As the weather warms up and we begin to enjoy more time outdoors, the number of cases of flea infestation in our pets also rises. The flea is a parasite that can affect both dogs and cats and rapidly reproduces. The adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day! Continue reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
Why is it important for me to control fleas on my pet?
The fleas themselves can quickly set up an infestation in your pet’s environment. An adult flea can bite your pet up to 400 times per day. As you can imagine, that can cause a great deal of irritation and anxiety in your pet. Some pets can even develop a flea allergy, which is a reaction to the flea’s saliva. This can cause a serious rash, which is often very itchy and can lead to secondary skin infections and hair loss. Flea allergy can be so severe that the bite from a single flea can cause the severe rash within hours.
What products do you offer to help with this problem?
- Capstar is a pill that starts working to kill fleas within 30-minutes of administration. This product will kill all of the fleas on your pet, but does not have any preventative effect. This makes it a great short-term medication to kill fleas quickly, but should be used in combination with a monthly preventative medication.
- Comfortis is a chewable tablet that is given once a month for the prevention of fleas. This product works quickly to kill fleas and lasts all month to provide relief for your pet.
- Sentinel is a chewable tablet that is given once a month for the prevention of fleas and also prevents heartworms and intestinal parasites. This product works to control the flea’s life cycle, but stopping fleas from developing into adults. Since the adult portion of the life cycle is needed for the fleas to reproduce, this will prevent a flea infestation from occurring. If you already have a flea infestation, another product may be recommended first to eliminate the existing infestation. Because this product also prevents heartworms, an updated heartworm test is required before starting it.
- Revolution is a topical product that is applied once a month for the prevention of fleas and also prevents heartworms and intestinal parasites, while treating ear mites and sarcoptic mange. Topical products must be applied directly onto the skin while parting the haircoat. You also must avoid bathing or allowing your dog to swim within 48 hours of application to allow the product to fully absorb. Because this product also prevents heartworms, an updated heartworm test is required before starting it.
- Frontline is a topical product that is applied once a month for the treatment and prevention of fleas and ticks. Topical products must be applied directly onto the skin while parting the haircoat. You also must avoid bathing or allowing your dog to swim within 48 hours of application to allow the product to fully absorb.
What else can I do to get rid of the fleas in my house?
Fleas thrive on your pet’s blood, but can survive for long periods of time on furniture or bedding. Other ways to help eliminate a flea infestation in your home include vacuuming areas where your pet sits or sleeps and thoroughly washing all bedding in hot water, including blankets and pillows. Also, remember that all other pets in the home, as well as any outdoor pets that may come into contact with your pet or your pet’s environment should be treated.
I used a product last month, but I am seeing fleas again this month. Does that mean that the product isn’t working?
Even with one dose of flea prevention, your problem may not be solved. Flea eggs and larvae may continue to emerge, so it is important to use a product consistently for at least 3 consecutive months. The best way to ensure complete flea control is to use a product monthly, on all pets in the area, all year round.
What about the over-the-counter flea products that I see at the grocery store or pet store?
Unfortunately some of the over-the-counter products are ineffective for complete monthly control. Worse yet, some of these products may potentially be dangerous. Some of these products have been associated with high rates of reactions, even leaving a burn-like spot on the area where the medication is applied. Most flea collars are also not effective, because they only work right around the area where the collar touches. Most of the fleas on your pet are in the area around the tail, which is not where the medication actually reaches. The other concern is that small children may chew or lick at the collar and become sick. The exception to this is a new collar that has recently come onto the market, called Seresto. This is a flea/tick collar that lasts for 8 months and is much more effective than the older-type collars. This new collar also eliminates the risk for other people/pets exposed to it.
The best way to ensure that the product you are using will be the safest and most effective for your pet, is to consult with your veterinarian prior to use. Call us today to schedule a consultation and keep your pet flea-free this season!