No matter where you live or what season it is, fleas and ticks seem to be a constant problem for our furry friends (and sometimes for ourselves, too!). If you can afford prescription treatments and preventatives from your veterinarian, that’s a great way to deal with the little buggers. But if you can’t you should think twice about using over the counter (OTC) products. We’ve heard too many (and one is too many) horror stories about pets that have suffered terrible side effects from these products – including ones that have died. Play it safe and talk to your vet or a low cost wellness clinic for advice on controlling these pests.
Some general guidelines:
- Don’t put ANYTHING on your pet without a vet’s advice and follow instructions for dosing which is tied to species and weight.
- NEVER use dog specific products on cats. They may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats, which are NOT just small dogs. Make sure you read the label and that the product is made for YOUR pet’s species and size.
- Don’t over apply. Follow the scheduled treatment intervals on the product’s package. Avoid OTC products as mentioned above.
- After giving your pet a flea treatment, whether topical or pill, keep a close watch on them for the next 24 – 48 hours. If you observe drooling, balance issues, loss of coordination or anything unusual get your pet to the vet right away.
- You can always bathe your pet (if you can) with Dawn dish detergent to kill fleas. You may see the water run red (this is the flea dirt washing off) so you can lather and rinse until the water runs clear. Just be careful not to get the soap in your pet’s eyes, ears or mouth.
- Treat your house as well by vacuuming thoroughly and either replacing the bag or emptying the canister into a plastic bag and removing it from your house. You may need to do this every day or several times a day until you are sure the fleas are gone.
- Try dusting carpets and pet bedding with food grade diatomaceous earth. This non-toxic natural product is great for community cat bedding when you can’t treat the cat with topical flea treatments.