Fruit Valley Veterinary Clinic

Flea and Tick Control for Dogs

Flea Prevention

The most likely months for fleas to find their way inside your house are July to November, unless you are visited by a stray or wild animal, or a pet that has fleas. Adult fleas survive the winter if they are on an animal. Cocooned fleas hatch out when they sense good conditions such as humidity, or pets. (but they can also be enticed to hatch out by vacuuming) Flea eggs and larvae tend to dry out and die when the humidity is less than 40 %, so fleas do not reproduce well in most upstate NY homes during the winter. If you have fleas in the winter, the most important time to treat all pets is when the humidity in your home goes over 40% (April, May, or early June): fleas will be hatching out of their cocoons and soon lay new fertile eggs if you don't stop them.

Most fleas can be prevented by monthly applications of advantage or revolution from July 15-Oct 15.

Any cat or dog with skin problems should be treated every 3 weeks with advantage or revolution unless they react poorly to both products. This will prevent fleas from contributing to their problems.

For Dogs, combined heartworm, intestinal and flea control products, used monthly:
Advantage-multi is a drop-on product that controls fleas, heartworms, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms, we recommend its use from June1- Nov 1; pills that cover the same parasites include Sentinel (which doesn't kill fleas, but prevents the eggs and larvae from developing) or Trifexis (Which does kill fleas) from May 15 to Nov 15.

For flea and tick control: Frontline, a monthly drop-on product, kills ticks before they transmit disease, but often after they have attached to your pet. We recommend removing the ticks with a tick twister or very fine tweezers if found. Frontline is slow enough at killing fleas to be ineffective unless used on a dog receiving Sentinel.

Seresto collars for dogs and cats repel and kill fleas and ticks very safely and effectively for 8 months.

Advantix and other synthetic pyrethrin products can be very effective flea and tick control, but will make some dogs sick and can kill cats. We do not sell them, if you select them at the store: know the product that you are selecting and how to use it. They are allowed to sell products considered safe to the environment but not necessarily to a cat. Many products sold over the counter are not only dangerous: they are ineffective.

Bravecto is a pill for dogs over 6 months old that kills fleas and ticks for 3 months.

Ticks

Ticks can spread lyme disease, which is increasing in Oswego. In areas like New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island, many dogs will test positive for exposure to the Lyme disease- causing bacteria, but relatively few actually have the clinical disease.

Ticks should be removed promptly after detection. They should be removed by grasping close to the skin at the head/neck region of the tick without compressing the blood-filled body. Squeezing the body can inject the dog/cat with contaminated blood from the tick. Special tweezers and devices are available to help remove ticks easily. Gently wash the tick wound with water. DO NOT use wacky techniques like smothering the attached tick with vaseline, gasoline or alcohol. Swift mechanical removal is best.

If your pet is going into a tick-infested area, there are products available to repel or kill ticks. However, these products take time to act on the ticks and it is recommended that the pet be checked frequently for ticks and that they be removed promptly as described above.

Ticks may be seen throughout the year, sometimes even on winter days when there is no snow on the ground. We see the most ticks in the spring and the fall.

Blood tests can detect antibody to the Lyme bacteria, indicating past exposure. There are vaccines to reduce the chances of Lyme disease in dogs. Lyme disease is not seen in cats. However, there are other tickborne diseases besides Lyme disease that can affect dogs and cats.

Click here for additional information about ticks and lyme disease.