Dollars and Pets: The cost of treating for fleas, ticks and heartworm

A companion animal comes with countless joys, but there’s one thing that makes most pet owners shudder: Parasites.

Fleas, ticks and heartworm are some of the most common parasites and pet care concerns that affect dogs and cats. Not only are they irritating for both animals and humans, they can cause infection, transmit disease and even lead to death.

With ticks particularly active during the summer months, it’s important to know the best options for protecting your pet. Fortunately, prevention is truly much easier and more affordable than treating the diseases, so the key is developing your parasite prevention plan and sticking with it.

Here we’ll explore available treatments and costs to keep your pets healthy and protected year-round.


When you notice your dog or cat incessantly scratching, they’re most commonly suffering from fleas, the tiny external parasites that feed on blood and can jump up to 2 feet high. Animals typically pick up fleas from outdoors, especially in warm, humid climates.

Fleas can cause a host of problems for both dogs and cats, including dermatitis and anemia. But they can also affect humans beyond itchy bites: fleas can carry and transmit potential illnesses such as murine typhus and tapeworms.

According to Banfield Pet Hospital, discovering fleas on your pet is only 5 percent of
the infestation. The other 95 percent is hiding throughout your home in the form of eggs, larvae and pupas. Eliminating the fleas must include treating your environment as well as all your pets.

Once you consult with your veterinarian, be prepared to enact a treatment plan that includes the following:

Remove existing fleas with a pet flea comb ($1 to $15) and topical flea shampoo (up to
$15). Use dog- and cat-specific products, as some dog treatments can be toxic to cats.
Vacuum your home thoroughly, then spray an indoor insect growth regulator for fleas
(average $11 an ounce).
Wash your pet’s bedding and blankets.
If necessary, treat your yard with an outdoor insecticide for fleas (about $14 a gallon).
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The key to flea control is ongoing, year-round prevention. Monthly flea preventives are easier and more affordable than dealing with infestation and infection.

Use a flea comb on your pets and wash their bedding weekly.

Keep your lawn trimmed and free of rake clippings, leaves, and other organic debris.

Use preventative flea control products in the form of either prescription or

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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