4 min read
Are Flea and Tick Prevention Medications Worth the Investment?
By Emily Gantt
Published: 12/17/2021, edited: 12/17/2021
Save on pet insurance for your pet
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
Fleas and ticks are the arch nemeses of pet parents all over the globe — they're itchy, gross, and can even cause sickness in those they bite. But not all pet parents are convinced that flea and tick prevention medications are worth the investment.
This skepticism about the safety and practicality of flea and tick preventatives is largely due to misinformation. In this article, we'll debunk some of these myths and help you decide if parasite preventatives are worth the investment.
Why are some pet parents skeptical about flea and tick preventatives?
Misconceptions about flea and tick preventatives make some pet parents hesitant to use them. Let's discuss some of the more common misconceptions about parasite control and the truth behind them.
Claim: My dog doesn't need flea meds in the winter.
Fact-check: While it is true that fleas and ticks are less active outdoors in colder months, infestations can still happen, especially in milder climates. Fleas that hitch a ride on your woofer can find a comfy place to feed and breed inside your warm home. Speaking of reproduction, a single female flea can produce 50 eggs in a single day — this means just one flea can turn into a full-blown home infestation in a matter of weeks.
Claim: Parasite preventatives are unnecessary if you live in areas where ticks are uncommon.
Fact-check: There are no states in the US where ticks are uncommon since there are tick species in all 50 states. Even Alaska, where the average temperature is well below freezing, has 6 different kinds of ticks.
Claim: Flea and tick meds can poison my pet.
Fact-check: Some pet parents worry about flea and tick med poisoning, but this is rarely a problem when pet parents use these medications in accordance with the product labeling and directions. Avoid risks of flea and tick med poisoning by ensuring you're using the correct product and dosage for your pet's species and weight. Likewise, you should always check that medications are not expired before administering them to your pet.
Are flea and tick prevention medications worth the investment?
You may be wondering if flea and tick prevention is worth the expense — after all, preventative meds cost as much as $200 a year. Let's explore some reasons why flea and tick prevention medications are essential for your pet's health (and yours too).
They prevent flea- and tick-borne illnesses
Flea and tick meds do more than just get rid of creepy crawlies. They also offer potentially life-saving protection from parasite-borne illnesses like tick paralysis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Tick-borne illnesses aren't just a pet problem, either — 300,000 people annually contract Lyme disease in the US.
Most people are aware of the risks that tick bites carry, but did you know flea bites can also spread nasty infections in people and pets? Fleas were the main source of transmission for the bubonic plague, which killed between 75 and 200 million people — needless to say, fleas are very effective at transmitting illnesses.
Regularly treating your pet with flea and tick meds won't eliminate the risk of being bitten by fleas and ticks while outdoors, but it can significantly reduce the chance of being bitten in your home.
Fleas can cause your pets to become anemic
The health risks fleas pose don’t stop at bacterial infections and intestinal parasites. Severe flea infestations can cause pets to become anemic, depleting pets of both blood and iron. As red blood cell counts dwindle, the body's ability to transport oxygen declines, and animals with flea anemia may become too weak to walk or even eat.
Flea anemia can be life-threatening for small pets, and some animals need blood transfusions to restore the blood that the fleas have drained. Not only are the effects of flea anemia heartbreaking to watch, but they're also expensive to treat — and entirely preventable.
Flea infestations are a pain
When pets have a flea infestation, they often bite and scratch their skin until it bleeds, just for relief. Now imagine those fleas spread to your home, taking refuge in your sheets and carpets, just waiting to bite any passersby — humans included. Sounds unpleasant, doesn’t it?
Not only is a home infestation an incredibly itchy nuisance, but it's also challenging to treat. If you choose to use flea sprays or foggers to treat your home, you'll need to evacuate until the toxic fumes die down, which can be inconvenient and challenging if you have pets and children.
What's more, you'll end up spending as much to treat a home for a full-blown flea infestation as you would for flea meds, plus you'll still have to treat your pets to keep fleas at bay.
Should I buy flea and tick preventatives for my pet?
Some pet parents are reluctant to start their pets on flea and tick preventatives because of the cost. However, the cost of not treating your pets for fleas and ticks can be much higher than medication. Fleas and ticks can cause a slew of illnesses, some of which can be fatal or life-long conditions.
What's more, flea infestations in the home are expensive to treat, and it may take weeks or months to eliminate the problem. Between the cost of medical treatment for flea- and tick-related illnesses and the expense of treating a household, it's best to use preventative medications to tackle flea and tick problems before they arise.
Preventative care for pets can be expensive, and pet insurance plans usually don't cover flea and tick treatments. Our wellness plans have a flea and tick med add-on to help you pay for your pet's parasite preventatives. Wellness packages can reimburse up to 100% of the cost of routine exams and diagnostic tests within 24 hours. To find the right option for your pet and budget, check out our wellness plans.