Fleas & ticks are annoying, but are they a health risk?

Fleas and ticks are not only a nuisance but pose animal and human health risks. Some of the diseases that fleas and ticks carry can be transmitted from animals to humans  (known as zoonotic diseases).  

There are many effective flea and tick preventives to help control pests and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Some are topical products that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, others are given by mouth in the form of a pill or treat.  

Always check with your veterinarian before using any flea and tick product, including over-the-counter products. This is especially important for elderly or sick pets, puppies or kittens, pets who are on medications, or pets who are pregnant or nursing. Some breeds are sensitive to certain ingredients that can make them extremely ill. Do not use dog products on cats or cat products on dogs. Cats are very sensitive to insecticides –  a few drops of a topical treatment designed for dogs can be fatal to a cat. 

When applying topical preventives, keep pets separate while the product dries. Wear gloves or wash your hands with soap and water after applying a topical or feeding your pet an oral flea and tick preventive. Be sure to follow instructions for proper storage and disposal of packaging. 

Flea and tick prevention is an important part of taking good care of your cat or dog,  but it’s vital to know how to use these products safely. Your veterinarian can help you  choose the safest, most effective products for your pet.