Eliminating fleas in our pets — the pros and cons of anti-flea products, HubPages

Eliminating fleas in our pets — the pros and cons of anti-flea products

Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets, and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

Preventing Fleas naturally

Fleas. The very thought of them makes us literally jump. Dog owners the world owner fight the flea and tick battle with elusive conclusion, with the little critters always seeming to win.

The search for optimal flea control can seem like a never ending quest. Products on the market often have after effects that are not quite so desirable. Thus, natural methods of flea control are welcome alternatives for pet lovers.

There are multiple things to consider. First time pet owners will wonder what flea control products there are available. Others will wonder about their advantages and disadvantages. Still others will want to know if there are less risky, more natural ways of getting rid of these jumping nuisances.

This writer will show what anti-flea products and medications are available on the market, discuss their pros and cons and explore the natural remedies available that will rid us of these jumping nuisances.

The pros and cons of flea products on the market

Fleas and ticks are nuisances that can be far worse than just merely being one. They also transmit deadly diseases to your pets. If a flea has been infected with tapeworm, they gain entry into your pet’s bloodstream after biting.

So what flea control products are available on the market?

Topical medications

Immensely popular, these medications are those that you usually apply in between the pet’s shoulder blades or the base of his neck. The ingredients in these medications repel ticks and fleas and put off nasty mosquitoes too.

Advantages

These medications work better to kill more fleas because they spread through the entire body. The medicine works even though the pet has had a shower.

Disadvantages

In the case of some topical medications, the flea would have to bite the animal in order to be poisoned or repelled. There are also possible complications that may arise from the medication being introduced into the bloodstream or sweat glands.

Oral Medications

If the idea of topical medications can be a little off putting, there are different oral medications, to be given monthly, available on the market.

Advantages

Oral medications not only repel fleas and ticks, some may even prevent heartworm disease in dogs.

Disadvantages

Some pets might develop allergic reactions to the medication, like itchiness and redness. Some may experience vomiting or diarrhea. Generally, the side effects of oral medication are few.

Sprays

Go to any pet store and you will find a wide collection of anti flea sprays available. These can be applied on your pet after his shower.

Advantages

A less expensive method of controlling fleas than topical or oral medications, sprays are also relatively easy to use.

Disadvantages

Some may not be as effective. The chemicals can also be dangerous when absorbed by the pet’s skin or touch his eyes.

Powders

Again easily accessible and to use, these powders are easy to apply after a bath.

Advantages

They are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply

Disadvantages

Like sprays, they are dangerous when absorbed by the pet’s eyes or skin. Side effects of powders may include vomiting, diarrhea and even shaking.

Shampoos

Flea and tick shampoos, of course, serve to wash away adult fleas and ticks. Many contain the ingredient pyrethrins that facilitates this. There are many of these available at any pet store.

Advantages

These are easily available and are applied like ordinary shampoos. One just has to be careful of leaving the shampoo on for a short while before rinsing to give it time to be absorbed by the skin.

Disadvantages

Being absorbed by the skin, they are no less dangerous than flea sprays or powders. They do not prevent re-infestations of fleas.

Flea and tick dips

These are dips that are usually applied to your pet with a sponge. After application, the pet is allowed to air dry.

Advantages

Being quite concentrated in pyrethrins, a dip serves to kill more fleas and ticks.

Disadvantages

The high level of chemicals makes it dangerous to both animals and humans. After application, wash your hands thoroughly and do not let your pet lick itself.

Flea Collars

These collars contain chemicals like pyrethrins and other insect regulators to repel fleas and even mosquitoes. The chemical is dispersed all over the animal’s body after it is worn.

Advantages

The use of flea collars is a relatively inexpensive method of flea control. It provides some protection for your pet.

Disadvantages

The chemicals used can make the collar irritating and cause allergic reactions. They can also smell rather strong.

Program

The pros and cons of individual flea medications

There are some well know flea medications that have been used by dog owners since time immemorial. Before using them, it is good for dog owners to consider their up and down sides.

Program

Program is an oral medication that prevents fleas from laying their eggs in a conducive environment. It does so by introducing chitin to the eggs of fleas, making them unhealthy. It prevents young fleas from using their teeth to hatch out of the egg. It also softens the exoskeleton of adult fleas.

