How To Check A Cat For Fleas
Signs of fleas in cats include scratching, skin irritation, and the presence of dark red or black specks on your cat’s skin, fur, bedding, or furniture. These specks, about the size of grains of black pepper, are called “flea dirt” and are flea feces . Back when I worked in the veterinary hospital, I learned a handy trick to help find out if those little specks are regular dirt or flea dirt. Scoop some onto a damp paper towel. If the paper towel turns red, it’s flea dirt.
To check your cat for fleas or flea dirt, run a flea comb through your cat’s coat or part the hair with your fingers to examine the skin. If you find any live or dead fleas or flea dirt, your cat has a flea infestation.
How To Find The Best Flea Treatment For Cats
The best flea treatment for your cat depends on his lifestyle, parasite risk factors, health status, age and other factors so you should see your veterinarian for a personalized recommendation.
But in general, you should look for a cat flea treatment that is both safe and effective. And since not every cat flea treatment on the market will meet those requirements, you need to know what to look for.
Cats with fleas should be treated with a safe and effective flea control product containing active ingredients that kill adult fleas and that sterilize flea eggs and prevent immature fleas from maturing into adults, Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor for Pet News Daily, told The Dodo.
Examples of some active ingredients that youll find in a quality cat flea product include spinosad, lotilaner and imidacloprid.
You should also make sure youre buying the correct product for your cats life stage and weight. Also, be sure the product is labeled specifically for cats. Giving a flea treatment intended for dogs to a cat can be deadly.
And be sure to check that your cats flea products are approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an animal drug. This will help you weed out any questionable cat flea treatments.
How To Know If Your Cat Has Fleas
Diagnosing fleas is easy if live fleas are seen in the haircoat. Sometimes, fleas may not be seen, but flea dirt is present. Flea dirt looks like pepper. Combing this dark material out of the haircoat onto a moistened paper towel will re-suspend the digested blood in the feces, leaving a red stain on the paper towel. This is a simple test, and it confirms the diagnosis.
At the very least, fleas will make your cat itchy and uncomfortable. But they can do more harm than that. Fleas can transmit conditions such as flea allergic dermatitis and tapeworms. They can also transmit Bartonella, the organism responsible for cat-scratch disease in humans. Heavily infested cats, especially kittens, can develop anemia due to blood loss from multiple flea bites.
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Have A Talk With Your Veterinarian
The world of parasite preventatives is a big and confusing one. There is a lot to consider, such as your pets lifestyle, age, weight, general health, any sensitivities or allergies, as well as any other medications they may take, and if there are other pets or children in your home. The good news is that your veterinarian can help you navigate the options, answer all your burning questions, and recommend the prevention plan thats best for you and your dog or cat.
Its important to let your veterinarian know about any over-the-counter flea and tick medications youre giving your pet. By having a complete picture of your pets medicine cabinet, your vet can help you ensure that your pet is getting the safest, most appropriate prevention and care possible.
Let us know what flea and tick preventatives have worked best for your dog or cat in the comments below!
Bayer Advantage Ii Flea Prevention For Cats
Bayer Advantage II is the best treatment for flea infestations since it kills fleas in all three of its highly vulnerable stages, namely: egg, larva, and adult.
The first active ingredient in this product attacks the adult fleas nervous system paralyzing and ultimately killing it normally within 12 hours of application.
Also, it is effective in killing fleas that re-infest your felines skin within two hours. Insect growth regulator is the second active ingredient that kills fleas eggs and larvae that contribute about 95% of flea infestation.
The fleas do not need to bite your feline for the active ingredient to eliminate them, as they are killed on contact. Hence, very effective topical treatment for cats that are sensitive to insect bites.
Most customers recommend the product as it is highly effective and worth the price.
- Contain active ingredients that kill fleas at its highly vulnerable stages.
- Easy to apply.
- One monthly topical application to achieve best results.
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Beneficial Nematodes Can Help Eliminate Outdoor Parasites
If you believe that the flea infestation may have originated from your yard, its important to get rid of the parasites that are lurking outside of your house. Left untreated, your yard will remain a safe haven for fleas that will eventually latch onto humans, cats, and other pets, perpetuating your cats flea problem.
While theyre invisible to the naked eye and are completely safe to you and your pets, beneficial nematodes are a deadly menace to the fleas who are living outdoors.
Cons Of The Soft Cone
Although I do really like this pet collar, it doesnt wear well after a lot of scratching from a cat. My kitty kept scratching her ears and scratching the cone. The drawstring started shredding, and so did the collar. It still works, but it will probably need to be replaced after my kitty wears it for a month. Still, to me, its worth it, because its comfortable for my cat.
