MYTHBUSTER: If I don't let my pets inside, I won't have fleas.
Think again. You go outside. Fleas jump in your shoes, on your socks, on your pants, and come gliding inside along with you. This is especially true in places that are warm and humid, or where there has been a lot of rain and warmth. Once they receive a free ride from you inside, they nestle into your carpet and happily lay eggs and breed.
Instant Flea Kill Products
Your local pet store has non-toxic (to the pet and you) flea sprays for the pet's coat for an instant kill if fleas are bad in between the monthly Frontline or Comfortis (or whatever is your currently monthly choice). Again, like with the powder, read the label, and check with your Vet first to make sure there's no issues with interaction with the monthly preventative you are using.
I personally have found Comfortis to be a problem in my older dogs that have GI problems. So I use Frontline for them.
When fleas are bad due to weather conditions (lots of rain and heat), I use Capstar in between the monthly preventative. You can order it directly; no RX required. Clinics use it on pets that are boarding to prevent flea infestation in the clinics. Its oral, instant kill, and for my pets, per my Vet its safe to use between Frontline monthly administration. As always, check with your Veterinarian first before giving anything!
Heartworm should really be called lungworm because they live in the blood vessels of the lung.
If untreated, they clog up the heart, preventing blood from traveling through the right side of the heart, eventually causing congestive heart failure.
Heartworm occurs in any area where mosquitos may bite a pet. If you don't give the animal heartworm prevention treatment, its not a matter of IF they will get heartworm, its a matter of WHEN.
Having adopted many dogs over the years who were heartworm positive when I adopted them, I can absolutely state that the treatment - even at the cheapest place - cost more than YEARS of heartworm prevention and it was hard on the dog - two almost died.
Many low cost spay neuter clinics, and animal shelters sell Heartworm and Flea prevention at reduced rates, and some online stores also offer great discounts especially if the order is an auto renew or in bulk. Dr. Whitworth discusses costs in the video below, but on average, the cost is about the same or less than one meal out at an average chain restaurant.
I personally like HeartGuard - I've never had the dogs not want to eat it - they think its a treat so its super easy to give. For some of my dogs who had other health problems, the combined products (Heartworm and Flea treatment in 1 pill) were too hard on their systems so give HeartGuard, then Frontline for fleas. Ask your Vet which product they recommend for your specific pet's needs. Some Vets will match online prices so don't be afraid to ask!
Heartworm and Flea Prevention
Mr. Frisky tips based on decades of rescue:
Can the Carpet
That's recommended anyway if you or your children have allergies - to anything. Have you ever seen the underside of carpet when removed even after only a couple of years, and the mat below it? Don't view it after eating, that's all I can say.
If you do have carpet, you can get a flea powder or spray for the carpet from the pet store which you sprinkle on the carpet (on a regularly recurring basis) then vacuum up. It kills fleas and flea larvae (see how gross carpet is?!). There are non toxic options. For any of them, be sure to read the label carefully. In order to avoid hazard to your pet as well as you, all of you - and your pets - staying out of the room may be necessary until its completely vacuumed.
NEVER use a fogger with pets in the house - or you!