The wonderful thing about program is that it is attractive to your pet. Available in different flavor tabs, a pet is easily drawn to consuming it. The not so wonderful-the fleas must bite your pet in order for the chitin to work. It does not kill adult fleas already present on the body.

Frontline

Frontline

I have used this product on my dogs, who were previously infested with fleas and ticks. A topical medication, it is applied between the pet’s shoulder blades and goes into its sweat glands.

Frontline is effective in preventing infestation and my dogs have not had a repeat of it since application. It is good if your dog spends time outdoors and becomes a victim of full blown infestation.

However, it can cause allergic reactions, nausea or diarrhea because it is absorbed into the animal’s skin. It is not for constant application.

Revolution

A topical for external application on the skin, Revolution kills all manner of parasites, including fleas, hookworms and heart worms. It kills sarcoptic mange as well.

Its versatility makes it a great topical medications to use. However, like other topical medications, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause the side effects already mentioned.

Capstar

Capstar

An oral pill, this will kill fleas within minutes. However, because it only works within 24 hours of application, it does not work as well if your dog has a highly advanced infestation. It works best when a dog without fleas is given the medication after being exposed to it.

Some natural flea removers

You can probably tell that flea products, though effective in preventing or reducing infestation can also have their drawbacks. Owners may therefore look for natural solutions to their flea problems.

Diatomaceous Earth

An all natural product, DE is made of fossilized skeletal remains of unicellular plants called diatoms. Fleas can be repelled by putting small amounts of it around the home, where fleas are prevalent.

Generally non toxic to humans or pets, it can be irritating to those with breathing problems. If considering DE, do not apply it when the household fan is being turned on.

Nematodes

Nematodes are little microscopic worms that eat flea larvae and serves as a natural way of controlling the flea population. Because they do not survive in the sun, nematodes should be placed in shady areas around the home. You only need a small number, as they multiply rapidly. They can be purchased at some pet and garden stores.

See also:  How to Keep a Cat From Pooping in a Sandbox, Cuteness

Rosemary Flea Dip

This is a really natural way of getting around flea problems. To prepare the dip, 2 cups of rosemary should go into boiling water for 30 minutes. The liquid should then be strained and warm water added depending on the size of your dog. Pour over the dog and allow it to dry naturally.

Lavender essential oil

After washing and drying your dog, apply a few drops of this to the tip of the tail and base of the neck to repel fleas.

Brewer’s Yeast

This works like many oral medications, this is excreted through the skin and makes the dog less attractive to fleas.

However, it is much healthier, without chemicals.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Not too attractive in terms of taste, adding a teaspoonful of this to your dog’s water makes his skin acidic and not tasty to fleas. Reduce the amount if your dog is not feeling, well, too sour.

Lemon spray

This is easy for all to prepare. Quarter a lemon and leave it in boiling water overnight. In the morning, spray all over your dog, avoiding its eyes. The sour taste will repel fleas.

Using common household items to prevent fleas

Putting a little salt in problem areas after the floor has been washed dehydrates flea eggs and kills them. It takes a longer time to work, but is worth the wait.

Soap and water

A great nighttime remedy, putting a bowl of water and some soap at night under light will repel fleas.

Natural flea Collars

Yes, you can make your own natural flea collars. Use a cloth or bandana and drop a little citrus, eucalyptus or lavender on it. The acidity will repel fleas.

Conclusion

The best way to prevent fleas is still to keep the environment clean. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will make the environment less attractive to fleas! Thanks for reading!

Original work by Michelle Liew

All rights reserved

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Comments

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Good call, MisBejabbers! These products make use of questionable chemicals to kill things, so if they are given in any form to our animals imagine the damage it causes! Thanks for sharing.

Doris James MizBejabbers

6 years ago from Beautiful South

Good hub and it is good to caution people about using any product. Read the warnings! When Program first came out, we were desperately looking for something that would work on fleas. It worked great for fleas, but my cat reacted very badly to it. I later read a magazine ad in which the fine print said that it could cause neurological damage to the pet. It had caused major neurogolical damage to our cat. He was never the same after that, and I felt so bad about it. I just wish I had seen the warning before the vet prescribed it.

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Natural remedies are much better because they have no chemicals. Thanks for sharing, Tebo!

tebo

6 years ago from New Zealand

Great list of flea remedies. I like your evaluations of each remedy. I have used frontline and revolution., but I do worry about the effects. I like the natural suggestions you have made and will try some of these.

