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Fleas catch you by surprise?!

Don’t worry, Dr Lau has advice to help you decide which flea and tick products is right for your pet!

“My pet has fleas. What can I do about it?” and other FAQ

Fleas are very common in our area year-round (but especially in the warmer months). Fleas bite pets as a food source but live and reproduce in the environment (grass, carpets, etc). A single female flea can result in a full-blown infestation in only a couple months. Keep reading for some active steps you can take to control fleas in your home.

“Which flea products are best?”

The most effective flea control products are prescription oral preventatives. Most topical flea and tick preventatives (including flea collars) are losing efficacy in our area because fleas are developing a resistance to  them. However, there are still some effective topical options for cats. Below see EFFECTIVE topical options available.

Topical options for cats: Bravecto (lasts 3 months – by prescription)

      Cheristin (lasts one month – available over the counter).

Talk to your vet about prescription oral flea preventatives. Most options are given every month, although some can be given every three months. It is best to give these medications consistently year-round. Be sure your pet is up to date on their annual exam, so we can be sure to keep their prescriptions up to date.

Oral options for dogs: Nexgard (lasts 1 month – by prescription)

  Simparica (lasts 1 month – by prescription)

  Credelio (lasts 1 month – by prescription)

  Comfortis (lasts 1 month – by prescription)

  Bravecto (lasts 3 months – by prescription)

Oral options for cats: Comfortis (lasts 1 month – by prescription)

“Should I bathe my pet?”

Bathing your pet is a good way to get rid of fleas that are on your pet in that moment. Use a mild shampoo (or even gentle dish soap) and create a sudsy lather. Let the lather sit on your pet’s fur for a 10-15 minutes. Pick off and squish any fleas that jump to your pet’s face and nose looking for escape. Then, rinse thoroughly. You do not need a medicated “flea” shampoo to wash your pet – the best way to prevent fleas long term is a prescription oral flea preventative.

NOTE: Topical flea preventatives can be made less effective with bathing within a certain time period of application. Check the label if you are using a topical preventative for bathing guidelines.

“What about side effects?”

Unfortunately, every medication comes with risk of side effects. Flea and tick preventatives carry a small risk of side effects. Your veterinarian can help you choose which product is safest for your individual pet, and talk to you about side effects to be aware of. If your pet does experience side effects, the medication can be discontinued and/or changed.

“How can I get rid of fleas in my home?”

Fleas live and reproduce in the environment, not on your pet. As a result, a flea problem needs to be tackled with prevention for both your pet AND the environment. Here’s how:

  • Keep all pets in the household on a reliable flea preventative year round.
  • Vacuum your carpets often – we recommend at least twice per week until your flea infestation is resolved. Flea eggs must be removed from the environment before they have the opportunity to hatch. Dispose of vacuum bag contents outside the house immediately, since eggs can stay viable in the trash.
  • Machine wash all bedding with hot water.
  • Consider using a flea bomb containing pyrethrins, such as Vet Kem products (available over the counter and online) in your home. Please follow all safety precautions outlined on the label.
  • If the above tips are not resulting in improvement within a month, consult an exterminator.
  • NOTE: Keeping your pets indoors can help reduce the chance of fleas, but fleas can still be carried inside by people and other pets.

“Does my pet need to see the vet?”

Fleas are NOT a medical emergency unless your pet is lethargic, pale, or inappetent. If you pet is up to date on their annual exam, simply give us a call or visit our website to chat with our LiveChat representatives to ask for a flea preventative prescription.

If your pet is extremely uncomfortable, damaging their skin while scratching, pulling out their hair, or is overdue for an annual exam, please contact us to make an appointment for your pet.

Have more questions? See our team on Chat Mon-Friday 8am-5pm and you might even chat with Dr Lau herself! You can leave messages for the team to answer outside of those times.

Super cute cat picture by Posh Pooch Portraits, our in house pet photographer!