Flea and Tick Treatment Options

by Taylor Solomon

 Photo: Amanda Newsom

Photo: Amanda Newsom

As we enter another hot Georgia summer, one thought on everyone’s mind is how we protect ourselves from buggy visitors. As humans, we can light as many tiki torches and douse ourselves in as much bug spray as we like, but what about our furry friends? Ticks are infamous for carrying diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 

Mosquitos are a pest that isn’t usually thought of when considering flea and tick treatment, but they are carriers of heartworms and are an important consideration when choosing preventative options for your pets. Treatment for heartworms in dogs is a long, expensive and potentially-dangerous process, and there is currently no treatment for heartworm-positive cats.

When a flea circus moves onto your pet, itching, redness, flaky skin, scabs and hair loss are soon to follow. And once fleas invade your home, it’s not an easy feat to remove them from fabrics, nooks and crannies!

Prevention is key when it comes to fleas and ticks. The best way to treat these problems is to stop them before they happen. Below, we’ve outlined several products and medications available, as well as some natural methods of prevention:

ORAL TABLETS AND CHEWS: This medication is taken orally and travels through your pet’s bloodstream to the skin to kill unwanted pests. Some medications kill fleas and ticks as well as heartworms and other intestinal parasites.

TOPICAL TREATMENTS: Topical treatments come in drop form and are applied directly to your pet’s skin. These can be used to treat existing conditions and help prevent future outbreaks.

COLLARS: Flea and tick collars are coated in a chemical which repels pests. They are thin and flexible to provide comfort toyour pet and last several months, making them a very economical option.

SPRAYS AND SHAMPOOS: Shampoos are used like usual bath products with the added bonus of flea and tick prevention. Sprays are used between baths and make for an easy and inexpensive prevention method.

NATURAL OILS: Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, lemongrass or cedar oils can be diluted and used as sprays or in bath products. Apply in a well-ventilated area—never around your pet’s face—and remember a little goes a long way.

VINEGAR: Vinegar can be added to your dog or cat’s diet to protect them from unwanted visitors. Put 1 teaspoon per quart of water in your pets’ drinking water or diluted in water in a one-to-one mixture to spray on your pet’s coat.

Some flea and tick treatments have proven to be more effective than others, particularly in recent years, so we recommend doing your research to find the option that will be best for your pet. It’s also important to keep your pets, even those that are indoor-only, on treatment year-round for the most effective preventative strategy. Find what works for your pets to enjoy the summer flea and tick-free!