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The Best Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs in California: Plus 5 Steps to Getting Rid of Fleas and Ticks
California is among the few states that enjoy sunshine all year round, which unfortunately means that fleas and ticks are a year-round threat rather than a seasonal one.
Fleas and ticks can cause many health problems for your furry friend if left untreated.
However, with proper treatment and preventative measures, your dog can be free from ticks and fleas and live a happy and healthy life.
Read along to learn about the crucial steps to flea and tick prevention and the best flea and tick treatments for dogs.
Flea and Tick Prevention for Pets in California
As stated, fleas and ticks are a year-round concern in California. For this reason, pet owners are urged to stay on top of flea and tick prevention, leaving no chance for new infestations.
There's nothing worse than seeing your dog scratch his body or appear uncomfortable because of tick and flea infestation.
Worse, these parasites can lead to serious health issues in both dogs and humans.
Tick Infestation in Dogs
Tick infestations are not only uncomfortable for your dog, but can also cause serious issues like infection, paralysis, and even death.
Ticks can also transmit several diseases to pets and humans, including Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Moreover, tick saliva can impact your dog's health if he is allergic to tick saliva.
Tick-borne diseases can take a serious toll on your dog's health and can often be misdiagnosed. Even if they're diagnosed correctly, treating tick-borne diseases takes time and is costly.
Fleas in Dogs
Fleas can also pose risks to your pet and family.
The trickiest thing about fleas is how fast they reproduce. One flea can lay about 40 eggs every day. If you see several fleas on your dog, just imagine how many eggs are laid daily.
Symptoms of a flea infestation include itching and scratching, flaky skin, redness, and hair loss.
The scratching, biting, and digging of the skin due to a flea infestation can subsequently lead to hair loss and infection (flea-allergy dermatitis).
Fleas can also carry tapeworms, which cause low appetite, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and dull coat. Flea infestations can even lead to anemia due to blood loss in worst case scenarios.
Crucial Steps for Eliminating Fleas and Ticks in Dogs
Once an infestation occurs, eliminating fleas and ticks from your pets can be more challenging than it sounds.
The fact that you see fleas and ticks on your dog doesn't mean that they're the only ones infected. Other pets in your homestead, home, and yard are also affected.
To effectively treat your dog for flea and tick infestation, you should treat all your pets, home, and yard. Of course, avoiding infestation from the start is ideal, which highlights the importance of preventative treatments.
Here are crucial steps for eliminating fleas and ticks from your dog, home, and property:
1. Treat Your Dog Using Effective Flea and Tick Products
The first step to resolving a flea and tick infestation on your dog is utilizing appropriate flea and tick treatments. Fortunately, many prescription and over-the-counter products can help in this regard.
When choosing the best flea and tick product for your dog, aim for ones that can keep killing ticks and fleas over time.
Of course, you should ensure that the products are veterinary approved to avoid adverse effects on your dog.
Before you use any product on your dog, read the product label and contact your veterinarian to ensure that:
- The product is formulated for dogs
- The treatment is right for your dog's life stage (some products are intended for adults only, while others can be used for both adults and puppies)
- The product is appropriate for your dog’s weight range
- You’ve chosen the best administration method for your circumstances (chewable, topicals, sprays)
- The product is designed to begin working in your desired time frame
- There are no special precautions that need to be taken
- You’re aware of side effects associated with the product use
- You have an emergency number to call in case anything goes wrong
The best thing is not to assume anything and consult your veterinarian if you need any clarification.
Pet parents have many options to choose from when selecting the best flea and tick treatments for dogs. These includes:
- Topical drops
- Oral medications
- Sprays and wipes
- Flea and tick collars
- Yard treatments
To win the war against fleas and ticks in dogs, you should use medications that prevent pests from laying a foundation in your homestead.
As such, you need to choose treatments that don't just kill adult fleas and ticks but also eggs and larvae.
One of the most effective flea and tick treatments is Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs.
This treatment helps fight a flea infestation by breaking the flea life cycle and killing both adult fleas and eggs.
REVOLUTION for dogs is also effective at preventing and controlling tick infestations.
The best part is that the treatment can be used on young puppies and pregnant and nursing females. The product requires veterinarian approval and/or a prescription. Please consult your veterinarian for dosage and treatment advice.
If you're looking for chewable flea and tick protection, you may consider Bravecto Soft Chews for Dogs.
