TAMPA, Fla. — Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. For pet parents that means a considerable upswing in fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
PetSmart recently launched a new program to help pet parents protect their pets from harmful flea-borne and tick-borne illnesses.
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"You Buy, We Apply," is exactly what is sounds like — you buy a topical or spot on flea and tick treatment from PetSmart and they will apply it to your pet for free.
"We already offer a flea and tick treatment in our grooming salons and with the rise of fleas and ticks, we wanted to expand this service to pet parents who purchase prevention products from us as well," said Debbie Beisswanger, vice president, services. "Some pet parents are unsure about how to apply the treatment, that's why our associates are trained to administer these treatments and are happy to take care of that for them."
Illnesses from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes have tripled in the United States over the past 13 years, according to the CDC.
To take advantage of the "You Buy, We Apply" offer, pet parents need to bring their dog into the grooming salon along with the flea and tick treatment in its original packaging and the receipt. An appointment is not necessary, but pets need to be current on their rabies vaccination to have the treatment applied.
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PetSmart offers these additional tips to keep your pets safe from harmful flea-borne and tick-borne illnesses.
Take preventative steps. Flea, tick and mosquito control is an important part of keeping pets healthy and happy. Year-round treatment is ideal and there are a variety of products that offer protection. Select a product that treats all infestation issues and prevents them from reoccurring. If your pet spends time outdoors or goes swimming, be sure to use a waterproof application. "Mosquitoes are most active at dawn or dusk, so if you can avoid walking your dog during these hours, you can reduce the likelihood they will be bitten," Freeman said. While a preventative treatment is an optimal way to keep pests at bay, it can also kill any fleas that may have found their way onto your pet and repel new ones.
Use pet-formulated insect repellents. Never use human insect repellent on your pets. DEET, the active ingredient in many common bug sprays, can cause seizures, vomiting and irritation in dogs and cats. Likewise, if you are treating a cat for flea or tick prevention, ensure the repellent is specifically formulated for cats.
Look for clues that fleas or ticks have found their way onto your pet. Small, curly black droppings, known as flea dirt, can be found in the fur even when the fleas are not seen. To confirm if debris in a dog's fur is flea droppings, Freeman recommends placing it on a white paper towel and adding a drop of water to it. If it turns red, your pet may have fleas. Ticks attach to the skin for feeding but can be found crawling on the fur when they first settle onto pets. Conduct a quick spot check on pets following walks or time spent outdoors by parting the fur with your hands to check the skin or by using a comb to brush through the fur.
Remove stagnant water around your home. Mosquitoes need water to live and prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water. Eliminate their breeding grounds by ensuring the area surrounding your home is free from standing water under bushes and behind structures like tool sheds and air conditioners, or in old tires or flower pots.
Treat the issue promptly. If you find fleas or ticks on your pet, there are several ways to get rid of an infestation:
- Bathe your dog using a specially formulated flea and tick shampoo that is designed to kill parasites.
- Take your pet to the groomer and let them administer a flea and tick treatment for you.
- Clean the house. Thoroughly vacuum your home and launder your dog's bedding, blankets and soft toys in hot water. A carpet powder or fogger can also effectively treat the home.
- Use an on-premise insecticide listed as safe for use around pets for the house and the yard to prevent re-infestation.
- Ask your veterinarian for tips or treatments for infestation problems and possible testing for insect-borne diseases.