Flea, Tick, and Heartworm
In almost every area of the world, fleas and/or ticks are a problem. They multiply easily as well as transmit diseases and cause irritation to whatever or whomever they choose to bite. It is extremely important that you protect your puppy from fleas and ticks for their well being and the well being of your home.
Various options for flea and tick prevention
There are several different options for flea and tick prevention to choose from. One option is a flea collar. Your puppy wears it around their neck and it repels the fleas and ticks. I have found from personal experience that, although it is the most inexpensive and readily available, it is not the most effective method of prevention.
Another option is a topical liquid that is applied one a month to the skin between your puppy’s shoulder blades. It releases a chemical subcutaneously that kills fleas and ticks and their eggs. A popular brand is Frontline. You can find this and other similar types of products for purchase easily on the internet or in your veterinarian’s office. I have found these products to be very effective and easy to use, as long as you can remember to administer it monthly.
Yet another option is a pill that you give your puppy once a month. This pill gets the medication into your dog’s bloodstream and kills fleas and their eggs, but not ticks. If you choose this method of prevention and you do not live in an area prevalent with ticks, your puppy should be protected. If, however, you live in a warmer and/or wooded area, you will need to have another form of protection against ticks like a tick collar.
Talk to your veterinarian Discuss these options with your veterinarian to decide which method you want to use and also ask him at what age it is safe to begin treatment as some of these methods may not be safe for puppies under a certain age.
Heartworms are another potentially deadly parasite that your dog may become infected with. They are transmitted through mosquitoes and can be deadly if not treated early or aggressively enough.
Heartworm treatment/prevention options
There are several options for heartworm treatment and, in most cases, heartworm prevention will also prevent any intestinal parasites your dog may have or contract.
The most common form of heartworm prevention is a chewy block-like pill that they take. It usually has a beef or liver flavor that your dog will readily eat. It is administered once a month and, when used consistently, will prevent any heartworms or parasites from growing or thriving in your dog. Heartgard is the most well-known brand of this type of prevention but there are others to choose from as well.
Another option is a chewable tablet that is much smaller and harder but still has a beef or liver taste to it to make it palatable to the dog. As with the other method, it needs to be administered once a month in order to maintain its effectiveness.
Your dog will need a blood test to ensure that he doesn’t already have heartworms before beginning a prevention program. For this reason, heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention can only be purchased through a veterinarian.