Flea and Tick Preventatives

Apr 8, 2021   Tracey Aston   Health & Wellness

Spring brings the joys of warmer weather, flowers beginning to bloom and trees starting to bud but it also brings the nuisance of fleas and ticks. One flea and tick preventative in particular has been in the news lately –Seresto. The Seresto collar is advertised as “releasing a sustained, low dose of pest-eradicating ingredients that can protect your pet.”  While the Seresto collar is generally considered safe for pets and many pets haven't had any reactions at all, it's important to note that all medications, even those for humans, can have side effects.

Seresto side effects can include rash, itching, scabbing at collar site, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble walking, tremors, excessive fatigue and excessive drooling.

The oral flea and tick preventatives, Bravecto and Nexguard, list possible side effects such as vomiting, decreased appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia seizure, hyperactivity/ restlessness and panting. Severe reactions, which are considered rare, can include muscle tremors, seizures, neurologic adverse reactions and suspected neurological toxicity.

Advantix and Frontline, both topical, monthly flea and tick preventives, have their own side of possible side effects such as skin irritation dermatitis, redness, scratching, chemical burns and possible infection from open sores. Possible severe reactions can include seizures and loss of motor functions. Both products are put on the back of the neck where the pet can't reach it. However, if there are other pets in the house, especially cats, it can be fatal if ingested. Cats will often clean their canine siblings and dogs will play by mouthing at each other. These are just two examples of how another pet in the house could ingest the product.

Not all pets will experience the above side effects and many pets may not experience any side effects at all. Some side effects may diminish with time or go away completely. Some pets can have life-threatening reactions. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell which reaction a pet is going to have. For this reason, it's always best to be informed and weigh pros vs. cons when it comes to flea and tick preventatives.  Does your pet go along for hikes deep in the woods? Is the pet included in family camping trips? Enter areas of high grass? Spend a lot of time outside? If the answer is yes, then it may be worth speaking to your veterinarian about what preventive is best for your pet. Fleas and ticks can be harmful and carry diseases such as Lyme. Our blog on Fleas and Ticks goes more in-depth about the risk of fleas and ticks.

As an alternative to chemical preventatives, there are a few all natural remedies that could benefit your pet.

WONDERCIDE is an all-natural flea and tick repellent made from Cedar, Lemongrass, Peppermint and Rosemary and is proven to kill, repel, and prevent 98-100% of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without harmful chemicals.

 Springtime makes an all-natural, pet safe, garlic supplement that can be fed in either powered granules or chewable form.  Do not give garlic to cats!

Buck Mountain has an organic parasite dust made with organic neem, yarrow and diatom flour that will kill flies, fleas, ticks, mites.

If your pet does spend a lot of time in your yard, and isn't known to nibble on plants, Lavender, Rosemary, Marigolds, Catnip, Cedar, and Lemongrass are natural flea and tick deterrents.  Yarrow is also known to deter fleas and ticks but is extremely toxic to both dogs and cats if ingested. If planting Yarrow, do so in an area the pet can't reach, or if your pet has been known to snack on plants, skip the Yarrow completely.

We all want to keep our pets safe and protected from fleas and ticks but it's important to speak to your veterinarian about possible effects. If your pet is showing warning signs of seizure or neurological issues, this is an emergency! Get your pet to the nearest animal hospital immediately! All natural remedies can be a possible alternative, but remember, all natural doesn't equal zero side effects either. Weigh the pros and cons in regard to your pet's lifestyle and habits and make an informed decision with your pet's healthcare provider. 

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