flea medication, fleas

PET HEALTH CORNER: 5 Flea Medication Tips for Pet Owners

As summer comes to a close, it doesn’t mean fleas are heading out the door with it. In most parts of Ontario, peak flea season is early August to October! Whatever flea medication you choose to use on your pets, it’s important you use it properly.

Here are some great tips from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) to help you know you’re using medications safely and protecting your pets, year-round. Tips taken from Using Flea Medications Safely: Top 5 Tips for Pet Parents:

Top 5 Flea Medication Tips for Pet Owners

  1. flea medication, fleas
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    Read the labels!
    Questions to ask:

    • Is my pet the right age for this product? Many flea medications are not labeled for use in puppies or kittens less than six months of age.
    • Do I have the right medication for my species of pet? We can see potentially fatal reactions with some dog flea medications when they are applied to cats.
    • Am I going to apply this in the right way? Should this be applied to the skin or given by mouth?
    • Is there a health reason that my pet should not have this medication? Always consult with your veterinarian if your pet has any existing health conditions or if they are nursing or pregnant to ensure that the flea medications will be safe.
    • If you have both a cat and a dog, talk to your vet to make sure that the flea medications that you are using for your dog are safe to use around your cat.
  2. Unless your vet says so, never use multiple flea medications on your pet.
    • Some flea medications may not produce immediate effects.
    • Flea medications can work together, but if they are the same class of medications, they can lead to a buildup of toxicity levels.
  3. fleas, flea medication, tips
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    Your vet should be your primary source of information on the medication – not the Internet. 

    • The Internet is not always a reliable source on medical topics. Rumours on how to treat fleas could put your pet in danger.
    • For example: Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and garlic (Allium sativum) are commonly recommended to treat or prevent fleas. However, they can be seriously dangerous to pets, depending how they are used.
    • Always speak to your vet before trying alternative flea control methods.
  4. Double check the medication and the pet
    • With multiple pets in home and possibly multiple medications, it’s important to confirm you are treating the right pet!

Being prepared for an accident

5. Accidents happen! What do you do?

  • If topical medication gets in your pet’s eye, or they lick the medication, or your pet starts having a reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • The APCC also advises if you apply a dog flea medication to a cat and the cat starts to have uncontrollable shaking, convulsions, or seizures, take them immediately to a veterinary hospital. This can take up to 48 hours to occur, so be on the lookout!
Aug 26, 2016
by Emily Cook