Flea and Tick Treatment How to Get Rid of These Parasites on Your Pets

Flea and Tick Treatment

Fleas and ticks are nasty parasites that suck pets' blood and can leave diseases behind. Yuck! Here's how you can rid your home and your pet of fleas and ticks.

As a pet owner, you probably do your best to avoid your pet getting fleas or ticks. If you don't know the basics of flea prevention for dogs and cats, here are some tips on how to treat pets for fleas and ticks, as well as ridding your home of pesky insects.

Tick Treatment:

If you have a tick on your skin, or on your petโ€™s skin, the first task is to remove the tick using tweezers. Use a steady outward motion with the tweezers, and make sure that you have completely removed the tick -- sometimes its mouthparts can remain in the skin. Wash the area with soapy water, and sterilize the tweezers.

Since the tick may or may not have carried a disease, the next step is to be watchful of symptoms. For people, symptoms of a tick bite that carry a disease include fevers, aches, and a rash developing in the area of the bite. For pets, the symptoms can include a loss of appetite, stiff legs, or fever-like symptoms. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, visit the vet immediately.

Get Rid of the Fleas:

Fleas, like ticks, can carry diseases and cause irritation to your pet. To get rid of fleas, youโ€™ll need to attack at two stages of the life cycle: the adult and the not-yet-born egg. Fleas lay an extraordinary amount of eggs, so itโ€™s possible that you could kill all the living fleas on your pet and in your home, only to have a few weeks pass and the eggs hatch, starting the cycle all over again. To attack the eggs, youโ€™ll want to use a treatment method that has an insect growth regulator, or IGR, which prevents the fleas from being able to reproduce. This will halt fleas from creating endless eggs. Then, youโ€™ll just need to eliminate the already existing adults. Treatment options include oral medications, shampoos for your pet, and topical ointments such as Vectra 3D spot-on treatment.

Remove the Eggs:

In order to get rid of the flea eggs, youโ€™ll want to thoroughly wash and vacuum everywhere you can. All fabric surfaces -- particularly in areas where your pet likes to spend time -- should be cleaned. Also, use the vacuum to get in the baseboards of your home and any cracks and crevices where eggs may be. Pay the most attention to your petโ€™s bedding; fleas often lay eggs close to where they live, which is very often on your cat or dog. If necessary, you can also use a flea bomb or IGR spray on your home to remove the presence of fleas from your home.

While fleas and ticks are a real challenge, with some thorough cleaning, and smart use of treatments, you can eradicate the problem. Consult your vet if you see symptoms of diseases that ticks carry, and for advice on the best flea and tick treatment method if your pet has fleas.

How Do Broad Spectrum Pesticides Like Flea and Tick Meds Work? 

Broad-spectrum pesticides have become an everyday part of most petsโ€™ lives -- the flea and tick medications we use to keep them safe from infestation are usually considered โ€œbroad-spectrum.โ€ So what does this term mean?

What Does โ€œBroad Spectrumโ€ Mean?

The term broad-spectrum indicates that a medication addresses more than one issue at the same time. A broad-spectrum pesticide will target more than one pest.

What Are โ€œBroad Spectrum Flea and Tickโ€ Medications?

In the case of flea and tick medications, the term is self-evident: broad spectrum flea and tick medications deal with both fleas and ticks. Not just one or the other.

Some broad-spectrum pest treatments will deal with mites, mange, and other parasites. Some flea and tick drugs may also deal with worms, and/or the larval and pupae stages of a parasiteโ€™s life cycle. Check with your veterinarian to be sure youโ€™re using a medication that addresses the correct issues your pet may face.

How Do Broad Spectrum Pesticides Work?

The most common broad-spectrum flea and tick drugs are topical. Theyโ€™re a thick liquid, dispensed from individual-use tubes. The liquid is applied monthly to a petโ€™s skin. The medication will, over a period of 2 to 48 hours, be absorbed into the subcutaneous layer of fat on your petโ€™s skin. There, it makes your petโ€™s body an inhospitable environment for parasites.

Some flea and tick medications work as soon as a parasite bites your pet. Theyโ€™ll be infected with the drugโ€™s poisons and then theyโ€™ll bring the toxins back to their nesting site, where others will become infected and die. With other types of medications, bites are not necessary, and the poison is absorbed directly through the pestโ€™s feet.

Most broad-spectrum flea and tick spot-on treatments interrupt the pest life cycle in some way -- either killing eggs or rendering larvae sterile to prevent them from reproducing so that they die off.

What Are the Pros of Using Broad Spectrum Flea and Tick?

Using a broad-spectrum spot-on treatment saves time and effort. Rather than remembering to apply or dispense several medications over the course of one month, you can apply just the one, and move on. Using broad-spectrum meds can also save money, as opposed to purchasing treatments for each parasite individually.

What Are the Cons of Using Broad Spectrum Meds?

Broad-spectrum flea and tick medications are formulations of strong chemicals. Insects everywhere are becoming ever more resistant to these chemicals as we use them more and more, forcing pharmaceutical companies to make their drugs stronger to combat those resistances.

Some people argue that we donโ€™t know what the long-term effects will be of saturating our environments, our homes, and our pets. Some pet parents believe it makes sense to err on the side of fewer chemicals. If you live in an area where one parasite is of more concern than another, you may want to treat just the one issue, rather than going for a broad spectrum approach.

What Are Some Types of Broad Spectrum Flea and Tick Medications?

The most common types of broad-spectrum flea and tick medications are Advantix IIFrontline Plus, and Revolution. Most of them treat not just fleas and ticks, but other parasites as well:

 Advantix II

 Fleas, ticks, biting flies, and chewing lice.

 Frontline Plus

 Fleas, ticks, chewing lice, sarcoptic mites, at every stage of the life cycle.


 Fleas and their eggs, ticks, ear mites, scabies.

Fleas and ticks are not only gross and uncomfortable for your pet, but they can result in more than a couple of seriously debilitating diseases. Keep them away with the best option for your pet. Compare more flea and tick meds.

More on Fleas and Ticks

How Do Flea and Tick Treatments Work?
Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment
Flea and Tick Medication Comparison Chart
Get Rid of Fleas in 8 Steps Infographic
K9 Advantix vs. Frontline Plus for Dogs

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