Best Flea & Tick Protection for Senior Pets

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, fleas and ticks are not just a nuisance, but pose animal and human health risks. They suck your pet’s blood, they suck human blood, and can transmit diseases. Some of the diseases that fleas and ticks can transmit from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) include plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, bartonellosis and others. That’s why it’s critical to protect your pets from these pesky parasites and keep the creepy crawlies out of your home.

Fortunately, there are many effective flea and tick preventives on the market to help control the pests and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Knowing what kind of product to use, and how to use it, is critical to the health and safety of your pet. Many are spot-on (topical) products that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, but there are some that are given orally (by mouth). Although medicines and pesticides must meet U.S. government-required safety standards before they can be sold, it is still critical that pet owners carefully consider their flea and tick preventive options (and closely read the label) before they treat their pets with one of these products.

Ask your veterinarian

Consult your veterinarian about your options and what’s best for your pet. Some questions you can ask include:

  • What parasites does this product protect against?
  • How often should I use/apply the product?
  • How long will it take for the product to work?
  • If I see a flea or tick, does that mean it’s not working?
  • What should I do if my pet has a reaction to the product?
  • Is there a need for more than one product?
  • How would I apply or use multiple products on my pet?

Parasite protection is not “one-size-fits-all.” Certain factors affect the type and dose of the product that can be used, including the age, species, breed, life style and health status of your pet, as well as any medications your pet is receiving. Caution is advised when considering flea/tick treatment of very young and very old pets. Use a flea comb on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea/tick products. Some products should not be used on very old pets. Some breeds are sensitive to certain ingredients that can make them extremely ill. Flea and tick preventives and some medications can interfere with each other, resulting in unwanted side effects, toxicities, or even ineffective doses; it’s important that your veterinarian is aware of all of your pet’s medications when considering the optimal flea and tick preventive for your pet.

How to protect pets

To keep your pets safe, we recommend the following:

  • Discuss the use of preventive products, including over-the-counter products, with your veterinarian to determine the safest and most effective choice for each pet.
  • Always talk to your veterinarian before applying any spot-on products, especially if your dog or cat is very young, old, pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
  • Only purchase EPA-registered pesticides or FDA-approved medicines.
  • Read the entire label before you use/apply the product.
  • Always follow label directions! Apply or give the product as and when directed. Never apply more or less than the recommended dose.
  • Cats are not small dogs. Products labeled for use only for dogs should only be used for dogs, and never for cats. Never.
  • Make sure that the weight range listed on the label is correct for your pet because weight matters. Giving a smaller dog a dose designed for a larger dog could harm the pet.

One pet may react differently to a product than another pet. When using these products, monitor your pet for any signs of an adverse reaction, including anxiousness, excessive itching or scratching, skin redness or swelling, vomiting, or any abnormal behavior. If you see any of these signs, contact your veterinarian. And most importantly, report these incidents to your veterinarian and the manufacturer of the product so adverse event reports can be filed.

Be aware that certain flea and tick preventives are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while others are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It can seem confusing at first to figure out which agency regulates the product you’re using, but it’s actually pretty straightforward: if the product is regulated by the EPA, there’s an EPA number clearly listed on the package. If it’s regulated by the FDA, there should be a NADA or ANADA number clearly listed on the package. Check the label for either an EPA or an FDA approval statement and number. If you see neither, check with your veterinarian before purchasing and especially before using the product.

Below are some highly rated, popular flea and tick preparations for senior pets.

Cat Flea & Tick Collars

Cat Flea & Tick Topical

Extra Large Dog Flea & Tick Topical

Large Dog Flea & Tick Topical

Medium Dog Flea & Tick Topical

Small Dog Flea & Tick Topical

Dog Flea & Tick Collars

Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats

  • Effectively kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae and lice.
  • Sensitive skin formula with  soothing aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal
  • Contains an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill and prevent flea development for up to 28 days
  • Safe for use on all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens 12-weeks and older
  • Pleasant, fresh scent               

Review: Vet Approved Rx

VetApprovedRx is an online pet pharmacy that provides high-quality pet medications, foods, and other supplies at affordable prices. Their motto is, “if we don’t believe in a product, we don’t sell it.” 

Their goal is to optimize your ability to care for your pet’s needs by providing accessibility to an experienced and licensed veterinarian and to ensure your pet’s health by supporting your Veterinarian who provides the necessary hands-on care that a general online pet medication site cannot provide. 

Founded by trusted Veterinarian, Dr. Barry Miller, DVM, he has provided veterinary care for over 18 years. He is known for providing affordable, high-quality care that allows pet owners the ability to care for their pets they love. He still practices veterinary medicine and performs surgery. 

VetApprovedRx has over 5500 five star reviews from satisfied customers. They offer free shipping on orders over $49 and everyday low prices on most pet medications. 

In addition to their online pharmacy, they also offer a variety of holistic and natural products for cats, dogs and horses. 

Their website is very user friendly. You can shop by illnesses or symptoms or by the name of the medication you are looking for. 

We did a comparison on some of their prices and for some medications, they were much lower than other sources. For other medications they were slightly higher. Overall, we’d say that their prices are reasonable and competitive, and it depends what you are shopping for.

Should you place an order, the Elderly Pet Organization will receive a small portion to help continue our mission of providing information and education about the care and treatment of elderly pets.

Elderly Pet Safety in Cold Weather

Cold weather can pose serious threats to pet health. Pet’s cold tolerance for cold weather can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level and health. 

You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.

Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

 If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.

