Fleas and ticks can make your pet’s life miserable. Everyone that owns a cat or dog is familiar with the incessant itching and itching that accompanies a flea infestation. Anyone who has ever had to remove an engorged tick knows how unpleasant a task this can be. Along with the hair loss, scabs, and skin irritations that accompany flea and tick infestations, there is the frightening and real threat of disease spread. Ticks carry organisms that cause diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, together with the several other potentially fatal illnesses. Plants which are allergic to flea bites can endure torment for weeks from a single bite and tick bites can become infected. And the worst part is that for every one of these nasty parasites that you see in your pet, there are hundreds more in the environment. Simply removing the fleas and ticks on your pet doesn’t eliminate them from your house and yard.
Mosquitoes are an additional issue. Although they don’t live and reproduce in your property, they quickly multiply in still water anytime the weather warms up. The tire swing in your backyard or the empty planter on your porch may comprise thousands of mosquito larvae. Mosquito bites hurt, can cause allergic reactions, and can become infected. But most importantly, they could spread heart disease disease, West Nile disease, and other life-threatening infections to our pets.
There are ways to manage these parasites. There is no perfect control, but by educating yourself regarding all of the available products, and employing the best product for your individual situation, you can cut the chances that your pet will be infested with fleas or become a meal for ticks. When choosing an insect-control product, it’s crucial to analyze the period of the flea, tick, and mosquito season in your area, the severity of the issue, the type of external parasites involved, the species, age, and health of the pet, and any chemical sensitivities in the household. A lot of men and women find they need to deal with the yard and the home, as well as the pets, to achieve adequate control.
When reading product labels, start looking for the active ingredients, the species and age of animal that the item is meant to be used for, the kinds of parasites killed, and whether the item contains an adulticide, an insect growth regulator, or both. Adulticides are insecticides that kill adult insects; insect growth regulators are insecticides which help to reduce fleas in the environment by preventing eggs from hatching and larvae from molting.
Traditional methods of flea control for pets have included flea shampoos, dips, powders, combs, and sprays. Although effective, these products often only kill the adult parasites and have little or no residual activity. So, new ticks or fleas can re-infest your pet in a matter of days. Conventional methods may also be time consuming and often messy. The labels must be read carefully to guarantee the best use of the products. Never use a flea, tick, or mosquito product for a cat unless the label specifically states that it is safe for cats. Many dog products are very dangerous for cats.
Newer products work quickly to kill the parasites. Rapid control on the pet can be accomplished with Capstar. This is a pill that is given orally and kills the fleas within a matter of hours. It only lasts one day, but is great at fast removing heavy flea infestations. It’s much easier to use, more effective, and safer than shampooing the pet to kill ticks and fleas. It starts to work within 30 minutes and removes over 90% of the fleas on cats in 6 hours and on dogs in 4 hours. It’s safe in pregnant and nursing animals, and may be used on cats and dogs 4 weeks of age and older that weigh at least 2 pounds. It has no side effects and no contraindications and can be used every day, if needed.
Other new products kill fleas quickly and continue killing them a few weeks. These include topical, spot-on products which are used monthly. They’re put on the pet’s skin according to the label directions. . It is very important to read the whole label to make sure that you are using the right product for your pet’s needs. Some products are only safe for puppies, some work faster than others, some last longer than others, some are rinsed off with bathing, and some kill only fleas. Some of the products kill ticks, some repel and kill ticks, and a few kill or discourage mosquitoes. Some contain IGR’s. It is important to understand that more potent products may have a higher risk of unwanted side effects. The product label will explain how the product works, what parasites are controlled, which animals it should be used on, and the proper dose of the product
It may be confusing to compare the different spot-on insecticide products. The decision is made by balancing safety, efficacy, duration, addition of an insect growth regulator, and whether the product may be used on cats or dogs. Be aware that individual pets may react to any given insecticide product. If a negative response does occur, the product shouldn’t be used again. Switching to a different product may solve the issue, in that different individual animals do respond differently to the varying insecticides. Let us take a look at the most common spot-on insecticide products for your pets. These include Advantage, K9 Advantix, Frontline Top Spot, Frontline Plus, Bio Spot for Dogs, Bio Spot for Cats, and Revolution.
Benefit is made by Bayer. The product comprises one insecticide, imidacloprimid: It can be used on dogs over 7 weeks old and cats over 8 weeks of age. One of the fastest-working goods, it kills 98-100% of the fleas on the pet within 12 hours and eliminates new fleas within 2 hours. It continues up to 4 weeks. It doesn’t have any repellent and can’t kill ticks or mosquitoes. It does not contain an IGR and cannot kill eggs, but it will kill creatures in a pet’s bedding when the creatures contacts a pet. It has a very good safety record. It is effective in the face of bathrooms, swimming, and sun. Advantage kills fleas faster than other spot-ons and is extremely safe, so it’s a great product if fleas are the only problem with your pets and when safety is a significant concern. It is especially great for indoor pets. It shouldn’t be reapplied at less than 1 month intervals.
K9 Advantix can also be made by Bayer. This product comprises imidacloprimid (found in Advantage), plus a second insecticide, permethrin. The second insecticide makes this product more palatable and potentially increases the risk of side effects in pets. This product can’t be used on cats; it’s only to be used on puppies. It can prevent and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes on dogs 7 weeks of age or older. Like Advantage, it continues up to 4 weeks, kills 98-100% of fleas within 12 hours, and is not affected by swimming or bathing. It also kills flea larvae. It takes approximately two days to kill ticks. It should not be reapplied at less than one month intervals.
