We know that keeping fleas and ticks away from your pets and out of your home is your priority. There are many different options available to help keep these pests away, and it may be tricky to determine which product does what. Your veterinarian can also help you determine exactly which product will best suit your dog or cat. We’ve put together a list of the different types of flea and tick preventatives and how they work.
These liquid medications come in a tube applicator and are applied to your dog or cat’s skin. Topicals or “Spot Ons” are usually placed by parting the hair at the base of the neck or between the shoulder blades. Depending on the product, the topical medications work 2 ways. Some absorb through the skin into the bloodstream and kill the pest once they bite. Others spread across the body with the natural skin oils and kill or repel the pest on contact. For dogs or cats that are difficult to give oral medications, topical pest treatments are preferred by owners.
These medications come in a soft chew or chewable tablet that your dog or cat can eat like a treat. Once given, the medication circulates in the bloodstream, and when a flea or tick bites your dog, it’s exposed to the pesticide and dies. Oral medications may be preferred over topicals for animals who easily take pills. Owners may come in contact with the liquid while applying it or touching their animal.
Flea and tick shampoos obviously help clean your dog and cat but more importantly help wash away and kill the nasty pests quickly on contact. Shampoos need to sit for a short period of time before rinsing to allow them to work. Some shampoos stay effective for days after a bath but are ideal for short-term treatment only. Dips are used similarly but are left to dry without rinsing, and are very concentrated.
Flea and tick collars are worn around your dog or cat’s neck and come in adjustable sizes. The collars work against pests by releasing their ingredients over the animal’s skin. Depending on the brand, collars can provide 5-12 months of protection before needing to be replaced. Owners may prefer collars as a “hands-off” approach over administering topical or oral medications.