Below are some helpful products that can be used to protect your pets when the weather is cold outside that are highly rated and loved by elderly pets.

 

Elderly Pet Dental Care

Elderly pets are at higher risk for tooth decay and gum problems than younger pets. Pet parents must be especially vigilant with older pets to ensure that their teeth and gums stay healthy and strong into pet old age. 

AVMA recommends that all pets be seen by their vet at least once per year to check your pet’s teeth and gums. It is also recommended that you conduct frequent checks of your pet’s mouth to look for any issues that may present themselves. 

Call your vet if your pet exhibits any of the following warning signs of dental disease:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

And while most tooth or gum related illnesses can be treated oftentimes with anesthesia, older pets may be at higher risk for anesthesia dental cleanings if they have other underlying medical conditions. Therefore, prevention is the key to caring for your pet’s mouth.

Pet parents are encouraged to check their pet’s mouth monthly to ensure that their pet’s mouth is clean. Regular brushing is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your pet’s teeth healthy between dental cleanings by your vet. Even brushing just several times per week can be effective. There are a number of products available that can help you brush your pet’s teeth more effectively and there are some products that aid your pet in their brushing. Speak with your vet before purchasing dental products, treats or dental-specific diets you may consider for your pet. 

Below are some items that are highly recommended by consumers to manage your pet’s oral care.  

Bathing Elderly Pets

Bathing pets as they get older can be challenging because elderly pets often have health issues or skin conditions that can make bathing them a challenge. And taking them to the groomer may be too much of an ordeal for an older pet. All pets need to be bathed from time to time, especially if their skin becomes irritated easily or if they suffer from allergies. Following are some tips to keep in mind before you attempt to bath an elderly pet.

What you will need:

  • Wash basin or tub
  • Two to three towels depending on the size of your pet
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Cotton balls
  • Blow dryer
  • Brush and comb
  • Large paper or plastic cup
  • Helper for large pets or arthritic pets who may need assistance getting in and out of the tub

Preparing the wash area

Fill a sturdy wash basin or tub that is large enough for your pet – be sure the water is not too hot or too cold. Use the back of your wrist or your elbow to test the temperature. Fill the basin part way.

Place a dry towel on the floor and place one to two towels within arms reach to dry your pet.

Plug in a blow dryer far enough away from the wash area, but nearby so that you can reach your pet after the bath is complete.

Gather your shampoo, conditioner, brush, comb, plastic cup, and cotton balls.

 

Preparing your pet

Make sure that you remove your pet’s collar and anything else that should not get wet.

Escort or carry your pet over to the wash basin and gently lower him into the basin. Place one cotton ball in each ear to prevent water from getting in his ears.

Using the cup or the shower head, rinse your pet thoroughly with warm water. Be sure to test the water before you begin. Then shampoo your pet from head to toe. Elderly pets should use very mild shampoos and conditioners that are hypo allergenic. Their skin tends to be thinner and more sensitive so mild shampoos are recommended.

Completely rinse your pet with warm water and ensure that you get under his stomach and under his tail. When washing and rinsing his face, put his head back and block his nose from getting water in it.

Comb out any areas that are matted or where discharge may collect, especially around the eyes and rinse thoroughly; but be sure to be extremely careful and do not pull but rather gently come out the matted areas. If necessary, leave them and trim them later with a scissor.

 

Drying your pet

Take one or two towels and dry your pet as best you can being sure to rub gently and avoiding any warts or skin irritations. Gently pat his face area. Remove the cotton balls from his ears. Be sure to dry his ears with the towel and dry the outside and inside of his ears to ensure that water doesn’t collect in the ear canal and cause bacteria to grow.

Blow dry your pet with the blow dryer on the coolest setting and do not leave the blow dryer in one area for too long. Move the blow dryer with sweeping motions back and forth until the area is dry. Place your hand between the blow dryer and your pet to ensure that the blow dryer does not get too hot. Brush your pet once he is dry to ensure that all areas are dry.

Be sure to completely dry the floor with one of the towels before you and your pet exit the area to ensure that no one slips or falls.

Treat your pet to a special bone or cookie to reward him for being such a cooperative pet. Treats can be used for positive reinforcement and even an older pet will endure bath time if they know they will be rewarded with a treat.

 

Precautions

Some articles recommend applying tea tree oil after a bath to help soothe skin irritations. This is not recommended because tea tree oil can be toxic to pets and should be avoided. Instead, if your pet doesn’t smell clean and fresh or has some minor skin irritations, speak with your vet about oral medications that can help soothe them. There are other over the counter products that are not toxic that can also be used.

Below are some useful items that can purchased for bathing elderly dogs. For cat grooming products, including bath wash, read our cat grooming blog. 

Shampoo

This shampoo is natural anti itch oatmeal shampoo for dogs and cats; hypoallergenic soothing relief fro dry, itchy, bitten or allergy damaged skin, hot spot treatment, vet and pet approved. 

Shampoo & Conditioner

This combination shampoo & conditioner in one is hypoallergenic and soap free with aloe for allergies and sensitive skin. 

 

Pet Brush

This pet brush is double sided with bamboo handle for long or short hairs; removes shedding, tangles and dirt. 

 

Pet Combs

Removes tangles, knots, loose fur and dirt. Ideal for everyday use. 

Wash Basin

This portable wash basin is suitable for small to medium sized pets and it is expandable and foldable. 

Pet Odor Control Spray

This anti itch spray has natural ingredients and is hypoallergenic. It soothes dogs and cats, hot spots, itchy, dry, irritated skin. Reduces odor, allergy relief and smells great.