Spring is here and summer is around the corner! After a cold and long winter, you can take again long walks in the parks or in the country with your dog, and your cat has left the fireplace to lie outside in this delicious and warm sunbeam. Everything seems perfect, but your pets are not the only ones going out of hibernation! Heartworms, fleas and ticks are back to life too, and are waiting for comfy hosts, who happen to be your furry friends!
There is a large selection of heartworm, intestinal parasite, flea, and tick prevention products on the market. No one product is perfect for all dogs because each dog – and its companion family – has a different lifestyle and needs. You need to choose the right one for your pet!
1) Heartworms: prevention is key! Warmer days bring mosquitoes which can transmit deadly heartworm disease. Treatments for dogs are costly and physically harmful and there is no treatment for cats! Prevention is essential! Take your puppy to the vet for a worm check to make sure he’s not infected, because certain preventatives can cause an adverse reaction. If your pooch’s test comes back negative, you can start on heartworm preventative. No test is required for cats to be placed on prevention however. Bonus! Heartworm medication also prevents or eliminates a number of intestinal parasites and even, sometimes, fleas!
2) Get rid of the fleas! When it comes to fleas, they are active all year round in the warmer parts of the country. As pets spend more time outside, they are at increased risk of a flea infestation that can lead to anemia, allergic skin disease, tapeworms, and other more serious diseases. You must treat all dogs and cats in the household at the same time each month, using a monthly preventive product that can kill fleas at all life stages. What is worse (for both of you!) than a pet scratching continuously and finding fleas in the couch or in your bed? Make sure it doesn’t happen!
3) Don’t let that ugly tick take a bite of your pet! Ticks can also cause their own set of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, and local painful reactions to the tick bite itself. To appropriately prevent tick infestations, you must use another product than the flea repellent, which is often applied to the pet between their shoulders. It might not be such a bother for your dog, but cats tend to hate it, be prepared for some wrestling action!
4) Ask the vet and be careful! It is really important that you ask your vet about the appropriate products and medication you need to give your beloved pet. The market has become crowded with more products that all seem equivalent but not all are safe or obtained in an ethical manner. While the manufacturers say these products are safe, they are still pesticides. Holistically minded pet parents who want to keep their animals toxin-free resist using chemicals when pest problems do not exist. Parasites tend to feed on weaker animals, so if your pet is very healthy, he might not be attractive to parasites, and therefore may be able to go without any prevention methods including chemicals
5) Keep your home and your pet clean! Regularly vacuum, especially the places where your pet spends much of its time and clean all bedding at least once a week. These are the places where parasites thrive and might flee when you treat your pet, just to come back again when the way is clear! Giving a bath to your pet will kill any fleas on him, but won’t keep them to come back if not treated.
6) A healthy pet is a happy pet! Does your pet have to lose these winter extra pounds? Make sure you provide a healthy treat and be all set for the upcoming bikini season and the exciting trips to the beach – with a doggy life-jacket of course!!