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The 3 Steps to Flea and Tick Prevention

With three easy steps, you can protect your pet—cat or dog—from fleas and ticks.

The 3 Steps to Flea and Tick Prevention

Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Fleas and ticks are out for blood! These pesky parasites live on your dog or cat and can cause a wide range of skin diseases. They may even cause systemic (whole-body) illnesses by transmitting worms, protozoa, and bacteria to your pet's vital organs, leading to illnesses that can be a real danger to your beloved furry family member. Fortunately, flea and tick problems can be treated—and future outbreaks prevented—with a three-step approach that involves your pet, your home, and your yard. First, it's useful to understand how fleas and ticks make their way into your home and onto your pet.

Fleas

Once a flea finds a home on a dog, it makes itself comfortable, feeds, then lays about 40 eggs every day.1 And that's one lone flea—10 adult females can produce more than 10,000 flea eggs in just 30 days! Egg larvae can be found in the grass and soil of your yard. From there, they make their way indoors on your dog, falling off onto carpet and furniture. The eggs then lie dormant for weeks before they emerge as adults. The flea life cycle is long; an average adult flea lives 60 to 90 days, but if it has a present food source, it can live up to 100 days.2

Ticks

Ticks are spider-like parasites that hide in grassy or forested areas and position themselves to latch onto dogs, cats, or people with their front legs as their target walks by. (This behavior is called "questing.") A tick will partially bury its head beneath your pet's skin, often around the ears and neck, where it feeds on blood. Adult ticks can remain dormant for months and then lay thousands of eggs.

Besides the irritation, various tick species transmit several diseases that affect both dogs and people, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.3 Some dogs are even allergic to tick saliva, which may compound the danger to your pet's health. Knowing how to remove a tick from a cat or dog is important for pet owners to learn.

3-Step-Protection for Fleas and Ticks

Because fleas and ticks can be so resilient, the most effective approach is to treat your pets, your home, and your yard. This approach will eliminate the pests and their eggs and larvae wherever they may hide. Overall, the best course of action is to treat your pet and the environment before an infestation takes hold.

1. Treat Your Pet

To prevent pests from gaining a foothold, the best flea treatment for your dog or cat is Adams Plus Flea & Tick Prevention Spot On for Dogs or for cats. These treatments come with an insect growth regulator (IGR) designed to kill flea eggs and their larvae for up to 30 days. This topical treatment disrupts the flea's life cycle by preventing it from maturing into a biting, breeding adult. Note: Because topical treatments are spread through oils in your pet's skin, it's important to allow at least two to three days between applying the treatment and shampooing your dog or cat.

Adams Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs and Puppies or Adams Plus Flea & Tick Collar for Cats also works hard to provide your pet lasting protection from fleas and ticks. Complete with an IGR, Adams Flea & Tick Collars contain active ingredients that are distributed through the coat and the oils on your pet's skin.

Treat an immediate problem with Adams Plus Flea & Tick Foaming Shampoo & Wash for Dogs & Puppies or the Cleansing Shampoo for Cats & Kittens, which is a rich, cream formula that cleans and conditions. These products kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks and cleans and deodorizes your pet, eliminating the need for an additional cleansing shampoo.

2. Treat Your Home

To prevent fleas and ticks from plaguing your pet, you should also treat their (and your) environment at the same time—both indoors and outdoors—to kill fleas and attack the eggs and larvae wherever they hide.

Before treating the inside of your home, wash your pet's bedding and thoroughly vacuum your home with a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner. Make sure you vacuum carpets, floors, and all upholstery. If possible, have your carpets professionally cleaned. The beating brushes in a quality vacuum can remove one-quarter of the flea larvae and over half of the flea eggs. Vacuuming is also a physical disturbance, so it stimulates fleas to leave their cocoons.

After cleaning, take the vacuum outside, remove the bag, and discard it. It may take several days of vacuuming to remove all the flea eggs.

Next, apply Adams Plus Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger or Home Spray, which can both reach fleas on large areas of carpeting and other material surfaces. For a more targeted approach on the carpet, try the Adams Plus Flea & Tick Carpet Spray. Or choose a combination of the products, using the fogger and carpet treatments to help ensure complete coverage of household surfaces where flea eggs and larvae may lurk.

3. Treat Your Yard

Don't forget to treat your yard, or you'll miss an important step in your flea-and-tick-killing program. This area is especially susceptible to infestation because wildlife and even your neighbors' pets can shed ticks, fleas, and flea eggs in your backyard.

Mow the grass first, and collect and discard the clippings. Then simply attach Adams Yard & Garden Spray to the end of your garden hose and spray those areas to which your pet has access. This easy-to-use spray covers up to 5,000 square feet and is labeled for use on most outdoor surfaces, including your lawn, under and around trees, shrubs, and flowers.

It's not only important to kill fleas and ticks, but you want to prevent them from returning too. This three-pronged approach can protect your precious cat or dog to the fullest extent possible.

1. Negron, Vladimir. "Understanding the Flea Life Cycle." PetMD, 20 May 2011, https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_multi_understanding_the_flea_life_cycle.

2. Library of Congress. "How Long is the Life Span of a Flea?" LOC.gov, https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/how-long-is-the-life-span-of-a-flea/.

3. Klein, Jerry. "AKC's Chief Veterinary Officer Weighs in on Tick-Borne Diseases." AKC, 1 May 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/akcs-chief-veterinary-officer-on-tick-borne-disease-symptoms-prevention/.

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