always read the labels of the medication you purchase to look out for any chemicals that you may be concerned about. But the minute risk involved is not something I would personally be that concerned about. Really any medicine, for animals or humans, runs some sort of risk for adverse effects. In most cases it is such a small risk percentage that you would never blink an eye.
Flea and tick collars – Do they work?
Flea Collars are special collars that you put on your dogs neck that prevent fleas and ticks for up to twelve months in some cases. There are a few different types, from insecticide collars that that is absorbed into the skin of your pet, to a collar that uses frequency wave lengths to keep fleas away. There have been many discussions regarding the safety of flea and tick collars, as well as their effeciency. There have been many reported cases of the toxins that the collars use actually causing animals harm, or even death. There are some natural options out there as well. But overall I would recommend against collars due to their high risk of adverse health effects towards dogs.
Why prevention is so important
Prevention isn’t just for your animals. It is also for you. Fleas are incredibly aggravating pests that will bite you to no end and are incredibly difficult to get rid of once they’ve made a home in your house. They breed very rapidly as well. A female flea can breed thousands upon thousands of eggs in her life. This equates to a literal army of biting, jumping, itch inducing pests in your home. Though their disease factor is low, they can cause dermititis in humans, and were actually carriers of the Plague, which lead to the Black Death In Europe in the 1300’s.
Ticks are much more dangerous pests to bring into your home. They carry several different types of diseases and bacteria that are dangerous to both our pets and us. Lyme Disease is just one of the many diseases. For those who don’t know, according the the CDC, Lyme Disease is a bacterium that is contracted by ticks. It can lead to an infection that will reach from our joints, to our hearts, and even our nervous system. This is a terrifying thought to process. This is why it is so important to take care of our dogs. Not just for their sake, but for ours as well.
I hope that I have helped you to better understand the best flea and tick prevention for dogs as well as their benefits and the health risks involved in not keeping your dog covered. Please feel free to comment on this, and I will answer any questions that you might have.