You may already know the importance of protecting your pet against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, to prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as heartworm disease, anemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis, but you may be struggling with choosing the best preventive for your furry pal. And, if you have cats and dogs at home, finding the optimal flea and tick preventive for both species takes some research, to ensure your pets are safely treated with the appropriate product. Before stocking up on the best prevention product for the summer swarm of fleas and ticks, consider the following questions to help make your choice. 

Question: Does my pet spend a lot of time in the water?

Answer: If your pet spends a lot of time swimming in your backyard pool, or a pond or lake, an oral flea and tick preventive may be the best choice. While many topical products and collars still work with some swimming and bathing, as they claim, constant immersion in water may interfere with the product’s efficacy. To ensure your pet is fully protected, stick to an oral flea and tick preventive. 

Q: Can I use the same product for my cat and dog?

A: Many manufacturing companies create separate dog and cat products labeled under the same name, such as Advantage Multi, Seresto, Bravecto, Frontline, and more. But, while these products have the same name, the canine and feline versions vary in dosages. Cats can be highly sensitive to parasiticides, and giving your cat a product labeled for dogs can cause severe neurologic issues, and sometimes death. Always check your cat or dog’s preventive carefully before applying the product.

Q: What if I don’t remember to give the preventive every month?

A: We understand that life happens, and you may forget to give your pet their flea and tick preventive every month. Fortunately, long-lasting options that don’t need to be given monthly, offering an extended protection period, are available. Some products can last up to eight months, so if that sounds like a great option for you, look for one of these longer-lasting preventives. You can also set a repeating reminder in your phone, or most manufacturers offer free reminding services for their parasite prevention products. 

Q: If I can’t give my cat a pill, what are my options?

A: Giving a cat a pill can be a challenge, no matter how well the pill is disguised under a pile of tuna, canned cheese, or whipped cream. If your feline freaks out with pill administration, choose another prevention form, such as a topical product or a veterinary-approved collar. The key with topical products is to apply them high enough up the neck, so your cat can’t reach around and ingest the product while grooming. Long-lasting products are available for cats, which limits the number of times you need to struggle with applying preventive each year.

Q: My dog and cat always groom each other, so which preventive is safest for them?

A: If your pets snuggle together, or groom each other, they will need to be separated if you use a topical product. The minimum contact-free time is two hours, but longer is ideal, especially if your pets lick and groom the area on the back of the neck. If keeping your pets separated is difficult, consider an oral preventive instead.

Q: Since my dogs wrestle and play together a lot, will flea and tick collars hold up?

A: Unfortunately, no collars, including the long-lasting, veterinary-approved Seresto collar, can withstand rough play. Flea collars are not meant for use as regular collars, and cannot hold up to tugging, pulling, or chewing. If you have two dogs who wrestle, oral flea and tick preventives may be the best option.

Q: Does my flea and tick prevention product also protect my pet against heartworms?

A: The U.S. has lagged a bit behind Europe, but products are finally becoming available that contain protection against mosquitoes, as well as fleas and ticks, although many products still protect against two parasites, such as only fleas and ticks, or heartworms and fleas. Depending on the product type you prefer, you may be able to purchase preventive that tackles all three parasites with one easy monthly dose. 

Is your head swimming with Bravecto, Seresto, Nexgard, Simparica Trio, and countless other parasite prevention products, after looking at our online pharmacy at Somerset Animal Hospital? We understand how confusing searching for the perfect prevention method to keep your furry pal safe from an assortment of blood-sucking parasites can be. Contact us, if you need help deciding how best to protect your pet from parasites.