How to Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Dogs and cats may have a famous feud, but a dog’s real nemeses are fleas and ticks. Small, sneaky and totally uninvited, these creepy crawlies could be living rent-free on your pup right now.
The good news is that you don’t have to let your furry friend play host to these parasites. With the right knowledge and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can say goodbye to fleas and ticks for good.
Here’s what you need to know!
Are Flea and Tick Treatments Safe?
Like all medicines, flea and tick treatments can be safe as long as you use them properly and carefully, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Plus, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), flea infestations can lead to allergic reactions and tapeworms, while ticks can carry serious illnesses like Lyme disease — which means treatment is generally safer than letting these pests hang around.
Here are a few tips to help make sure you’re using flea and tick treatments safely:
Some dogs have special medical needs, which means you should be extra careful choosing their health care products — especially when treating flea or tick infestations. For example, it’s best to check with your vet before treating a dog who is pregnant or nursing. The same is true for puppies, who can only have treatments specifically designed for their growing bodies.
Read Instructions Carefully
No matter what treatment you choose to tackle a flea or tick infestation, it’s important to do your homework. Read every label on the box or packaging, and don’t forget to look for inserts that may contain additional instructions. This can include information like how and where to apply the treatment or how often to treat for pests.
Double-check the Dosage
Even if you know the dosage on a certain flea and tick medication by heart, you should always double-check. Not all brands and treatment types have the same dosage information, so make sure to see what’s recommended for your dog’s age, weight and breed.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
When using flea and tick treatment, wear gloves or wash your hands immediately after application. For some liquid treatments, it’s also recommended to let the medication dry before petting or cuddling your dog.
Preventing Flea and Tick Infestation
Although there are safe ways to get rid of fleas and ticks, it’s often easier to make sure your furry friend doesn’t get a full-blown infestation in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing flea and tick infestations:
- Know what fleas and flea bites look like: An adult flea is tiny and brown in color, while flea eggs look like miniature grains of rice (and yes, they do lay eggs on your dog). When these pests bite, they leave behind red splotches — although these may be more visible on your skin than under your dog’s fur.
- Know what ticks look like: A tick looks more like a spider. These pests have teardrop-shaped bodies that grow larger as they feast on blood. They tend to lay their tiny, pale-brown eggs on grass or leaves, not on your pet.
- Don’t count on the weather to get the job done: According to the AKC, fleas and ticks are a year-round nuisance, although they’re more active in certain months depending on your location. Since these creepy crawlies aren’t seasonal, your treatment shouldn’t be, either. That’s why flea and tick collars and treatments should always be part of your pet care arsenal.
- Bathe your dog regularly: Frequent baths with the best dog-care products help keep fleas and ticks at bay (and make your furry friend smell great, too!).
At-Home Flea and Tick Remedies
The good news is that, even if you’re unable to keep fleas and ticks from hitching a ride on your dog, you have plenty of options for treatment — including natural remedies. However, some at-home solutions aren’t very reliable, so it’s always best to consult with pet care experts to find the best approach for your pet.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few DIY flea and tick treatments you may have heard of, and why they may not be so great after all:
Although rubbing alcohol can kill an adult flea, this liquid is easily absorbed through your dog’s skin — which means it’s not the safest choice, according to Healthline. The same is true for ticks: You’re better off leaving that rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet.
Healthline also explains that certain essential oils can be used as flea treatment. However, since some essential oils aren’t safe for your skin or your dog’s, it’s important to consult with your vet before using this or any other natural remedies.
Don’t grab your favorite shampoo when it comes to flea or tick management. As VetHelpDirect explains, your dog’s skin has a different acidity than yours, which means your shampoo could cause damage and discomfort.
Best Flea and Tick Treatments For Dogs
As we’ve seen, many at-home and natural remedies are either ineffective or unsafe choices for flea and tick treatment. Luckily, you have plenty of other safe options to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites!
- K9 Advantix: The K9 Advantix brand has something for dogs of all breeds. The tiniest Chihuahua and the largest St. Bernard can both find flea and tick medication that will suit their unique size.
- Advantage II: With Advantage II, you can peruse a variety of flea and tick treatments for your dog (and a few for your kitty, too). There are even household and yard treatments to complete your defense against nasty pests.
- Seresto Collar: Odorless and non-greasy, Seresto flea and tick collars give your dog the option to carry pest prevention with them at all times.
- Skout’s Honor: This flea and tick shampoo is designed for your dog’s skin, so it’s safer and healthier than using human shampoo on your furry friend. It’s also effective at killing, repelling and preventing fleas and ticks.
Get Rid of Flea and Ticks with Friendly Help
Fleas and ticks may be small, but they can cause big trouble. If you need help choosing the right flea control option, tick prevention technique or safe pest medication, we’re here to help.
At Pet Supermarket, our team knows how much you and your dog hate those creepy crawlies. No matter what your question is, we’ll guide you to the product, information or little-known tip that will help you keep ticks, fleas and their eggs where they belong — outside!
Visit your nearest Pet Supermarket to learn more about preventing and repelling fleas, ticks and all their unpleasant friends.