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Protect your pet from fleas and ticks

Consumer Reports News: May 02, 2011 03:53 PM

Yes, fleas and ticks are bad, for you and your pet. Flea bites itch, and ticks carry Lyme disease. But be cautious when you apply flea and tick medicine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that the products caused about 600 pet deaths and 44,000 harmful reactions in 2008. Small dogs and cats seem particularly vulnerable, especially if given products meant for larger animals.

Tips for using flea and tick treatments:

  • Use gloves when applying the medicine and read the label. If you don't understand it, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer.

  • If the product is for dogs, don't use it on cats or other pets. And make sure you follow weight requirements—don’t put a product meant for a medium-to-large dog on a small one.

  • Watch for side effects. Symptoms like poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation are signs of poisoning.

  • If your pet has a bad reaction immediately give them a bath using mild soap and lots of water. Then call the vet.

  • Keep pets separated from one anther after applying a product, until it has time to dry. You don’t want pets to ingest the topical treatment when grooming each other.

  • If your pet is older, medicated, weak, sick, pregnant, or nursing, talk to your vet before using a flea and tick product.

  • Don't apply a product on kittens or puppies unless the label allows for it. For pets too young for flea and tick products, use a flea comb to pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks.

Read more about our advice on pet products, Lyme disease, and how to remove ticks from your body.

Pesticides: Health and Safety [EPA]

Taking the bite out of fleas and ticks [FDA]

Maggie Shader


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