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Types Of Insecticides Used In Flea Treatments For Cats
Cat flea treatment insecticides can be divided into two groups: adulticides and insect growth regulators.
The following is an abbreviated list and brief summary of some of the most common insecticides used in flea treatments for cats. If you want more in-depth information, for a useful directory of flea treatments with comprehensive toxicity information.
How Do I Know If My Pet Needs Flea And Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are small and can sometimes be difficult to identify on your pet. Physical examination is the most useful method to identify signs of fleas or ticks. Using a flea comb can help identify the presence of adult fleas or flea dirt. Flea dirt looks like brownish-black granular dirt that will dissolve and turn red when placed on a wet paper towel. Fleas prefer the head and neck area of cats, and the rump and tail area of dogs.
Ticks, depending on the life cycle and feeding stage, can vary in size. They can be as small as a pin head or poppy seed or as big as a pencil eraser. Ticks can attach anywhere on the body, but prefer dark and hidden areas like the ears, armpits, groin, tail, and between the toes.
Sometimes finding the flea or the tick is difficult, especially on cats because they are constantly grooming. Sometimes the only sign of fleas and ticks is skin irritation, and in these cases, flea and tick prevention is used as a treatment trial.
Some areas of the world have fleas and ticks present year-round, while others have flea and tick seasons. However, because both fleas and ticks can survive in a variety of climates and can live inside your home and on your warm pet, many veterinary professionals agree that year-round prevention is recommended when possible.
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Best Flea Collar For Cats: Bayer Seresto Flea And Tick Collar For Cats
This nitenpyram-based oral medication is safe for cats and kittens weighing 2-25 lbs. It has the same active ingredient and performance as Capstar, but its sold at a marginally lower price.
This oral medication starts working in 30 minutes and kills adult fleas on your cats body. The effects of the pill will last for about 24 hours, at which time any new fleas will jump onto your cats body and survive.
Youll need to thoroughly treat the environment in addition to using this treatment, then re-administer as necessary.
Finally You Need To Wait
For the next few weeks, continue your treatment regimen, preventing your cat from re-traumatizing the wound. During this period, watch the size of the hot spot and compare it to the marks you created at the outset of treatment. If the hot spot grows, something isnt working. It might be time to bring your cat to the veterinarian.
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Prescription Based Flea Treatment
Often pet owners believe that vet prescribed flea treatment products may be the safest and most non toxic. However, the NRDC recommends many over-the-counter non chemical products as being safe for controlling and eliminating fleas, but they must be used in combination with vacuuming the house and washing the pets bedding in hot water. That being said some of the safe prescription based flea control products include pill-based medicines like lufenuron, nitenpyram and spinosad which do not leave any residual action on the fur.
How To Prevent Fleas
Your cat’s warm, furry coat and nourishing blood supply are a flea’s dream home. Protect your pet with a flea barrier to prevent these tiny pests from settling in. There are a few different types:
Products you put on your cat. Spot-on treatments are safer, more convenient, and more effective than traditional dusts, shampoos, and sprays. You can buy them from your vet or online. Ask your vet where on your cat to put the product, how much to apply, and how often to use it. If youre not getting the treatment from your vet, read the product label first to make sure it’s safe for cats. Some common active ingredients and brands include:
A flea collar with flumethrin and imidacloprid can also work well.
Medicines your cat eats. The pill nitenpyram kills adult fleas on your cat within 30 minutes. It doesnt have any lasting effects, though. Spinosad is a fast-acting chewable that starts killing fleas before they lay eggs. It provides a full month of flea protection to help prevent future hatchings.
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Avoid Natural Flea Control Products
If you’re considering using natural flea control products that contain essential oils, exercise caution. Some essential oils can be toxic to cats.
All three veterinarians we consulted do not recommend natural products, which do not work nearly as well as veterinarian-recommended topical and oral flea control products. “They are just not proven to be really effective,” Bourgeois said. “My biggest concern with natural products is, even if they’re safe, if they’re not effective, that’s not helping our pets. I get more concerned about the secondary ramifications for the pet if we’re using something that hasn’t been proven to be effective, versus products that have been proven to be effective and well tolerated.”
Huge Variety And Selection
The online platforms around the world are growing exponentially in size, and that applies to the selection of products as well. As they get more popular, more and more brands sign up to sell their products on online platforms.
They have a wide range of products across many categories, divided and organized well. This helps you find exactly what you are looking for easily. You may even get software-generated recommendations for products you may need. This includes over the counter flea medicine for cats and many more.
Having a huge variety means that you can assess your preferences and choices. You can choose from a range of alternatives before purchasing. This is often not the case in most physical stores, where there is a limitation to the number of brands.
