SpringIsComingMarch is the time to prepare for spring (even if it doesn’t feel like it outside yet). The return of sunshine and growing plants means the return of insects. Heartworms and Lyme disease, transmitted by insects, are serious illnesses that can shorten the lives of cats and dogs. Your veterinarian can help you protect your pet from infection by recommending the appropriate parasite prevention method for you.

There are topical repellents, ingestible insecticides and even vaccine-like options. Some of the treatments contain flea killers. Some also prevent parasite larva from maturing, which breaks an infestation life cycle. You should talk to your vet about screening your pet for infection before you apply medication. Some mixtures are not safe for dogs or cats that are already infected. Though some can be bought over the counter, be sure to ask your vet which ones are safe for cats or dogs with seizures or animals under a year old or which might be used for breeding. It matters.

Grooming and bathing your pet can help. However, since shampoos have no lasting effect once you rinse them away, something must be done to keep insects out of the environment. Home remedies, such as vacuuming and tossing the bag or dumping your canister outside will help. Some people swear by vinegar or garlic concoctions, although research is mixed about how effective these recipes are. Remember: always check with your vet. Tea tree oil can be toxic to cats, and raw garlic can make pets sick. So get ready to enjoy the season. Just don’t go out unprepared. If you don’t already have a pet of your own, look for a shelter or rescue near you here at www.Humaneforpets.com.