Fleas and ticks are one of the many concerns dog owners may have, especially for sporting dogs that are often out hunting or training in the field. These pests infect pets year-round, potentially causing some serious harm if not put in check. It is very important to give your dog preventive treatment to stop fleas and ticks from biting them. Ticks can transmit a wide range of dangerous threats, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Anaplasmosis while fleas can cause anemia and tapeworms. In the following blog post, I will outline the five typical types of treatments that you can use to help prevent your dogs from flea and tick bites this season.
LCS Staff Tip: If you own multiple dogs, it’s best to treat them all at the same time to prevent cross infestation in the event that one dog has fleas and the others do not.
Topical treatments are the most common form of treatment for preventing flea and ticks. We sell a variety of different brands including Frontline, Certifect, Advantix, Advantage, and Parastar. Topical treatments come in small doses that are sized-based on the dog's weight and are applied to the back of the dog's neck. Typical treatment lasts for one to three months, depending on the product selected. Once the treatment is placed on the dog's neck, it usually takes one day or so for the treatment to completely absorb into the skin. It is very important for you not to touch the treated area until it is fully absorbed. Topical treatments are great for dogs that are going to be active outdoors because the treatment is waterproof, but only after absorption.
Another type of treatment is a spray, from a pump bottle, that you apply to all areas of your dog. When using this type of treatment, you must spray the entire body of your dog. It is vital to be careful when spraying around the eyes, nose, and mouth of the dog. For these areas, you can spray the treatment onto a cotton ball or rag and apply by rubbing it on. When spraying the treatment, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area. Sprays typically dry fast and will begin killing fleas and ticks within 24 hours. Treatment sprays last for around one month, but will vary depending on the manufacturer and the active ingredients. One popular brand of spray that we sell here at Lion Country is Frontline Flea and Tick Spray.
Collars and Medallions
Collars and medallions work by placing the collar or medallion on your dog while the medication is then slowly transferred over to the coat of your dog, getting into their natural coat oils. Collar and medallions tend to provide several months of treatment, as long as 6 months of protection, depending on the manufacturer.
They can be very effective; however, there are a few things you have to consider before using collars or medallions. If your dog is frequently in water and swimming, these probably are not the best choice because this type of treatment is less effective after getting wet. Another thing to consider is whether, or not, the dog sleeps with humans. If you use this treatment on your dog, it is not advised to bed share because of the potential dangers for prolonged human contact with the medicine.
If you choose to use a collar-based treatment, it is important to size the collar correctly. You want the collar to be snug, but you should be able to get two fingers between the collar and the dog's neck. If you choose the medallion based treatment, you attach it to the D-ring of your dog's collar. Remember to always wash your hands after working with either the collar or medallion. Seresto and Salvo are two good examples of flea and tick collars. Also, Spectra Shield makes a medallion style of flea and ticks treatment.
Shampoo and Dips
Medicated flea and tick shampoos are great for when your dog is already covered with fleas or ticks. When using shampoos, you want to get your dog heavily lathered up and let it sit on their fur for around 10 minutes. Be very careful not to let the shampoo get into the dogs mouth or eyes. Medicated flea and tick shampoos work as an insecticide, quickly killing off any flea, ticks, and other parasites on the dog.
Flea and Tick Dips are a water soluble treatment. A solution is added to water and poured or sponged over the dog. Instead of rinsing it off, you let the solution air dry. Like shampoos, care must be taken not to get the solution in the dog's eyes or mouth. Special care should also be taken not to get the solution on your own skin, mouth, or eyes as well. Unlike shampoos, dips work as a flea and tick protectant for up to one month. Dips work great if you have several dogs or run a kennel, where you can mix a large batch of solution and treat all your dogs at once, monthly. We sell one brand of flea and tick dip treatments, which is Happy Jack Kennel Dip.
Oral treatments are veterinarian-only. The type of oral treatment can vary depending on your dog's needs. There are some forms of oral treatments that work quickly, but don't stay in your dog's system and need to be taken daily. Others are given once per month to provide flea and tick protection. If interested in the oral form of treatment, contact your veterinarian.
Fleas and ticks can pose a major health risk to your dog. Do not take the risk of your dog getting infected by a tick and save yourself the pain of dealing with an infestation of fleas. Treating your dog not only helps keep them safe, but also protects yourself as well because ticks can travel from dogs to humans.