There's a lot to like about spring and summer—the days are longer, the grass is greener, the sun is brighter. For many, summertime is synonymous with vacations, cookouts, and trips to the beach with family and friends. However, with the nicer weather comes something far more ominous...the yearly influx of dangerous, disease-carrying insects.
While many of these pests may not be active during the cold winter months in areas that experience a hard freeze, it doesn't take long for them to start wreaking havoc again. In fact, in many parts of North America, ticks can be active as early as March, with mosquitoes not far behind. Some fleas can even live year-round indoors! In addition to the itching, scratching, and general annoyance that typically accompany rising insect populations, a far greater concern among pet owners is the diseases that these pests spread.
As a pet-care professional, your clients look to you for advice on how to protect their four-legged friends from harmful biting insects. But with such a variety of flea and tick preventatives on the market today, it can be difficult to know which products to recommend. Here are some of the most popular and innovative options available, along with the vital information that every pet-care professional and pet parent should know about them.
1. Topical Treatments
Quite possibly the most popular flea and tick products on the market today, topical treatments are powerful solutions applied directly to pets to kill and protect against fleas, ticks, and other pests. Topical treatments typically eliminate pests within 24–48 hours, and prevent reinfestation for varying lengths of time, depending on the brand and formula. While topical treatments are both convenient and effective, some pet parents are wary of using preventatives that are formulated using powerful chemicals (although there are botanical topical alternatives available, as well). As with any other flea and tick product, it is important to exercise caution and completely read all labels before administering topical treatments to pets.
2. Permethrin-Treated Gear
The most innovative item on this list is the revolutionary new Insect Shield for Pets collection. The active ingredient in Insect Shield® is permethrin—a synthetic form of a natural repellent found in some chrysanthemum plants. Each item in the collection is treated with Insect Shield technology, which binds a proprietary permethrin formula to fabric fibers for built-in protection that's proven to repel ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and more. Effective, odorless, non-greasy, and long lasting, Insect Shield is totally unique to the marketplace and can be used in conjunction with other flea and tick treatments.
3. Shampoos and Sprays
Formulated to serve two purposes, flea and tick shampoos safely and effectively kill pests on contact while thoroughly cleaning pets and leaving them smelling great! Most shampoos are safe enough to use regularly throughout flea and tick season, which means they usually don't contain the harsh chemicals often found in topical treatments. Flea and tick shampoos are must-have items for every grooming shop, starting in early spring, all the way through mid to late fall.
Much like shampoos, flea and tick sprays are a milder alternative to popular topical treatments. Many sprays kill fleas and ticks and prevent reinfestation without the use of harsh chemicals or pyrethrin-based pesticides. As with all flea and tick preventatives, it is important to exercise caution and read all instructions and warning labels before using any flea and tick shampoo and/or spray.
4. Flea Collars
Much like topical treatments, flea and tick collars offer effective, long-lasting insect protection, with a twist—collars typically maintain their repellency much longer than topical treatments, offering pet parents unmatched convenience and peace of mind. Most flea and tick collars are waterproof for ultimate protection, and some feature a breakaway design that prevents injury by releasing the collar should it get caught.
Specially formulated to effectively eliminate fleas, oral tablets start killing fleas in a matter of hours. Most tablets do not offer the same long-term protection that topical treatments do, but can be used daily to combat flea infestations. As with topical treatments, it is important to completely read all instructions and warning labels before giving to a pet to ingest—especially if he/she has any health conditions or concerns.
6. Flea Combs
Sometimes, the easiest way to instantly remove fleas is the old-fashioned way—with a comb! Flea combs are a necessity in every grooming shop and pet-raising household alike. With closely spaced teeth and ergonomically designed handles, flea combs quickly and efficiently remove fleas, flea eggs, dirt, and other debris from longer coats, leaving them soft and smooth. While it is still wise to employ some combination of topical treatments, shampoos and sprays, and permethrin-treated gear, there really is no better way to quickly remove fleas from coats than with a flea comb.
7. Home-Defense Products
When a pet is battling pest issues, the infestation usually originated in or spreads to the home—that's why home-defense products are so crucial in the fight against fleas and ticks! From crevices to furniture, from carpeting to backyards, your home offers no shortage of places for pests to hide. Luckily, there is a wide array of products available to help eliminate dangerous insects and stop debilitating infestations in their tracks. Whether you're trying to keep outdoor pests from making their way in, or you're tasked with putting an end to a full-scale invasion—there are products available to address each individual pest-control situation.