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

I am preparing lemon dip for my pups as I speak. It stings just a bit so it has to be diluted with water to reduce the acidity! Thanks for sharing, Kathi!

Kathi

6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Wow, I didn’t know there were some home remedies. That’s great news. I use a flea collar for my cats in the summer. I’ve tried products like frontline, but my cats are relentless about trying to lick it off and with their flexibility, they manage to get at some it, so I stopped using it.Thank you for sharing this useful information Michelle! :O) Take care, Kathi

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

I am preparing lemon dip as I answer your comment. yes, natural, chemical free approaches are always the best. Thanks for sharing, Kidscrafts!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

I am not, either, Alexadry, and I am preparing lemon dip as I write! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Thanks, Eiddwen. I hope it does!

Pamela Oglesby

6 years ago from Sunny Florida

Excellent information. This is a decision that all of us pet makers must make and I appreciate the information.

kidscrafts

6 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Great suggestions Michelle! I like also the fact that you suggest natural ways to control those insects!

My cats are indoor cats so I don’t need to use any product on them. But I remember when I adopted my first cat when I was still living in Belgium; I found her on the campus of the university where I was working at and she was just full of fleas. so much so that when I arrived home I was bitten on my legs by those little nasty insects. We gave her a bath of some product to try to get rid of all those fleas. What a nightmare!

Adrienne Farricelli

Great article. I like the natural approaches as I am not too fond of chemicals. Lately have been using natural products, voted up!

Eiddwen

6 years ago from Wales

So interesting Michelle and will benefit so many readers who are also pet owners.

Voting up and sharing.

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Thanks, Janine! Hope they’ll find it useful!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Thanks, Dianna! Anti flea protection will surely come in handy then! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Yes, it is something we cannot completely be rid of, Sheri! But we can prevent it! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Mary, Revolution is a good dual preventive. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Thanks for the recommendation, Jaye! Will check our the site too!

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

Thanks, Bill. glad that it has helped! Think that it’s not possible to stop them completely, though. Thanks for sharing!

Janine Huldie

6 years ago from New York, New York

totally passing this onto Kevin’s parents, who own two dogs. Thanks truly for all the great advice and tips here about helping with flea control. Have of course voted up and shared all over. Have a wonderful weekend!!

whonunuwho

6 years ago from United States

A nice and well prepared work and well received, as I am a dog owner or should I say, owned by a doggie. Thank you for this fine work my friend, midget. whonu

Dianna Mendez

I dont’ own a pet at the moment, but this will come in very handy for when I finally to get one — some day. Great advice and suggestions. Voted up++ and shared.

Sheri Dusseault

6 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

That is a great hub and should do well on google as it is an on going problem fro pets. My little dog passed a few years ago, but there may be a puppy on our future. I will remember this hub if we do get one.

Mary Hyatt

6 years ago from Florida

Fleas are a real problem here in S. Fl. My dog, Baby, is terribly allergic to flea bites and I battle them all the time. I dislike using these insecticides on her. I am using Revolution with good results now.

Voted UP and will share all around.

Jaye Denman

6 years ago from Deep South, USA

I use natural/non-chemical flea prevention products from onlynaturalpet.com for my dog instead of the chemical (topical) flea preventives. She already has a compromised immune system from a severe reaction to a vaccine and lives with a chronic medical problem that is likely due to that. (Her vet now uses titers to test her immunity rather than giving her vaccinations. So far, she still retains immunity.)

I simply don’t trust the chemicals in Advantix, etc. not to cause her eventual harm. Cancer is so prevalent in dogs today, and there’s no reason to believe that environmental factors don’t cause it in dogs as they do in humans.

I do give her heartworm preventive—no choice about that, but try not to use anything else that might cause her harm. So far, the products I’m using to keep fleas away are working. Anyone who is interested in avoiding chemicals might want to take a look at the onlynaturalpet.com website.

Wiqar Ali Shah

6 years ago from Peshawar Pakistan

awesome i like it very much very informative hub.

Wiqar Ali Shah

6 years ago from Peshawar Pakistan

wonderful hub tnks for sharing.

Mary Craig

6 years ago from New York

Darn girl you are good! Such a great list of solutions to get rid of those pesky fleas! Anyone with a dog or cat can certainly benefit from this hub. I’m going to get some DE from my pool filter and put it around the house!!

