Fleas and ticks are external parasites often found on dogs and cats. Because they are responsible for a vast majority of the illnesses and disorders seen in these pets, special attention should be made to treat and prevent them. Fleas are extremely common and have been called the biggest health problem facing pets. Fleas have a four-stage lifecycle: egg, larva, pupa (pue-puh), and adult. Because adult fleas spend much of their time off of the dog or cat, it is often necessary to treat the animal, the home, and the yard. However, new advances in pest control now allow pet owners to target all four stages of a flea's development. This type of regime can help disrupt fleas' different life stages and hopefully will result in fewer eggs hatching and growing into adults. Such treatment is available in a variety of insecticidal forms including sprays, powders, shampoos, dips, collars, and prescribed oral medications. Be prepared to repeat the treatment. Flea control is an ongoing process, and a veterinarian should be consulted to ensure using the product safest for your animal. Ticks, unlike fleas, attach themselves to the pet's skin and remain there a long time. They, then, tend to be more resistant to insecticides, so direct dipping and spraying have proven to be the most effective. For more information on fleas and ticks, consult a veterinarian in your area.