There is really no way to completely eliminate exposure to fleas and ticks. The best thing we can do is try to prevent the tiny pests from attaching to our dogs and infesting our homes. Luckily some products on the market can help.
Spot-on treatments are dog-safe chemical pesticides that are applied directly to the dog's skin. The most popular are FRONTLINE, K9 Advantix and Advantage. These products are available through your veterinarian or at most retail pet stores. When used properly, these products can be very effective for dogs, but they are not good for cats. It is always a good idea to consult a veterinarian when choosing a spot-on treatment.
Sprays and Shampoos
Flea and tick sprays and shampoos are good for immediate relief, but they usually only kill the adult fleas and ticks. Any eggs will be left unharmed, and after a few days fleas and ticks can come back. Also, sprays and shampoos are more likely to irritate a dog's eyes, ears and other sensitive areas.
Dogs and owners who prefer non-chemical treatments for fleas and ticks have several options. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends brushing your dog daily with a flea comb in addition to washing bedding, vacuuming daily and steam-cleaning carpets frequently. Some natural plant oils can be used to ward off insects, like lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and citronella oils. Use the oils by rubbing them between a dog's shoulder blades.
The best way to keep fleas and ticks away from your dog is through a combination of treatments designed for your specific dog with the help of a veterinarian. Frequent combing and vacuuming in combination with a chemical or natural treatment will help keep the bugs off your pet and out of your home.
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