See also:  Dichlorvos NEO odorless: instructions for use

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

Bill Holland

6 years ago from Olympia, WA

We have used the diatomaceious earth and the vinegar, both of which had some success. thanks for the other suggestions.

Michelle Liew

6 years ago from Singapore

The pros and cons of anti-flea products and natural ways of eliminating fleas in our pets.

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2020’s Best Flea and Tick Pills for Dogs

Flea Pills for Dogs Fast acting? Spotlight Features Rating Price
Sentry CapGuard Yes! Starts working in 30 minutes Tablet format means no mess, can’t rub or wash off 3.7 $

On a recent phone call with my sister, we were talking about our dogs. I know…surprise, surprise. The topic of flea control came up.

Table of Contents

“I’m thinking about putting my dog on a pill.”

“Oh, yeah? Wait a minute. I thought she was fixed. Why would she need the pill?”

It’s a good thing my sister is pretty.

Oral Flea Medication

I explained to her that oral flea medication (A pill, not THE pill) is the most effective type of treatment and prevention available. You can avoid the messy residue that drops and flea collars leave behind.

It won’t stain your clothes, rugs, or furniture, and no more having to separate animals during the application process.

One of the advantages of this type of flea medications is that the pills can work as soon as four hours from ingestion.

They also come in chewable tablets for dogs who have trouble taking pills. Some may last longer than a typical one-month application.

Some flea medications are available in combinations with heartworm or tick preventatives, reducing the amount of pills you have to get your dog to ingest as well as the amount of money flowing out of your pockets.

The disadvantages are that these oral flea meds for dogs may require a vet’s prescription, and most do not guard against ticks or other parasites.

Another issue is that they can kill adult fleas OR flea eggs but usually not both. Because of this, pills are often used in conjunction with drops as the pills kill the current pests and the drops prevent new ones from breeding throughout the flea’s life cycle.

Best Flea Pills for Dogs

Depending on your situation, pills can be a great choice for keeping your dog safe from harmful parasites.

Be sure to choose carefully, however, because while some medications prevent future infestations, others only kill current ones. And don’t forget to treat your yard for fleas as well as treating your home for fleas to help prevent reinfestation.

Used in tandem with another method like flea drops, these can be very effective at keeping your pet flea free. This one-two punch is one of the best flea treatment options available.

Flea killing pills for dogs can be divided into two basic categories, prescription and over-the-counter.

Over-the-Counter Flea Pills

You can pick these pills up at most pet stores or online. You won’t need a prescription from your vet but it’s still a good idea to get your vet’s opinion on which oral flea pill would be best for your pup.

Sentry CapGuard Flea Tablets – Best Daily Flea Pill

This is a once a day tablet to get rid of current infestations. It can start working in as little as 30 minutes and is very effective.

If you are struggling to get ahead on your flea problem, this is a good way to wipe out the adult fleas who are laying eggs and start on a prevention method to keep them from coming back.

The CapGuard name may be misleading since it doesn’t actually “guard” but rather kills but these pills are very effective at exterminating the buggers.

Keeping a few tabs on hand in case your mutt brings home some unwanted friends is a good idea.

The pricing is also very reasonable.

Daily pill that is effective and reasonably priced

www.centralparkpaws.net

The Best Kind of Flea and Tick Medicine for Dogs

Tufts University veterinary dermatologist explains how to make a decision.

There is a lot of confusion about which is the best flea and tick medicine to give a dog. A collar that emits the active ingredients slowly? A liquid-like spot-on that you apply monthly between the shoulder blades? Or a pill? And among those three choices, what are the best brands? Furthermore, should you buy your brand from the veterinarian, or is it okay to pick up at the supermarket? Then, too, are dogs prone to adverse reactions?

One reader recently wrote in to say that he usually buys his dog’s spot-on flea and tick medicine at his veterinarian’s office, but to save money, he bought it recently at the grocery store. Within a day of his applying it, his dog had the runs for several days. Could the two things have been related, he wanted to know? Did the cheaper product induce some kind of toxic reaction?

“The diarrhea was very likely a simple coincidence,” says Tufts veterinary dermatologist and Your Dog editorial advisory board member Lluis Ferrer, DVM, PhD, DECVD. “Without knowing the exact product used and its composition, it is impossible to say, but it would be very strange for a dog to develop the runs from the drug.

