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Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks

Ask pet owners what they consider to be the most frustrating part of having a dog or cat, and fleas and ticks will likely be high on the list.

From powders and sprays to dips and pills, the array of products available to combat these annoying insects can be a difficult road to navigate for even the most dedicated pet owner. But choosing the wrong product or applying it incorrectly can be dangerous.

“Dogs and cats have different needs, especially when it comes to flea and tick control, and applying the wrong product can be harmful to a pet,” said Dr. Jordan Siegel, technical services veterinarian for Wellmark International. “Some people are too busy to read the labels or they simply get products confused, particularly if they have more than one dog or cat.”

Wellmark International, located in Schaumburg, Ill., has created topical applicators designed to eliminate that confusion and make applying flea and tick treatment easier.

Zodiac Spot On is the company’s easy-to-apply monthly treatment that controls flea and tick infestations. Its Pet Specifix applicators feature cat-head shapes for felines and dog-bone shapes for canines to help pet owners keep track of the treatment they need for each pet. In addition, the applicators are color-coded to match pet weight ranges to help avoid accidental misapplication.

Because just one adult flea on a pet can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can end up in a home’s carpet and furniture, it’s important to break the flea life cycle. Ticks can be more harmful than fleas because of their ability to spread Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other infections to humans.

Here are some tips on applying flea and tick treatment:

* Don’t use a product on a species other than the one for which it is registered.

* Select products that contain both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator. This one-two punch will kill adult fleas and ticks while preventing flea eggs from maturing into breeding, biting adults.

* Read and follow all product label instructions.

* Treat all pets in the household, not just those with the flea problem.

* Institute an ongoing treatment and prevention program to avoid reinfestations.

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