Your dog walks through an infested area, another dog shares them while at the dog park, or maybe you, the owner, bring them into your home on your shoes or pants; it’s hard to say how or why your dog gets the fleas, but it’s as much a part of pet ownership as baths and brushings and trips to the pet store. One thing is for sure, they should definitely be taken serious.
Did you know there are over 2,200 kinds of fleas? With a life span ranging from only a few weeks to a few months, these tiny insects can do a lot of damage. For instance, a female flea can lay up to 50 tiny round eggs each day; that’s more than 3,000 eggs in just a couple of months.
So, what do you do? What’s the right treatment for your pet? Just like you would talk to a pharmacist about a particular medicine, talking to a vet is a good idea and excellent place to start. Not all 2,200 species of fleas live in every part of the world, therefore, what one pet owner may need in Illinois may be different from what a pet owner in California may need.
It’s important to do your research and this blog is as good as any place to start gathering information. So, let’s take a look at some of the best flea treatments for dogs.
Flea collars can be an inexpensive treatment and tend to be a new pet owners first line of defense, unfortunately, experts tend to advise against them. Toxicity is a main concern of many brands currently on the market. There is even a website called http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/flea-collar/ that shares some of the toxins associated with collars. According to the website, amitraz (a chemical that is an alpha2-adrenergic agonist and monoamine oxidase inhibitor) can cause lethargy, dilated pupils, drooling, vomiting, and even low or high heart rates, to name just a few, if this chemical is ingested or the collar is applied incorrectly.
Having said all that, there appears to be one particular collar that stands out amongst the experts; Seresto Flea and Tick Collar. According to consumersearch.com, vets are very positive when it comes to the Seresto flea collar and unfavorable reactions seem to be rare. Customers have provided lots of positive and insightful user feedback at sites like Amazon.com, where you can also purchase this item. Currently there are literally thousands of reviews for you to read through. Be sure to check out consumersearch.com for more detailed information. You can also read some of the reviews given by other pet owners on Amazon.
Topical and Oral
Another method of flea treatment is known as topical, which means it comes from a tube like toothpaste and is applied to either the neck or back of your dog. A loved advantage to topicals is that most contain IGRs or insect growth regulators and they do just that, regulate the growth of the eggs and prevents them from becoming adult fleas, and each treatment can last up to one month if applied correctly. Amongst most experts, topical flea treatment is preferred over any other method of treatment.
One such product at the top of experts lists is Advantage II for Dogs. According to http://www.bayerdvm.com/, this topical contains an adulticide (imidacloprid) and an insect growth regulator (pyriproxyfen) to kill all life stages of fleas. Furthermore, it kills fleas through contact, so they don’t have to bite your dog to die. One convenient application of Advantage II keeps working for one month. Frontline Plus is another contender for top ranking topical. This particular one is size and age specific for your dog.
But just like collars, topicals have snags as well. Pet owners need to be careful when applying a topical; it can cause irritation to eyes or even allergic reactions. And the topical needs time to dry, so until it’s dry, it can be passed on to children or other pets.
Here’s where oral treatment may be preferred, a tablet form of flea treatment. The risk to other pets and humans diminishes greatly. One such product, Capstar for Dogs and Cats, which can be given daily, depending on the level of flea infestation, is one of the top oral over-the-counter flea treatments for dogs. Entirelypets.com states that Capstar is a fast-acting formula that starts killing fleas in as little as 30 minutes and has different formulations based on the size of your pet.
Entirelypets.com also carries other oral treatments such as Program Flea Control which comes in 6 and 12 month programs and Sentry CapGuard which is also size specific for your pet.
The downside to some of the oral medications is that they only work on adult fleas which means you still may end up trying to find a second method of flea treatment to do the whole job. Also, you could be one of those frustrated pet owners whose little pooch refuses to cooperate with you trying to put a pill in their mouths. Good luck hiding it in the food, you may find it later on the floor beside your favorite lounger.
Shampoos, Dips, Bombs and Sprays
Shampoos and dips can help with ‘right now’ itching, but they don’t provide much in the way of long acting treatment against eggs or new hatchlings. Once again, you’re left looking for additional treatments to rid your dog of fleas.
As for bombs and sprays, these flea treatments tend to get the thumbs down because of their ingredients, however, on Amazon.com, one of the top selling sprays is Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs. According to Adams’ website, this spray contains an insect growth regulator (IGR) designed to kill flea eggs and their larvae for up to 7 months. What is nice about this particular company is that their own website suggests using multiple steps for total and complete flea treatment, including what can be done in and around your house. Two thumbs up!
Aadamspetcare.com not only offers you several different products and methods of flea treatment, but they offer expert advice on how to use their products as well. They provide the pet owner with a 3-step process for fighting fleas. Happy pet, happy owner.
We cannot end this blog without giving ear to naturalists. One such website, Everydayroots.com/flea-remedies gives some interesting recipes for sprays, homemade collars, combs and baths using simple ingredients such as lemon juice, lavender oil and apple cider vinegar.
There are other manufactured natural options as well. Amazon.com hosts several options including products from a company called Pest Peeve offering 100% natural, eco-friendly and family safe products. Other natural products include Dr. GreenPet 16oz All Natural Flea Control, Flea & Tick Prevention for Dogs & Cats, Natural Pet Spray for Dogs and Cats and Mad About Organics All Natural Dog Flea & Tick Topical Treatment.
There are additional steps you can take around your home to help with the fight against fleas and ticks. These steps not only help to keep your pet safe, but your family as well.
Cut your grass, trim all bushes and shrubs and then be sure to rake up leaf litter under any bushes. Leave the ground as bare as possible. You can check with your local DIY to locate a lawn and garden EPA approved insecticide to use under shrubs, bushes and along fence lines. Food for thought; fleas are sensitive to humidity and sunlight, therefore, you’ll most likely find them under shrubs, bushes, porches and shaded areas. It’s very important to read all directions and follow them thou roughly. Note: it’s very important to allow time for the insecticide to dry before allowing pets/humans to go anywhere near the area.