What's Buggin?

I saw an adorable commercial the other day for a flea and tick treatment call Bravecto. In the commercial, an entire biker gang was rallied around one tiny little Yorkshire Terrier; angry at all the fleas and ticks for attacking their little pup. Thankfully for the dog, and the bikers, there are numerous high quality products available to prevent flea and tick infestations. Along with the long-acting product, Bravecto, the advertisement was selling, there are oral and topical medications aimed at preventing these despicable critters from attaching to your pet and spreading disease.
Fleas are not just an annoyance that causes us and our furry friends to itch. Fleas can cause severe allergic reactions, drain our pets of their blood causing life threatening anemia, and spread internal parasites. Fleas multiply rapidly and it takes only a few days for a very large population to develop. Only a very small portion (roughly 5 %) of that population is the adults you see hopping and running around on your pet, the rest are microscopic eggs, larvae, and pupae that are just waiting to wake up and chew on everything in sight. Once this population is established it isn’t as simple as one flea treatment and they are gone. All pets, clothing, furniture, floors, carpets, and yards need to be treated to prevent a re-infestation. Since nothing can kill the flea pupae, this process can take MONTHS! So if you want to avoid the hassles and side effects associated with these little buggers, I recommend preventative treatment like Nexgard, Activyl, Bravecto or Seresto year round. Yes, that means even in the winter! Here in the Willamette Valley, every season is “flea season”.
Ticks pose a problem of their very own. These little arachnids are wonderful at spreading some really nasty diseases like Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Not only that, but ticks can actually paralyze a dog (and people, I saw it on Facebook so it must be true). Products are available on the market to kill and repel ticks, and are conveniently combined with flea preventatives like Nexgard and Bravecto.
Some common internet myths with regards to treating and preventing fleas, because not everything on the internet is true (I know, mind blown)!
-Flea baths are only temporary and NEVER kill every flea on your pet.
-Garlic is toxic and does NOTHING to prevent fleas from eating your pet.
-Cedar shavings do not keep fleas from infesting your yard.
-Over the counter flea collars do not work.
-Essential oils, in any combination, are not effective against fleas; they just make your pet smell nice.
- Apple cider vinegar, whether they drink it or bathe in it, does nothing for fleas.
- Lemon juice again, topical or internal, not going to help the battle against fleas.
- Raw food diets, nope, not going to keep the little bugs off.
-Oatmeal shampoo and Dawn dish soap, just like flea shampoo, do not kill fleas and prevent pets from becoming re-infested.
-Coconut oil can make a coat shiny (sometimes) but again, does nothing to prevent fleas and ticks, sorry!
So if you are not interested in your furry friend bringing home any nasty little parasitic friends of their very own, just remember that prevention is key!