This treatment is ideal if you want a long-lasting flea and tick prevention option. One chew can protect your dog for up to three months. The product requires veterinarian approval and/or a prescription. Please consult your veterinarian for dosage and treatment advice.
Another chewable option for flea and tick protection is NexGard Soft Chews for Dogs. These beef flavored chews are given monthly and can be used on dogs 8 weeks and older, where Bravecto is only for dogs 6 months and older. Both NexGard and Bravecto Chews require veterinarian approval and/or a prescription. As always, talk to your veterinarian for proper dosage and treatment protocol.
There are also topical options that do not require a prescription. A good example of an “over the counter” (OTC) topical treatment is FRONTLINE Gold for Dogs flea and tick treatment. It disrupts the life cycle of fleas by killing adult fleas, eggs, and larvae.
Although Frontline does not require a prescription, always consult your veterinarian before use.
Active ingredients in this treatment include fipronil, pyriproxyfen, and (S)-methoprene. These ingredients help disrupt the flea life cycle to free your dog from possible flea infestations in the future.
The treatment is easy to apply. Regular application is required to break a flea infestation cycle (it can take up to a month to disrupt the entire flea life cycle).
In addition to topical and chewable options, flea and tick collars for dogs can also provide effective and long-term protection against ticks and fleas. Please read the directions before usage.
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs is a great option for an effective flea and tick collar.
This dog flea and tick collar provides up to eight months of protection and can be used for dogs aged seven weeks and above. The product is EPA-approved.
Please note, NEVER use Flea and Tick treatments intended for Dogs on Cats.
2. Give Your Dog a Bath
Another way to relieve your dog from fleas and ticks is by giving him a flea bath using a flea and tick treatment shampoo.
Flea and tick shampoos clean and condition your dog's fur for a comfortable experience. However, these products don't just clean your dog's fur; they kill fleas and ticks, kill flea eggs, and deodorize your dog.
Vet-Kem Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats is a good example of a shampoo you can use to treat your dog for ticks and fleas.
Notable ingredients include oatmeal, aloe, lanolin, and coconut extract. This product can help kill adult fleas, flea eggs, and ticks. Use as your veterinarian directs for better results and your dog's safety.
3. Treat Other Pets in Your Home
To effectively prevent a flea and tick infestation from recurring, you should treat all potential and active flea and tick hosts. In other words, you should treat all pets in your home.
If you treat your dog and ignore your cat, for example, it will be a matter of time before you have a reinfestation. Even if you only see pests on your dog, treat all other pets in the household.
For instance, you can use Bravecto Topical Solution for Cats if you have cats. Like dogs, consult your veterinarian before using any flea and tick treatment on your cat and other pets in the household.
4. Treat and Vacuum Your Home
To prevent flea and tick reinfestation, treat your home as well (both indoors and outdoors). These places where pets spend most of their time can act as potential hiding places and breeding grounds for pests.
A good example of flea treatment for your home is Vet-Kem Home Spray. This product can help kill adult fleas and ticks in carpets, bedding, and other such places in your home.
Besides fleas and ticks, this product can kill spiders, mosquitoes, bugs, and ants.
For safety purposes, cover foods and food-handling items to avoid contamination and stay away from sprayed areas for some time, as advised on the product label.
Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner to vacuum your home before spraying flea and tick treatments.
5. Treat the Yard
Even if you treat infested pets, potential hosts, and your home, your success may be short-lived if you don't treat your yard. In fact, this is a crucial step in the fight against pests.
There are many reasons why your yard is at high risk of infestation. One of the reasons is that your neighbor's pets and wildlife can shed pests, including eggs, there.
Mow the grass in your backyard and then use yard pest control spray like Vet-Kem Yard Pest Control Spray. This EPA-approved product will kill fleas, ticks, and other outdoor insects in your backyard.
Keep Your Dog Free from Ticks and Fleas
As you can see, there are many flea and tick treatment options to choose from. Flea and tick treatments are not one-size-fits-all, but with so many choices available pet owners can find the right solution for their furry friends.
Some products can work for all dog breeds, others will cause sensitivity issues for some breeds. Additionally, some products can be used for all life stages, while others cannot be used on puppies and seniors.
The best approach is to work with your veterinarian to determine the best flea and tick treatment option for your dog. And remember, prevention is typically the best form of protection; ask your vet about preventative options before an infestation has the chance to occur.