“What owners occasionally see with spot-ons,” Dr. Ferrer says, “is that dogs itch, so they will try to chew the spot of application between the shoulder blades or rub against the carpet for a few hours, or maybe even for a whole day occasionally.” But it’s a harmless side effect.

Still, given that some dogs want to scratch that spot on the skin once the medicine is applied, you might assume that a spot-on is not the way to go. After all, why risk making your dog uncomfortable, even if the discomfort won’t harm him?

The thing is, “each type of medicine — spot-on, collar, or pill — has its advantages and disadvantages,” Dr. Ferrer counsels. There’s no best answer. You have to weigh the situation for your particular dog. You also need to talk to your vet about it — even if you don’t end up buying a product from the vet’s office.

Speak to Your Vet Before Choosing a Flea Prevention Product

Before you even think about which type of flea and tick preventative to use, it’s very important to talk with your veterinarian, Dr. Ferrer says, because you need to make sure you’re giving your dog something that will take care of all the types of fleas and ticks in your area. You want to keep your dog protected from fleas and ticks all year round in order to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, some of them very severe, and different formulations work for different types of parasites. Some of the medicines on the market do not cover all of the types of ticks we have in North America. There’s no point in applying the medicine if it’s not going to be 100 percent effective, and your dog’s doctor can help you on that score. The doctor can also help you to decide in which of the three available forms you want to give the medicine.

Types of Flea and Tick Control

Collar: For those who prefer using a collar, there are options that fight all fleas and ticks.

Advantages. Collars are an easy choice for people who don’t want to be applying medicine between the shoulder blades every month or giving tablets for the dog to take by mouth. The Seresto collar protects a dog from fleas and ticks for up to eight months. It is also safe for cats. This is an important point for homes that have both dogs and cats because cats are very sensitive to some of the treatments commonly used for dogs. You can never assume that a product that is safe for dogs is also safe for cats.

Disadvantages. Such collars are expensive, relatively speaking, so you have to lay out more money at a time. In addition, if you lose the collar, you’re back to square one.

Also, bathing can reduce the duration of the collar’s effectiveness. In order to maintain an eight-month duration, for example, dogs must not be bathed more than once per month. For dogs that swim more than once a month, the duration of control against the parasites is reduced.

Occasionally, a slight itching may be observed in animals that are not used to wearing collars in the first few days after fitting. In a very small percentage of cases (probably less than 1 percent), a mild dermatitis due to mechanical or chemical irritation of the collar may occur at the application site, which usually recovers within one to two weeks without the need for collar removal. Still, in these cases, the collar is probably not the best preventative choice for the dog.

Another very effective and safe collar for dogs is Scalibor Protector Band. It provides up to six months’ protection against ticks and fleas, with the same caveats as described above.

Spot-on: There are some really good brands of spot-ons. Among the choices: K9 Advantix, Frontline Plus, Activyl Tick Plus, and Vectra 3D. The companies that manufacture these products have proven safety and efficacy with scientific studies that were published in peer-reviewed journals, meaning independent investigators without a vested interest in the products’ success checked the results and looked for holes in the write-ups before the studies were allowed to appear in academic publications.

This doesn’t mean that no other products are safe and effective. We just don’t have evidence one way or the other. The proven products cost more because it costs more to develop and execute the scientific tests they go through. But what you get in return is an assurance that they will take care of fleas and ticks.

Advantages. Once the medicine has been applied between the shoulder blades with a little pipette that accompanies the package, you don’t have to worry, as you do with a collar, that it will come off and get lost. These products also tend to be less expensive than a collar.

Disadvantages. It’s actually not a disadvantage if you stay on top of things and mark on the calendar when you last applied the medicine. But spot-ons, recommended once a month, start to undergo a decline in protection after four weeks. A dog is not completely unprotected in week five, but he’s less protected than during the previous week, and less protected during week six than during week five. You really want to make sure you apply more medication between the shoulder blades like clockwork, every 30 days. If you’re not good at keeping with a schedule, there will be a problem.

