Your 2019 Guide For Flea, Tick, & Heartworm Medications

Your 2019 Guide For Flea, Tick, & Heartworm Medications

When it comes to deciding on what treat, collar, harness, or toy is going to be best for your pet - is always difficult. There are always so many aspects to consider from will your pet like it, to is it safe, does it have natural and safe ingredients, to will it work or last? This interrogation of products for your pet only becomes more difficult when trying decide what type of care to use when preventing fleas, ticks, and heart worms. Although we know these meds are necessary for our pets, but how do we know which one is best for them and their system? Well we've compiled a guide to give you the facts on just that so you can compare for yourself what treatment is best for your pet!

1. Flea & Tick Medications 

It's a wild world out there, and your dog and cat want to sniff, lick, and experience it to the fullest. Sometimes that means they pick up a few creepy crawlers on the way that might lead to some itching, and if untreated could really make them ill. How to decide between flea collars, topical creams, or pills? See the details below on each one! Age, species, breed, health status, and any current medications should all be considered when choosing a flea medication for your pet. All of the flea/tick preventatives are medications and any new products should not be started without first talking with your veterinarian.

  • Topical Medication -
    • Often referred to as 'spot on' treatments, these usually oily creams are to be applied at the base of your pets neck and down to between their shoulder blades, or all the way down the center of their back depending on directions for your brand. Some of these creams not only kill fleas and ticks but include a repellent as an additional layer of protection.  
    • Once applied it will spread throughout their skin with use of their sweat glands. You should keep children and other animals away from this pet until the solution has dried. 
    • Once dried, your pet is free to play around in water or be bathed. Be sure to use gentle shampoo that won't irritate the skin or strip away the medication. 
    • Side effects can be further itching, scratching, and irritation in which case you should talk your vet about employing a different remedy. 
  • Oral Medication
    • Easy to use, oral flea and tick medications are very popular among pet owners. Oral medications currently only do half the battle though and kill current infestations, but they don't repel against future ones. 
    • Common side effects can be an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea, in some cases skin irritation or depression has been reported but that is more uncommon. If any of these effects persist, it's best to contact your vet. 
    • Some oral and topical medications can also act as heart worm medication so be sure to evaluate each products benefits when assessing your pets coverage needs. 
  • Collars
    • Another easy to use and common favorite for pet owners. No need to schedule time to take a pill or wait for an ointments or topical creams to dry. You simply let them wear the collar which emits a concentrated chemical that kill and repel ticks and fleas. Although these are relatively well-priced, they can sometimes be very potent and cause irritation for you or your pet. You also want to avoid children and others don't touch the collar. 
  • Sprays
    • Sprays are often used for spot treatment, when you know your pet has a flea or tick in a certain area and you want to kill it on site, immediately. We don't recommend spray as a full coverage, as it's difficult to be thorough with only the spray bottle. 
    • These are not waterproof so your pet can't get wet or be bathed after applying the spray. 
    • Make sure not to get any spray in your pet's eyes, ears, or mouth. 
  • Powders
    • Like sprays, powders can be difficult to apply as they require you dusting their entire body with these chemical agents, and rubbing them into their fur. This can cause skin irritation and in some cases vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. This is a highly potent chemical mixture usually and we don't highly recommend it for use against fleas and ticks. 
  • Shampoos
    • Shampoos are helpful when washing away dead fleas or ticks, or their eggs, disrupting future infestations but this is only a temporary measure and won't repel against future fleas or ticks trying to infiltrate your pet's healthy tresses. 
  • Dips
    • These are highly concentrated liquid solution diluted with water and applied to your pet. Afterward, they do not get rinsed and need to be air dried.
    • Dips cannot be used on very young pets, puppies or kittens or if they are nursing or pregnant.
    • It is usually advised to have a dip done by a professional, as they are very concentrated and should be used with extreme caution. If you are administering a dip, it is important to protect your skin and eyes while applying to the pet. You should also avoid the pet’s eyes and mouth.

Heart Worm Medications

The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round administration of heartworm preventives to ensure pets are protected from deadly heartworms. Medications for heartworm prevention and treatment are only available by prescription from veterinarians. Prevention is always the best option, as damage from heartworms can be permanent. 

Here at Waggles, we usually like to keep this as 'all-natural' as possible, but it's important to note that there are no natural products that can be used for prevention or treatment of heartworms. We recommend always using FDA-approved products as recommended by your veterinarian.

  • Oral Heartworm Medications
    • Definitely one of the most common forms of heart worm medication are the oral tablets or chewables, administered once a month. 
    • Many of the heartworm brands available today contain either ivermectin or milbemycin as the active ingredient, and many serve more than one function— not only killing heartworm larvae but also eliminating internal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms. 
    • We recommend watching your dog or cat to ensure they chew and swallow the entire tablet and don't spit it out or upchuck it, if so this will render the medication useless. 
  • Topical Heartworm Medications
    • These are also applied once a month, usually between your pet's shoulder blades or at the base of their neck. 
    • These preventatives sometimes contain active ingredients that also work to eliminate fleas, mange mites, and roundworms. 
    • These topical treatments are toxic if ingested so be sure to watch your pet until the solution has set and dried before allowing them to interact with children, other animals, furniture, or flooring. 
  • Heartworm Medication Injections
    •  Moxidectin can be administered as an injection for up to six months protection from heartworms.
    • The injectable heartworm medication does come with restrictions on its use and must be administered by a veterinarian and this is only after intensive training in its proper use.
    • Your veterinarian is also required to record the lot number of the product used for your pet and must report any adverse effects that may arise.


Facts To Consider When Deciding 

When looking for to cure your dog of fleas and ticks, the usage of the treatment is something to take into consideration.

Oral medication (flea pills) usually have to be taken daily until the infestation is gone. Topical treatments, however, can be administered once a month and can last up to 30 days.

Cat & Dog Friendly
If you are looking for a treatment that cures both dogs and cats then a topical treatment might be the best option for you.

Oral medication prescribed by a vet has a different dosage for cats and dogs and will vary depending on their age and weight. A topical treatment, however, is applied to the skin so it is safe for both dogs and cats.

Your Pet's Age
The age of your dog or cat is an important factor in determining whether topical or oral medication is best for your pet. Topical treatments, depending on the brand and ingredients, can usually be given to pets from 7 weeks onwards. Oral medication, however, is given when your pet is usually 14 weeks or older.

While the topical treatments provide almost immediate relief, they are not as effective as oral medication as a whole. As flea pills are prescribed by a vet, they're often a stronger and more powerful treatment that ensure the fleas and ticks will be eliminated. 

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