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What You Should Know About Fleas In Cats
If your cat has fleas, you want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Cats that go outside are more likely to pick up fleas, but even indoor cats can get them, either from the family dog or when they go to the veterinarian or a boarding facility. Fleas can even hitchhike indoors on your clothes or shoes.
Finding And Treating Ticks On Cats
Ticks on cats are not as common as ticks on dogs because of grooming habits and lifestyle. However, cats can get ticks and they can become a health issue if left untreated. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, and use tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into the skin and soft tissue of cats. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses. We recommend tick products for cats on a case by case basis.
Ticks on cats cause welts and bruises around the area being fed on. It is also common to find the tick still attached. If you find a tick on your cat, please bring your cat in so we can show you the safest way to remove the tick and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward. The various methods for treating ticks on cats include:
- Spot-On Treatments
- Oral medication
- Tick Collars
We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian immediately if your cat has ticks. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on cats, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe, effective and clinically proven.
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Flea And Tick Treatment For Cats
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian and thoroughly read the manufacturer’s guidelines before choosing flea and tick treatment, preventives and/or home/yard care products. If your veterinarian determines that prescription intervention is needed, Petco carries that.
Besides causing your kitty discomfort, fleas and ticks can carry harmful diseases. Fortunately, there are many options available to help keep your family safe. Flea collars are a common choice and some can help repel both fleas and ticks. Besides collars, Petco also carries an assortment of topical and oral flea medications for cats. Many of these treatment/prevention products target fleas and ticks while some provide additional protection for ear mites, heartworms and internal parasites, depending on the product. Many of these products are administered orally or applied topically once a month, and provide full-body protection.
Petco also offers house and yard flea treatment sprays, shampoos and combs that help you remove adult fleas and ticks from your cat. These solutions can help get biting bugs off your kittys coat, but they shouldnt be the only step you take to address an infestation. Additional steps to safeguard your home include yard sprays, foggers and powders that help rid your yard, rugs and fabrics of fleas and their eggs.
What To Do If Flea Medicine Doesnt Work
Different flea medicine for dogs and cats work differently and yield different results. A person is likely to face some issues when starting the treatment first and might not get satisfactory results. No worries, you can reapply a flea medicine and repeat its entire process of application. If the problem persists, then there might be a few reasons that are holding back satisfactory consequences. It might be possible that you are not applying a therapy properly or correctly, so you need to recheck it once. Also, if a flea medicine becomes too old, it may become ineffective and thus, not give good results. If you are unable to locate an actual source of fleas and ticks then also you are likely to continue facing such problems.
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How To Spot Fleas
Usually, the first sign of a fleaor other pestinfestation is your pet frequently and aggressively scratching. Also, keep your eyes open for flea dirt, small black flecks that youll see on the floor and furniture . If youre worried that your dog or cat might have fleas, check their fur using a flea comb, paying attention to the base of the neck near the shoulder blades, as well as the tail and tummy. Remove as many as you can before giving your pet a bath and treating them with flea and tick medication.
Fleas rise to the top of your pets fur when they die, so dont worry if you see their remains after applying treatment. But if you continue to see living fleas in your home, its possible that flea eggs existed before you started using flea medication. Some owners may also skip treatments, thinking their pet was in the clear. But if the fleas havent been completely eradicated, they can multiply again. So be sure to keep up your treatments for as long as your vet recommends.
People think because they dont see fleas, that their cats and dogs dont have fleas, Price said. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you discover fleas on your pet, you discover only 5% of the infestation, echoed Welser of Mars Veterinary Health. The other 95% is hiding throughout your home in the form of eggs, larvae, and pupas.
The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to give your pet a flea preventative. But if the pests have already arrived, heres how to get rid of them.
Home Remedies For Hot Spots On Dogs
If you arent able to get to the vet right away, there are a few things you can do at home to help heal hot spots.
Human medications such as Neosporin, hydrocortisone, and Vaseline should NOT be used. Topical creams and ointments tend to cause dogs to lick the area even more, so they should be avoided if possible.
Follow these steps to promote healing of the hot spot:
Trim the area around the hot spot with dog hair clippers . This will allow the affected area to get some air and prevent excess moisture from slowing down the healing process.
Clean the skin with a mild, water-based antiseptic spray or wipe, like Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS pads, or an antibacterial shampoo.
Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested. One example is Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Hot Spot Spray.
Place an e-collar, or the cone of shame, on your dog to help prevent them from biting, licking, or scratching the hot spot.
Monitor the area for improvement and signs of healing .
Contact your veterinarian for an exam to treat the underlying issue, and notify them if the area is not healing or is getting worse.
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