Everything You Need to Know About Dog Flea and Tick Care

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Introduction

Fleas and ticks are a pain in the tail, and most every dog family has to deal with them at some point. Don't let those buggers get your pooch down — you are just a few products away from a pest-free pet and home! With all the products on the market claiming to kill fleas instantly, we understand that you can be confused about which is right for your pup. Some of these products aren't safe for all dogs, and some don't work well at all. Don't let a bad flea preventative purchase come back to bite you — read on to find out which is right for Fido.

Tick and Flea Collars

Flea collars work in one of two ways: some release fumes that discourage fleas or ticks from attaching to the dog, while others work similarly to drops by releasing a poison onto the skin and fur which kills pests on contact. While they are easier on the wallet than other options, they don't always work well since the poison usually just protects the neck and face.

Sprays

Most flea sprays contain a poison like Fipronil, (S)-methoprene, or Pyrethrins which kills adult fleas on contact and keeps eggs from developing to adult size due to their growth-inhibiting properties. The product is sprayed all over the dog and can be massaged in with gloved hands to maximize effectiveness. While sprays are highly effective, they usually have a foul odor and give off fumes that are unsafe for children

Shampoos

A good flea shampoo is the best option for a current infestation. The key to ensuring a shampoo works is following the directions verbatim and leaving on the coat long enough for it to work. Most shampoos need to be left on for 10 to 20 minutes. Some shampoos contain unsafe chemicals for puppies and cats, so check with your vet before use.
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Combs

Flea combs are fine-toothed metal combs that can be run through your pup's coat to remove existing fleas. These will work to remove adult fleas, but there are a few downsides. This process is time-consuming and does not get the flea eggs or prevent future infestations. Owners with paw-ticularly hyper or sensitive dogs may have a hard time getting them to cooperate, so keep some treats handy!

Powders

While we don't recommend placing flea powder directly on your dog, this option is great for treating the environment when combined with other products like flea pills or drops. Dusting some flea powder on your carpet, furniture, and dog bed can kill buggers before they have a chance to bite your pup (or you!). Sprinkle diatomaceous earth outside your home to kill them before they get inside!

Pills and Chewables

Pills and chewable flea preventatives are a breeze to administer because they are mess-free and only have to be given once a month. Since they are flavored, most pets gobble them up without a fuss, thinking they received a treat rather than meds. Most flea pills and chews on the market are 99.9% effective for killing adult fleas. The only downside is these do not kill eggs or larvae. 

Drops

Flea drops usually come in squeeze tubes and are typically administered between the shoulder blades or at the base of the tail where the dog cannot reach to lick. Drops are only as strong as their active ingredient and thus their effectiveness can vary. Drops can cause serious health problems if used improperly or on nursing dogs and puppies. Check with your vet before you use these.