Dr. Marty Becker joined Good Morning America on Monday to talk about the importance of pet grooming.
After the show, Dr. Becker replied to your e-mail questions in the online Q & A below.
Q: We have a terrier mix, his name is Boomer and he weighs about 10 pounds. We had the worst luck with these fleas. We wash Boomer at least once a week, is there anything you can suggest that will help us try to control our flea problems? Thank you for your time.
Jay Vargas Riverside, Calif.
A: According to the veterinarian who's widely considered to be the top flea expert in the world (has Dr. Flea on his license plate) Dr. Michael Dryden, professor of veterinary parasitology at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, says in these situations that you need to get the dog on a product that not only kills the fleas but sterilizes the flea eggs. Ultimately, controlling the fleas will depend on preventing these fleas from reproducing. Don't expect instant results with any flea products. Dryden emphasizes pet owners must maintain their pets on these parasite control products for a sufficient amount of time — up to six months — to insure flea elimination. When asked why owners often say one product works better on a pet, Dryden said most of the time it's a placebo effect. However, there are species differences, and differences in the effectiveness of products on individual pets, even within the same breed. The effectiveness of a product also depends on the strain of flea you're up against. In a given area, fleas can be more susceptible to one product over another. His top three tips:
1.Give parasite control products the time to work. Need a minimum of 60-90 days in a normal situation to get rid of fleas, much longer with problem cases such as yours. 2. Treat all the animals in the household. Dryden laments that many times people treat the fleas on their dogs but not their cats, and vice versa.
3. Go back to the veterinarian if you have a problem. Don't go to a pet, farm or grocery store for parasite control products. Ask your veterinarian for which product, or products, is best for your pet. Ask the vet which products they use on their own pets. For example, I use Bayer's K-9 Advantix on my dogs, whereas other vets use other products. If you've given the first products plenty of time to work, and have treated all the pets in the household, your veterinarian will have a Plan B, or C that will get the job done.
Q: I have 17 dogs, mostly misfits. Some of them have very shaggy hair and it is hard to groom them. For example, two of my German shepherds have had trouble shedding their winter coats, yet they do not like to be brushed. They are both outside dogs, but the shedding and unkempt hair must be uncomfortable. I have heard of a negative ion brush with plastic bristles and also your grooming glove on Good Morning America. Where can I find these on the Internet or which stores? Thanks. Jill Currie Grandview, Texas