How often should I treat my dog with anti-parasitic products?

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Vicky Payne helps a reader on a problem with parasites.

Q: Should I be treating my dog with anti-parasitic products monthly or only when I see evidence of fleas or ticks?

I have a friend who only does the latter, and her dogs seem to be clear of any parasites.

Amy Holt, Lancashire.

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A: Vicky says:  The answer to this question depends on your dog’s lifestyle. A short-coated dog living with no other pets and exercising mostly on-lead will have a low risk of parasites and it may be sufficient to comb daily and treat at the first sign of fleas or flea dirt. But remember, one flea could already mean 20 eggs, larvae, and pupae in your home. Dogs in multi-pet households, or those who mix with other dogs, as well as those who exercise in the countryside, are at higher risk of parasites, and thick coats can make daily combing and checking more difficult. In these situations, there can be a serious flea problem before you start to notice signs, and curing an infestation can be hard work.