There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a pet.
Almost 60% of homes in America have at least one pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. About half of those owners say they consider their pet a member of the family.
Having a critter companion can be good for your health, too. Studies have shown being around an animal can ease depression, lower blood pressure and stress, and keep you active. Heart attack patients who have a dog can live longer than those who don’t.
When should you treat your dog with flea or tick products? It depends on where you live.
Fleas are worst during warm-weather months, but they can live inside your home all year long. Spring and summer are usually the heaviest time for ticks. But they, too, can live year-round in some parts of the U.S.
If you see signs of these pests on your pet, treat them right away. Otherwise, start treatment at the beginning of flea or tick season. Your vet can tell you when if you’re not sure. Some areas require year-round treatment.
Types of Prevention
A number of flea treatments are on the market. Some also prevent ticks or other pests.
The most popular products are pills and the ''spot-on'' treatments that go onto your dog’s skin between his shoulder blades. They work well and are easy to apply. Other products come in the form of dips, shampoos, collars, foggers, and sprays.
1. Check with your vet before you use any flea or tick product. This is key if your dog is:
Taking other drugs
Pregnant or nursing
Allergic to flea products
In these cases, the vet might suggest you use a special comb to pick up fleas, eggs, and ticks. Then drown the pests in hot, soapy water.
2. Follow instructions. Don’t use dog products on a cat, as this could be deadly. Only apply the amount needed for your pet's size. Never double up on products. There’s no need to pair a powder with a spot-on treatment.
3. Wear gloves, or wash your hands with soap and water after you apply the drug. Follow the instructions for proper storage and disposal of packaging.