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Get the jump on fleas

Sad face pup
Sad face pup
Alyson Pelayo

As with most everything, prevention is the best route when it comes to the itchy parasites known as fleas. Not only do these bugs carry diseases, but they can also cause allergies for the pet and humans. Prevention starts with monthly flea preventing medications which come in topical or oral forms. Topical medication is available over the counter at most veterinarian offices, but most oral medications need a written prescription from a veterinarian.
Topical flea prevention needs to be administered between the shoulder blades at the base of the neck. Part the hair in order to get the medication in direct contact with the skin. Topical medicines work by being absorbed into the skin and spread by the sweat glands. Because of this the pet should not be bathed for 24-48 hours prior to or after administration in order for the medication to work effectively. Due to the climate in southern California flea control needs to be repeated monthly and year round in order to keep fleas away.
Oral flea prevention is given to the pet by mouth once a month year round. An advantage to oral flea control is less mess and some offer additional benefits such as heartworm prevention. Some pets can have skin sensitivity to topical medication in which case oral would be the better choice. On the other hand a pet with a sensitive stomach might not handle the oral as well as the topical.
If an owner is at all unsure about which is the better choice, some offices may be willing to sell a single dose so that the owner can see how the pet reacts. If a pet has a reaction to any flea preventative it should be seen by a veterinarian to determine what would be the best course of action for the pet.