“Dear Buddy:

My dog’s vet keeps telling me to get him on a heartworm and flea preventative. My dog is pretty low-key and really only goes outside to use the bathroom. Does he really need to be on a parasite preventative?


Wondering in Watertown”

Dear Wondering,

The short answer is, yes, your dogs and even your indoor cats should be on flea and tick preventative and heartworm preventative throughout the year. Your dog, even if he only goes outside to answer his p-mail each day, is at risk of picking up unwanted passengers.

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are parasitic pests that love the taste of your pet’s blood (and yours). These real vampires are awful in their own right, but can also expose your dog or cat to harmful illnesses like Lyme’s Disease, tapeworms, roundworm, and heartworm. Flea and tick preventative significantly lower the chances of your dog or cat contracting these other, sometimes deadly parasites.    Your dog or cat only needs to come into contact with one flea for an infestation to occur shortly thereafter. Some dogs and cats are also allergic to flea saliva, which can cause rashes and legions to appear around the neck and shoulders, ouch! And to top it off, fleas and ticks like to bite people, too. Your pets and your family should not have to experience this discomfort when preventatives are so readily available.

A monthly heartworm preventative is extremely important to protect the health of your dog or cat. Yes, cats too. While it’s less likely for a cat to contract heartworms, it can still happen, and can be even more dangerous because there is no approved treatment for heartworms in cats. As always, prevention is the best practice.

Heartworms are spread through the bite of a mosquito and will cause a persistent cough, fatigue, and eventually death in your companion animal. Dogs and cats should be tested yearly. Treatment for dogs is a months long process and can be extremely expensive, so the best way to care for your animals is just to purchase an affordable, monthly preventative under the supervision of your vet.

Remember – your animals depend on YOU to make the best choices for their health. While we may not always like medicine, it’s important to keep us healthy, strong, and pest-free!