Ask Dr. Tory: What's your number one tip for flea and tick prevention?

by Sundays

Golden retriever dog on back outside in a pile of hay

Flea and tick “season” is upon us. It’s important to protect your pup from these pests, especially as we get ready to spend more time outdoors.

The best piece of advice when it comes to protecting your dog from fleas and ticks is to not think of it as a seasonal issue but as a year-round risk. You should use preventatives year-round, whatever that preventative may be. I recently found a tick on my dog Mabel in February - and this was after a deep freeze here in Ohio! Luckily the tick was dead because we keep her  on preventatives year-round

We partake in high risk activities like hiking and dog sporting events all year. That is why I use prevention all year. Many oral medications are overall very safe and I think the benefits outweigh potential risks - especially due to my dog’s lifestyle and risk factors. 

Flea and tick health risks for dogs

Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of an infected tick. Once in the bloodstream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints or kidneys. Most dogs infected with the Lyme disease organism take two to five months before they show symptoms and unfortunately by this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body.

And nobody likes fleas. A flea problem for a dog can result in contact dermatitis which comes along with endless scratching and discomfort, but can also lead to more serious problems like tapeworm Infestations, canine bartonellosis and anemia in some pups. Flea allergic dogs can also have a severe reaction to just one flea bite. Additionally, fleas can infect our homes and be incredibly difficult to exterminate.

Flea and tick prevention for dogs

Although there is a risk with administering any medication, I do feel that the benefits far outweigh the minimal risks when it comes to flea and tick preventatives. Fleas and especially ticks transmit a wide variety of diseases that are also transmissible to people. Many of these diseases can require months of antibiotics to effectively treat and some infections can last lifelong even with appropriate treatment. Speak with your veterinarian about what preventatives are best for your dog based on lifestyle, risk factors and geographic location.

Try Healthy, Easy Sundays