Spring has sprung! While this brings more walks, play-time outside, and visits to the dog park, it also brings more pests, like fleas and ticks. 


Fleas are small bugs that like to live in your pet’s coat, making them itchy and leaving lots of little bits, along with their eggs! Ticks come in several varieties and like to live in your pup’s coat, around their ears, around their joints, and near their pelvis. They like to feast on your pet’s blood and can carry a host of diseases. Tick-borne Lyme Disease is one of the most commonly known diseases passed via tick. Lyme Disease can lead to kidney failure, neurological dysfunction, and death. 


How do you prevent these bugs from bothering your precious pet? Flea and tick prevention! 


There are lots of options out there, but we recommend a topical, once-a-month treatment like Frontline. These over-the-counter treatments work by leaving a pesticide and insecticide on your pet’s skin. This treatment not only repels fleas and ticks, but actively affects all life-stages of these pests to kill them. The medicine will dry within 12hours of application and your pup can be safely pet, handled, and bathed. 


While rare, if you notice your pet experiencing lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, or swelling, take your dog to a vet immediately! These side effects typically happen because your dog has a different underlying condition or is allergic to one of the ingredients in this medication. 


We do not recommend Simparica Trio or Seresto collars. Simparica Trio is an oral medication used to treat fleas, ticks, heartworm, and hook-worm. While there are currently no confirmed side effects of this medication in healthy dogs, the method of killing parasites with Simparica Trio concerns us and needs further investigation. Simparica Trio causes nerve inhibition, specifically preventing uptake of GABA and glutamate, in the pests. However, dogs and other mammals also rely on GABA and glutamate uptake for proper nerve function and it is unclear how the medicine in Simparica Trio only affects pests. 


Seresto collars are collars worn for several months that release a pesticide and insecticide continuously on the pet, working similarly to Frontline and Sentinel. However, there have been recent confirmed deaths of pets from exposure to Seresto collars. Seresto collars are still being sold and there are no recalls by the company on their product, so be cautious when choosing your flea and tick prevention. We have a previous post about Seresto collars and their potential deadly side effects, posted 3/3/2021 on our instagram page.


If you find fleas or ticks on your dog before you begin preventative medicine, be sure to remove the pests! For ticks, use fine point tweezers or a “tick hook” to fully remove the tick without opening a wound on your dog or releasing infectious agents from the tick into your dog. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can be applied on burrowed ticks to help suffocate them so that they surface more easily. After removing the tick, save the tick in a sealed plastic bag (or two!) for several months. If your dog becomes ill within the next several months, bring the tick with you to the vet so it can be identified to potentially diagnose any tick-borne disease. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the tick and sanitize the area on your dog with some rubbing alcohol. 


Fleas can be removed from your pet by using a flea shampoo and giving your dog a bath. A flea comb should then be used to remove live and dead fleas from the coat. Repeat these steps as needed. Fleas look like small, dark seeds. If after combing and bathing they still remain, clipping or shaving infected areas may be necessary. Continue to check your dog and home for evidence of fleas for several weeks after treatment.