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How to de-flea your pet

Updated on August 29, 2007

Spring and summer is the high season for fleas. Do not be surprised if you find one of these nasty little vampires on your dog or your cat. One being the operative word, chances are there is more then just one flea on your dog with the rate this vampires spread however with a little bit of effort your pet can be flea-free in no time.

There is plethora of products available on the market, anything from special anti-flea shampoos to collars. It can be a bit confusing to know where to even start, especially if you are a first time dog or cat owner. Even though most of the products advertise "Fleas be gone in less then 24 hours" do not be surprised if you find some left over fleas even after you have treated your pet. Since fleas go through 4 life cycles some forms may still develop, that is why it is essential to keep up with the preventive treatment and treat both your pet and your home.

Lets look at the some of the products that may be of help to you:

· Flea comb

One of the tools that is often overlooked, especially with kittens and puppies. Keep a bowl of clean water and a bowl of water with mild detergent next to you while you comb your pet. Dip the comb first in soapy water, then rinse it out in clean water to clean it from fleas and fleas feces.

· Topical treatments

Topical treatments are basically insecticides that are applied on your pet's back, between the shoulder blades and are generally used once a month to kill the egzisting fleas and as a prevention measure. Some of the topicals can be used on dogs, while can be extremely dangerous for cats, so make sure to read the labels carefully and pick one that will work best for your pet. Usually topicals contain one of the following Fipronil, permethrin and pyrethrin. Topicals containing Permethrin should NOT be use on cats while Fipronil may have irritating side effects. The most well-known topicals include Advantage, Bio-spot, Frontline and K9 Advantix. Makre sure to research any of these topicals before you purchase them and apply on your pet. Look for ingredients and possible side effects they might have on your pet.

· Sprays

Sprays come in 2 varieties, either as a hand pump or an aerosol spray. When spraying your pet do this in a well-ventilated area and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Even though you are using a spray it does not mean your pet has to be soaking in it, however do make sure to cover all of your pet. Also make sure the spray does not get in both your pet or your eyes.

· Shampoos

Even though some shampoos have some residual effect, usually they are used to get rid off the fleas that are already on your pet. Work the shampoo well into your pet's coat and leave it to work for 10 minutes if possible. Mind the ears and the eyes and check the ingredients in the shampoo as well.

· Rinses and dips

They are usually applied to all of your pet and have some residual effects. When using a dip or a rinse, make sure to protect your animal's eyes and ears (for ears cotton balls can be used, but do not push them too far in, while for the eyes you can use an opthamological ointment). Check the ingredients for these products as well as they may contain pyrethrins, organophosphates and permethrins.

· Collars

Collars can be pretty effective as a preventive measure, however you will have to make sure you put them on properly (meaning you should be able to put 2 of your fingers between the collar and your pet's neck). As collar are usually too long, cut off the excess to make sure your pet does not chew on it. Read the instructions on the box, it should tell you how long the collar is effective, however if your dog likes to swim or play in the water you might have to replace the collar sooner. Also check if there is any reaction under the collar, if there is remove the collar immediately. Some collars may contain permethrin, organophosphates and Amitraz and should not be used on cats.

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