DO HEARTWORM, FLEA & DEWORMER PRODUCTS CONFUSE YOU?…
WHAT PREVENTIVE PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOUR PET?
THERE ARE 4 BASIC TYPES:
Heartworm prevention for dogs in the Southern States is a MUST. If you don’t use it, your dog is most likely going to contract heartworm (worms in the heart). This is a deadly parasite that lives in the dogs heart (passed by a simple mosquito bite, and yes indoor dogs can contract it). The treatment once your dog has heartworm is incredibly lengthy and harsh. Treatment at late stages of Heartworm is sometimes impossible and frequently the dog ends up with an enlarged heart forever. Prevention is SO much easier. Take the time to use Heartworm prevention for your dog, it is a no brainer.
2) INTESTINAL WORM PRODUCTS:
These treat worms in the Intestine. (like hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, coccidia etc)
A yearly stool check at your vet is appropriate if you feel you need an intestinal dewormer. It is prudent to deworm puppies and kittens. And some dogs that eat lots of weird things on the walk. Or cats that like to hunt and eat their prey. If you see Tapeworm (small rice like parasite on anus) then you probably have a flea issue too. Fleas pass tapeworm to your pet. So if you have had a flea issue, you may want to deworm for tapeworm.
Yearly deworming on your own is an alternative to the vet. Intestinal worms are easy to treat and some of the products have some deworming medications in them. Educate yourself before you do this. Keep in mind cats and dogs will have different requirements for deworming!
*Take heed, each different kind of worm needs a specific dewormer to kill it. So one dewormer doesn’t necessarily cover all varieties of parasite. This is important!
3) FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS – These products can vary depending on what the intended target is.
Example #1: Some have (IGR) insect growth regulator/ some don’t. IGR stops the eggs and larvae from hatching.
Example #2: Some don’t kill adult fleas/ some do.
Example #3: Some kill ticks/ some don’t
In the Southern States, I recommend Year-Round flea product application. Fleas do not take a day off in the Southern states in January and February. It is easier to prevent, than end up with an infestation at your house or an expensive vet visit for a scratchy dog with hot spots. More medications, more money….Who has time for that anyway..? Again, never mix dog and cat products between species. Cats have very delicate metabolisms!
4) MULTI OR COMBO PRODUCTS
Multi or Combo Products combine all three of the above chemicals or a mix of some of the above. So you are applying MANY chemicals at once.
My opinion is the Multi/Combo Products heap a large amount of chemicals at once and there are stories of pet reactions. Some owners prefer these due to convenience factors, as one application covers many needs. So going with a combo product can be “easier”. My personal preference is to split the heartworm and flea preventions by using separate products on different days.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
You should READ the label on the box you intend to purchase. Look up each chemical online and decide if it suits your needs. Be clear some products are for CATS ONLY and some are for DOGS ONLY. You must not intermix! Hopefully this clarified some of the basics for keeping your pet parasite free. More to come in Part II when I share my product recommendations!