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Thursday 19th September 2019

Pet flea treatments: the hidden cost of cheap products

Cat Flea Treatment
Meet Quaver!

It’s no secret that Britain is a nation of pet lovers; we adore our furry friends, and want the best for them. We buy them treats, making sure they are fed and watered, and take them to the vet for their annual check-ups. Another ‘must’ that most pet-owners abide by is making sure those horrible parasites are kept at bay. Not only is it distressing to see our pets constantly scratching their itches, but fears also arise of us also becoming infected or bitten by fleas, ticks, and other nasties.

What you may not be aware of is that, in trying to help your pet, you may actually be putting their life in danger, and causing some hefty vet bills, too. That old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely rings true in the case of popular high street flea and worming treatment brand, Bob Martin which has been reported to cause multiple dangerous symptoms, ranging from hair loss, to cats frothing at the mouth.

But why do shops stock it, and people buy it, if it’s so bad?

The short answer, as with a lot of things in life, is money. Bob Martin is an unlicensed pet medicine which makes it dirt cheap in comparison to other brands. More people buy it because it’s cheap, which means more profit for those stocking the product. But cheaper is not always better. When I spoke to the vet about Bob Martin, I was advised that a pet suffering the poisoning resulting from this flea treatment could rack up hundreds of pounds in vet bills – if the pet survives in the first place.

What can I use instead?

Next time you pack up your pet and make a trip to the vet for their annual check-up, ask about flea treatments. If you’re already paying for the visit then any advice that you get off them is generally free – so go on, pick their brains! I’ve heard of a good brand called Advocate, but the vet will only prescribe it to you if they have seen your cat or dog in the last 12 months – which is fine because you should be taking him/her for an annual check-up anyway.

Disclaimer: I am just an animal lover, not a vet. However, any and all advice that I am giving on the matter has come from veterinary professionals.

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Maddy Sutherland

Maddy Sutherland

Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.

1 Comment
  1. I would be interested to know if you think an annual trip to the vet is also a potential waste of money? Both my parents and my husbands parents had cats and all lived beyond 15 years apart from a couple that unfortunately got run over. Do you think the “vet visit” is a modern phenomena that is not really necessary and could be another way of saving money. As long as you look after your cat and feed it good food? We have a cat ourselves who is adored by both of us so would be interesting to hear your thoughts?

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