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Tips for Avoiding Flea and Tick Infestations

(ARA) - Though they may be hard to spot, don't let fleas and ticks elude you this season. Spring is the unofficial start of flea and tick season - and the ideal time to begin preventatively treating your pet so it doesn't get an infestation. Not only are fleas and ticks an annoyance for dogs, cats and pet owners alike, but they can also cause health issues. And according to Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Ph.D ., professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, this flea and tick season is shaping up to be an intense one. Research shows that mild spring weather has allowed fleas and ticks to get an early start, meaning there will be higher pest populations this summer.

"Flea and tick bites are always a cause for concern. Flea bites can lead to anemia, allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva; and permanent hair loss or skin problems from scratching," says Dr. Melinda Fernyhough, DVM, Ph.D., veterinarian and manager of scientific affairs at the Hartz Mountain Corporation. "And that's not all. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever - both of which can be transmitted to your family."

Keeping your pets safe and protected is just as easy as maintaining your own health. Three easy-to-implement tips from "Dr. Melinda" will help you get a head start on the season:

1. Choose the appropriate flea and tick treatment. There are a variety of options to keep your pet healthy, including shampoos, sprays, topical treatments and collars. Topicals are the most popular treatment and are applied monthly to your pet. For example, Hartz UltraGuard Pro Flea & Tick Drops are designed to kill fleas and ticks and prevent new fleas from appearing.

2. Carefully read the label. It is incredibly important to read and follow the directions on the label. Make sure to purchase the appropriate weight class of product so you don't put too much (or too little) on your pet. Never use a dog product on a cat or vice versa. And keep animals separated until the treatment dries, typically between 24 and 48 hours, to ensure your pet doesn't ingest the treatment from another pet.

3. Check your pet regularly. Throughout flea and tick season, make sure to rub your hands through your pet's coat on a regular basis to check for fleas and ticks. And keep an eye out for excessive scratching. Using a monthly treatment like Hartz UltraGuard Pro Flea & Tick Drops can help keep your pet protected month to month.

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