Frontline Topspot is produced by Merial and contains the insecticide, fipronil. It can kill fleas, ticks, and biting lice. It can be used on dogs and cats 8 weeks of age or more. Frontline for cats and dogs will kill 100% of their pet’s fleas within 18 hours and ticks within 48 hours of application. It kills ticks for up to a month, and fleas for up to 6 weeks on cats and 12 weeks. If both fleas and ticks are a problem, it should be applied monthly. It is currently approved for use on breeding, pregnant, and lactating queens to control fleas, ticks, and biting lice. It is not affected by swimming or bathing. It should not be implemented at less than one month intervals.
Frontline Plus is also manufactured by Merial. It is licensed for cats and dogs over 8 weeks of age. It kills ticks for up to a month on cats and dogs, and fleas for up to six months on cats and 12 weeks. It’s safe for breeding, pregnant, and lactating animals. Due to the additional IGR, it has been demonstrated to kill flea eggs and larvae for up to six months to the cat merchandise and 12 weeks for your dog product. This provides a more rapid decrease in fleas in the house and environment that Frontline Topspot. If both fleas and ticks are a problem, it should be applied monthly. It’s not affected by swimming or bathing. It shouldn’t be applied at less than 1 month intervals.
It kills and repels fleas for up to three to four weeks, kills flea eggs and larvae for up to four months, and kills and repels ticks for up to 4 weeks. . It repels and kills mosquitoes for up to 4 weeks, but it isn’t a heartworm preventive medication. It is for use only on dogs over 12 weeks old. . It cannot be used on cats. It controls over 92 % of fleas within one day of use. It is relatively stable in water or bathing, but it recorded as being able to be reapplied if removed by shampoos. It is not removed by gentle shampoos. It’s generally applied at 4 week intervals.
Bio-Spot for Cats, from Farnam Corporation, contains etofenprox and the IGR, pyriproxyfen. It can be used on cats 5 pounds and over. It kills fleas for up to a month, deer ticks for up to one month, and flea eggs and larvae for up to three months. It also repels mosquitoes for up to one month. This product is made to be used on cats only.
Revolution is made by Pfizer. It contains the insecticide, selamectin. A prescription is required for this product. It may be used on dogs six weeks of age and over and cats eight weeks of age and over. It has different indications for dogs and cats. For dogs, it kills adult fleas and prevents eggs from hatching for one month. For cats, it kills adult fleas for one month, prevents flea eggs from hatching for one month, prevents heartworm disease, kills ear mites, kills roundworms, and kills hookworms. It is typically used at monthly intervals unless a different use is advised by the prescribing veterinarian. It’s absorbed systemically and won’t be removed with swimming or bathing.
Program is an oral product for dogs and sold as a tablet for dogs and a suspension for cats. This product comprises the insect growth regulator, lufenuron. This product prevents flea eggs from hatching and larval forms of fleas from maturing. It doesn’t kill adult fleas, but is effective at eliminating flea populations in the environment. Since only 2% of the flea population is at the mature form, the product works to get rid of the fleas in the house and yard. It has to be administered in combination with food. Lufenuron can be found in the heartworm preventative medication, Sentinel. The Program tablet is labeled for dogs and in addition, may be used in cats who are 7-15 lbs and over 6 weeks old. The feline suspension can be used for cats that weigh less or more than this range. Program is a great product if fleas only intermittently irritate your pets and you wish to be certain that biting fleas do not add hundreds or thousands of eggs to your environment.
The flea and tick-killing spot-ons have dramatically enhanced our successes at controlling these parasites. However, even the fastest product takes hours to kill fleas on your pet. So, if your environment is filled with aging and biting fleas, it may take several months to get control if you only use a spot-on and don’t treat the environment. Many options are available for environmental control. These products will help remove adult fleas, and those with insect growth regulators will reduce eggs and larvae.
Your selection of flea control product will be different based on the needs of your pet and you. For example, a dog that’s quite allergic to flea bites needs a product that repels fleas and kills them, not just one with an IGR. An older, toy dog that spends 98% of its time at the home may do fine with only an IGR, such as Program, or a product which only kills fleas, such as Advantage. A stray pet that’s coming into your house and has fleas might be treated using a product such as Capstar and a spot-on product, or bathed with a flea and tick shampoo, then be treated in the next few days using a spot-on product. A dog or cat with ticks might require a product such as Frontline Top Spot, Frontline Plus or the proper Bio Spot. Any pet that has side effects from a product should be bathed with a shampoo that will remove oils from the coat rather than be treated with the item again.
It is important to read all labels to properly select and use the products that best match your pets’ needs. Only use products according to the label directions. Don’t use partial doses, don’t give dog products to cats, and do not overdose the pet. Misuse of these insecticide products can significantly boost the chances of side effects. Insect Growth Regulators raise control without significantly increasing side effects, so pick these when it makes sense to do so. By picking the product that best controls the parasites and fits your pet’s age, health, and weight reduction, you can eliminate the pests which are bothering your pet and limit side effects. With so many flea and tick products available, there is no reason for any pet to suffer from such parasites.