Spot-ons are also a problem for people who bathe their dogs very often or whose dogs are out swimming all the time, say, in a lake. First of all, your dog can’t be bathed two days before or after applying the drug. Most active ingredients remain attached to the skin lipids, and if you remove them by bathing, the medicine does not persist on the skin surface. After that, if you bathe the dog once during the month or let him go swimming once, that’s okay. But if your dog is often swimming or if you bathe him frequently with a medicated shampoo because he has a skin condition or skin allergy or because he has a very strong odor to which you object, you are going to be removing the active ingredient, even if more than a couple of days have passed since you applied it.

Medicated collars lose their potency when they get wet, too. But the problem isn’t as bad as with spot-ons because the active ingredients, which are stored inside the collar rather than right on its surface, are slow-release. A couple of days after the dog has been in the water, the levels of medicine in the collar will come back up again. Still, if your dog is in the water all the time, the collar is going to spend a lot of time deactivated, and the effective life of the collar will be shortened, as mentioned above.

Oral flea medications: If you prefer giving your dog tablets, some cover all kinds of fleas and ticks. Bravecto, for example, is administered every three months, while Nexgard is given once a month. Trifexis, also given monthly, covers fleas, heartworm, and internal (intestinal) parasites. It does not protect against ticks, however. It is great when fleas are the main concern but must to be used together with other preventatives to take care of ticks.

Advantages. Providing protection against fleas and ticks in pill form is probably the best way to go if you have a water-loving dog who’s often out in the water or a dog who, for whatever reason, needs frequent bathing. Water can never make the pills lose their potency. Also, the tablets are good for owners concerned about having an insecticide on the skin surface of the dog (for instance, because of close contact with children).

Disadvantages. Some dogs, like wary prisoners or hospital patients who don’t want to be sedated, will do everything not to swallow a pill that you try to force into their mouths. You can wrap it in cheese or salami, use the gentlest coaxing language you can think of, yell at the dog, or manually work to keep his jaw open with your hands, but at the end of the day, the dog will spit out the pill or just let it drop out of his mouth — over and over again until it becomes a slimy mush that you can no longer pick up without it sticking to your fingers. If that’s your dog, pills are not the way to go, even if your pal is often in the water.

It should be noted, too, that a very small minority of dogs react to the pills with vomiting or diarrhea. Reactions tend to be mild — and they are rare — but it’s something to keep in mind.

One Flea Medicine that Always Works?

For the most part, the medicines recommended here do the trick. That said, even if you choose one of the products mentioned in this article, it does not mean it’s impossible for your dog to become infested with fleas or never have a tick on his body.

If you select an appropriate product and apply it properly and still see some fleas or ticks, “you need to consider why there might have been a failure,” Dr. Ferrer says, by talking to your veterinarian.

“In the case of fleas,” he advises, “if you still see them around your dog after having given him a good anti-flea medication, you probably have a reinfestation rather than a case of resistance to the product.” There are several ways this can happen, including a severe infestation of your house with many immature flea stages (eggs or larvae — newly hatched fleas). In such cases, the situation can become “too overwhelming for the medicine,” the doctor says. This is the most common situation in which you will keep seeing fleas despite using a good product.” But it’s not the only one. The reinfestation can also come from wildlife or from roaming pets.

None of this means you are a dirty or a bad housekeeper. It means you got unlucky and may need professional help to eradicate the problem. Your veterinarian can prescribe some environmental treatments. In some particularly severe cases, you may need a professional disinfestation of the house. Once you take care of the problem in your home, the medicine will protect your dog beautifully.

In the case of ticks, Dr. Ferrer notes, “absolute protection is not easy no matter how disinfected your house. Adult fleas live on the host — the dog — where they feed and lay eggs. The eggs develop in the home environment (rugs, carpets, couch cushions), and the new adult fleas seek the adult dog or cat to live, making the problem a vicious cycle. But the entire cycle takes place in the house, so you can control it. With ticks, because they live outside and part of their life cycle takes place in the outdoor environment with other animals in the forest and such, it’s impossible to orchestrate everything that happens to them.”

This should not make you panic. It simply means, Dr. Ferrer says, that even with an excellent product, you might sometimes see a tick, often a dying tick, on your dog. However, if this happens more frequently than once in a while, he counsels, you need to review the protection your dog is getting and go over the medicine, and the frequency with which you give the medication, with your veterinarian. Maybe your pet is not getting enough of the active ingredient for the amount of infection he’s exposed to. Your vet may suggest switching to another regimen.

www.tuftsyourdog.com

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