A new puppy coming home raises a lot of questions and concerns in addition to the excitement. These questions include finding the best flea and tick prevention once your puppy is old enough to start preventative care. Choosing the right product can be done with confidence and doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, with the right guidance.
Why is Flea and Tick Prevention Important for Puppies?
Flea Prevention for Puppies
Flea and tick prevention protects puppies by killing any fleas or ticks that latch onto a puppy’s skin. Once on your dog, these parasites feed on your puppy’s blood and can cause anemia (significant blood loss). If the flea and tick infestation is serious enough, a puppy may need a blood transfusion to survive.
Fleas can also transmit an intestinal parasite called tapeworms. If a puppy eats a flea infected with tapeworms, it can acquire tapeworms. These intestinal parasites cause itchiness and irritation around the anus.
Tick Prevention for Puppies
Ticks can transmit a variety of bacterial diseases that can become severe including:
While not every tick carries bacteria, others may carry more than one type. If a tick does carry a bacterial infection, it must feed on a puppy for at least 24 to 48 hours to transmit the bacteria into the puppy’s bloodstream and cause a tick-borne disease.
Flea and Tick Prevention Schedule for Puppies
Always administer flea and tick prevention to puppies year-round to fully protect them from parasites. Most dogs spend a great deal of time outdoors which can increase the likelihood of encountering fleas and ticks.
Even if puppies spend little time outdoors—or solely use pee pads indoors—they are still at risk for acquiring fleas and ticks. Humans can also unknowingly carry fleas and ticks inside the house either on their clothing or shoes. It’s easy for fleas and ticks to jump on pets from these sources and feed.
If you maintain a strict schedule for administering flea and tick prevention to your puppy, you will protect them from fleas and ticks, as well as tapeworms and the tick-borne diseases they carry.
6 Best Flea and Tick Prevention Products for Puppies
Bravecto 1 month chew comes in a pork-flavored hydrolyzed chew that protects against fleas and ticks for 1 month. Once a puppy is over 6 months of age, it can be switched over to the Bravecto 3-month chew that is given every 90 days for flea and tick prevention.
Nexgard is an oral flea and tick prevention that comes in a soft, beef-flavored chewable tablet. It is to be given with a meal once monthly to kill and protect against fleas and ticks.
Simparica Trio protects against fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Simparica Trio comes in a liver-flavored chewable tablet that is to be given once monthly.
Simparica is an oral flea/tick prevention, without heartworm or intestinal parasite prevention. It comes in a liver-flavored chewable tablet and is given once monthly with a meal.
K9 Advantix II is a waterproof topical flea/tick prevention that kills mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and lice and repels biting flies. Packaged in applicator tubes, this product needs to be applied directly to the skin in two to three doses on the back once monthly.
Seresto flea/tick collar is odorless, water resistant, and is worn around the neck. Seresto collars protect against fleas, ticks, and lice for up to eight months. As a puppy grows, its collar may need to be loosened so it is not too tight around the neck due to growth. It is not recommended to remove the collar when puppies take a bath or go swimming.
Oral flea/tick products are the most effective, killing fleas and ticks within 24 hours—which is faster than topical products, or Seresto collars. Collars take 24 hours to kill fleas and 48 hours to kill ticks, which leaves time for ticks to transmit a tick-borne disease before being killed by the active ingredient in the Seresto collar. Because fleas are becoming resistant to topical flea/tick products, oral flea and tick prevention is recommended as the fastest, most effective way to kill fleas and ticks.
What to Consider Before Starting Flea and Tick Prevention
When choosing the best flea/tick prevention for your puppy, it is important to talk to your veterinarian to ensure your puppy is set up for success before starting its preventative care. Your veterinarian will want to make sure the following list is complete before introducing any new medication.
Age of Puppy
The age of the puppy is important to determine when a dog can appropriately start flea and tick medication. If your puppy is a rescue, your veterinarian will be able to determine an approximate age based on its physical features and other health indicators.
Weight of Puppy
Remember your puppy will grow for several months but the amount of growth will depend on the breed. Toy, medium, and large-breed dogs grow until they are a year of age, while giant breed dogs, like Great Danes and Mastiffs, grow until they are 18 months of age. As your puppy grows, the weight range of the flea/tick prevention needs to be adjusted based on the rate of its growth. At every exam appointment, your veterinarian will weigh your puppy to dispense the proper dose of flea/tick prevention.
Flea and Tick Preventatives for Dogs Only
Always purchase flea and tick prevention made specifically for dogs. Flea and tick products for dogs are not to be used on cats or any other animal. Likewise, flea and tick prevention for cats should never be used on your puppy. Read the product directions before applying and keep these products away from children as they can be harmful if ingested or get into the eyes.
Maintain a Consistent Schedule
Set a reminder on your phone or calendar for when your puppy is due for flea/tick prevention. Skipping or delaying a recommended dose of flea and tick prevention increases its chances of acquiring fleas and ticks. Some flea/tick preventatives provide stickers to put on your calendar as a reminder.
Featured Image: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic
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