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Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment

How to Know What You Need

By Matt Popkin. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

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Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment

Where you live plays a big role in what sort of flea and tick protection, like K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus, you should be using on your pets.

Location, location, location! When it comes time to treat your pet during flea and tick season, those three words ring true. Where you live plays a big role in what sort of flea and tick protection you should be using on your pets. Luckily, our Flea & Tick map is a great resource to help you decide what your best course of action is.

Fleas Like It Hot

Much like retiring grandparents, fleas are attracted to the warmer climates. If your area’s average temperature is below 40 degrees, we classify that as a “Low Flea Alert.” If your area’s average temperature is between 40 and 64 degrees, that’s a “Moderate Flea Alert.” If your area’s average temperature is 65 and above, that’s a “High Flea Alert.”

What does this mean? Simply put, if you live in an area where it stays really hot all year round, you need to take the advice of many veterinarians and provide constant flea protection for your pet.  That means you need a flea treatment solution that keeps your pet pest-free, but also is as low-hassle for you as possible since you will have to apply the treatment to your pet throughout the entire year.

When to Treat for Fleas in the Heat

For instance, if you live in some parts of the Southern United States, you will be dealing with the ideal conditions for fleas: between 65 and 80 degrees and 70 to 85 percent humidity. In this case, it may be easiest to use spot on flea and tick treatments like K9 Advantix II, Advantage Multi for Cats, or Frontline Plus. Both need to be applied to your pet only once a month and kill existing fleas while also regulating flea growth. K9 Advantix II also kills and repels mosquitoes, which are found in high numbers in hot areas of the country as well.

If you’re worried about missing a spot when you apply spot on solutions, you can also use oral flea pills like Comfortis or Capstar Flea Killer to give your pet quick pest relief. Some of these treatments begin working within 30 minutes and render all fleas dead within four hours. However, some oral flea pills only last for 24 hours, meaning if you live in a hot region and need protection every single day of the year, it’s probably easier to use the spot on treatment.

Perhaps the easiest way to provide non-stop protection for your pet is to use a long-lasting flea collar, like Seresto, which releases flea and tick repelling chemicals for 8 months. You can place the collar on your pet, and they'll be protected for months.

When to Treat for Fleas in the Rain

If you live in a cold and wet climate, both K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus are waterproof, meaning they can keep your pet flea-free even during a rain shower. Just apply the spot on solution once a month, and you’re good to go. That fact is good to know for those living in hot and dry climates as well. Let your dog swim in that lake or jump in front of that garden hose! Your pet will still be protected from fleas afterwards.

When to Treat For Fleas in the Cold

Ok, so you live somewhere that can be downright freezing. There’s only a high flea threat during a few months of the year. When should you begin to treat your dog?

If you’re set on not providing your dog with year round flea protection, we recommend you begin treatment on your dog a few months before the peak flea season for your area. Find out when that will be by looking at the graph at the bottom of our map, which is based off your region’s historical weather data.

Welcome to Tick Country

Sadly, ticks don’t take vacations. Your pet can get bit by a tick year round, depending on your home state. That means if your pet spends a good amount of time outside, you should seriously consider getting some strong tick protection.

Our map shows the different types of ticks commonly found in the United States, some of which are most associated with certain diseases. Deer ticks can cause Lyme disease; American dog ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as cause tick paralysis; the Brown dog tick can cause Ehrlichiosis, which can become incurable; and Lone Star ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

West Coast Ticks

Using our map, you can see that on the West Coast, you’re likely to find the brown dog tick, American dog tick, and deer tick in different combinations. And if you’re living in California, there’s a chance you might have to deal with all three!

Southern and East Coast Ticks

However, that isn’t even the most crowded tick area in the United States. For that you have to head to the South and the East Coast, where you will find four different types of ticks: the brown dog tick, American dog tick, deer tick, and the Lone Star tick.

Tick Treatment

Fear not! For the best flea and tick medication for dogs, several spot on medicines that kill fleas also kill ticks, including K9 Advantix II, Frontline Plus, and PetArmor. In hot areas where there are large numbers of both fleas and ticks, these spot on treatments seem to be the best bet to protect your pet from all those pests out there.

Products Mentioned

K9 Advantix II
Frontline Plus for Dogs
Capstar Flea Killer
Comfortis
PetArmor
Seresto

More Flea and Tick Control Advice

Tapeworms in Dogs: How Fleas Can Be to Blame
What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas for Your Pet?
Be Flea Free: Protect Yourself From Pests

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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