Protecting your pet – and home – from fleas and ticks

As a pet owner, you’re wary about keeping your pet flea- and tick-free, not only to save him the discomfort and health risks of having these nasty parasites constantly biting him, but to keep everything in your house free from them, too. The problem is, if your pets go outside, fleas and ticks can come back inside. Or, if you visit the home of a friend whose pet is indoor-outdoor, the bugs can hitch a ride on your clothes, too. That’s why it’s essential to take preventive measures and act quickly if you spot fleas or ticks in your environment.

When you’re looking into flea and tick prevention products for your pets, don’t be alarmed when you see the word “insecticide.” It might sound too harsh to use on your precious pets, but in essence, that’s what all flea treatment products are. To make a serious strike against the pests, you need to be certain that you’re using something effective but safe. Ask your vet about options like Hartz flea products or Frontline treatments. Here are some of the most popular – and effective — flea and tick prevention products you can use on your cats and dogs.

* Dips and shampoos. These are effective methods for treating your pet once a flea problem has been spotted. Remember that it’s important to carefully follow the instructions from your vet or the product manufacturer when using these products, and it’s essential to keep the product away from your pet’s eyes and ears. Always be sure to find out whether the product you’re using is formulated specifically for dogs or cats.

* Topicals. These often come in the form of sprays or drops that are applied to your pet’s fur or skin. These have become increasingly popular, and you can find them everywhere from your veterinarian’s office to the supermarket to pet stores. Some versions of these kill just fleas, but others, such as Hartz flea and tick drops, will kill and deter both kinds of pests.

* Collars. These tried and true products are still the flea prevention method of choice for many pet owners. However, there are some pointers to keep in mind when using flea collars. First, make sure it’s properly fitted: you should be able to get two fingers between the collar and your pet’s neck. Next, to make sure that your pet doesn’t chew on the collar and ingest some of it, trim the end. Again, be sure to read the instructions so you know how long the collar will be effective, and which kind of animal it was designed for.

You can often find flea and tick treatments on the Web, but when shopping on the Internet, be sure to buy from a trusted source such as a long-established brand like Hartz flea products or the online arm of a reputable retailer, like

To further arm your pet and home against ticks and fleas, wash your pet’s bedding frequently and keep your house clean and vacuum frequently. If your pet travels in your car, keep in mind that you should keep that environment just as clean to help control fleas and ticks. And, above all, if your pet has been outdoors, check him thoroughly before he comes back inside.