Flea & Tick Control

Topicals, chewables, collars? The confusion with flea & tick prevention is running rampant! Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or solution. We live in New England and yes, we have fleas but the ticks are the bane of our existence! If you take your dog out of the house you probably need some kind of protection.

The opinions on "chemically based" products range from safe to absolutely killing dogs. As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in between.  We need to understand that all of these products are some kind of insecticide and come with a certain amount of risk.  We also need to remember that this is not a one size fits all situation.  Which product you decide to use depends on your dog, your lifestyle and your personal beliefs. I would not treat a 4lb Chihuahua who lives in an apartment building and uses puppy pads the same as a 60lb golden retriever who hikes the mountains with his owner every weekend.

Each class of products has their own pros and cons and we could probably write a book on that alone so we'll just give you some highlights. We still favor the Seresto collar. It has been highly effective on ticks and, in our experience, the side effects have been minimal. It's easy on and off  and lasts eight months. Now, if you have little ones, or other pets who may chew or constantly handle the collar then maybe a chewable may be a better bet for you.  Topicals may leave a greasy stain on your pet's fur for a few days, so again if you have little ones or animals that groom each other, this may not be the best choice for you.  Chewables use the newest class of insecticides called isoxazolines. Their makeup is supposed to make them "less risky" to mammals but the possibility of neurological adverse reactions and seizures is real. Our biggest concern with these is that once ingested, if there is an adverse reaction, your dog can be treated for symptoms but there is no way to eliminate it from their body. It will have to run its cycle. With topicals, you can bathe your dog multiple times. No, that will not remove it from their bloodstream but it will remove any residue from their skin and coat thus shortening that exposure. The same with the collar. Removal may not terminate the whole process in some cases, but it will terminate any further exposure.

One extremely important thing that happens a lot is that people superimpose multiple products on the animals. For example, they have given the dog an oral chew  but they still find some ticks, so they decide to put on a Seresto collar also, NO!! Just don't do it. If you need a boost, use an herbal natural spray that won't increase your pets' chemical load. There are natural products that can be very effective but generally require a little more time and attention.  We'd be happy to discuss those with you. These are not risk free either.  Any animal can react to any product at any point, even if they have been exposed to it for a long period of time.

The takeaway: Flea & Tick Prevention is not one size fits all. Assess your environment and risks, consider your pets health, age and size, and make the best decision you can with the information you have. Things change all the time. New studies, products and recommendations evolve. We'll always try to give you the facts and give you our take. Please don't feel guilty that you may or may not be doing the "correct thing". You can only make the decision based on what you know at this moment. We all have nothing but love and the best interest of our animals at heart. Be well!