SOURCE: PetSmart

March 15, 2010 08:00 ET

Ick Is for Tick

Protecting Your Pet From Fleas and Ticks

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) -  (Family Features) Spring has sprung, and with warm weather and sunshine comes a more sinister visitor, the threat of fleas and ticks to your pets and your home. Fleas may cause severe itching which can lead to sores if left untreated and they may carry tapeworms that can be transmitted to your pet. A flea infestation can happen quickly and easily, and once your pet is infested, it is likely your home is as well. And while ticks won't multiply like fleas, they do carry diseases that can harm both pets and humans.


By taking a few simple preventative measures, your pet can have a happier and healthier spring and summer.

  • Vacuum your home often, paying close attention to where your pets like to sleep. Be sure to wash their bedding on a regular basis.
  • Ticks are most commonly found in grassy or wooded areas, so cut back any tall grass around your house. Check your pet closely for ticks after activity in heavily vegetated areas.
  • Groom your dog frequently to check for fleas and ticks.
  • Use topical adulticide and insect growth regulators (IGRs) products. Adulticides are compounds that kill and repel adult fleas, ticks and other insects. IGRs mimic a naturally occurring insect hormone that interferes with normal flea development, preventing immature pests from becoming adults. By killing flea larvae, you break the life cycle helping to prevent infestations.

"This last step is the most effective in ongoing protection against fleas and ticks, and now it's even easier for pet parents to protect their pets because of an increased availability of products," said Dr. Robyn Jaynes, veterinarian and pet care expert for PetSmart. Popular products like Advantage Topical Solution and K9 Advantix used to be available only through a veterinarian, but are now sold at any PetSmart store or online at


If your pet has fleas, it's important to treat your pet, your house and your yard.

  • Start by bathing your pet with a flea shampoo. These special shampoos contain ingredients that will kill adult fleas in your pet's coat but generally do not keep fleas from coming back.
  • Following the bath, apply one of the topical adulticides sold at PetSmart. All pets in the house should be treated with the topical products to ensure fleas do not just transfer from one pet to another.
  • Clean your pet's favorite hangouts and launder its bed. Consider a professional fogger in each room. Contact your veterinarian or exterminator for professional advice and the best products.
  • Use professional, concentrated yard sprays, many of which attach easily to the end of a garden hose for application. It's especially important to spray moist and shaded areas of your yard.

For tick removal, it's best not to remove the tick with your bare fingers. Instead:

  • Try using an alcohol swab to irritate the tick, then grab it with tweezers where the mouth enters the skin and with a slow steady pull, remove the whole tick without twisting it as you pull.
  • Be sure to deposit the tick in alcohol to kill it.
  • Clean the area with a disinfectant, apply a topical antibiotic and wash hands thoroughly.

Whatever prevention measures or treatment you choose, make sure you read all directions carefully. Ask your veterinarian if you need further instruction on the correct way to use a flea and tick product. Never use a dog product on a cat or vice versa. For more information, visit

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