Oh, no! Fleas!

Though I really love warm weather, I feel a bit of foreboding associated with consistently warm weather because inevitably, a caring cat owner wanting to provide parasite prevention will apply a flea control product meant for dogs on their cat, not realizing how dangerous this can be. Because cats and dogs metabolize medications differently, an ingredient that a dog tolerates with no issue could prove disastrous–potentially even fatal– for a cat. Not only should you never use a flea product formulated for a dog on your cat, but you should be sure to prevent contact between treated dogs and their feline friends until the medication has absorbed.

Another mistake seen all too often is the “more is better” approach that some people take when using flea products. More is NOT better when it comes to chemicals or medications! Always follow the package instructions, and contact a veterinarian if the product does not seem to be working. There is evidence that some flea products have less efficacy than others, so it might be that you need to try a different product, but you should first seek the advice of a professional to make sure it’s safe to apply.

My advice? Discuss parasite control with your veterinarian since he or she knows your cat and can make individual recommendations based on risk. And, veterinarian prescribed products have the benefit of being supported by the companies that manufacture them, so should your cat have a reaction to the product prescribed, the manufacturer will likely cover any veterinary costs associated with any necessary treatment.  Whatever product you choose to use to provide parasite control, make sure you keep the product insert and directions handy should your cat have a reaction and take that insert with you to the veterinary hospital if your cat needs care.  Fortunately, reactions to today’s well-researched flea and parasite control products are rare.

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