How can you tell if your animal has fleas?
The symptoms that an animal experiences when they have fleas can vary depending on if they are allergic to the flea saliva. An animal that is not allergic may not even itch if infested with fleas. On the other hand, an animal that is highly allergic to the flea saliva may itch and scratch excessively even after one flea bite. Most animals that have fleas will either have the presence of a black pepper looking substance on the fur (this is the “skat” from the fleas), or they will be scratching and/or chewing at the back end of their body.
Vectra-3D (canine), Vectra (feline), Frontline Plus (canine or feline), or Revolution (canine or feline) are all good choices. We recommend that you apply one of these topical flea preventatives once monthly to all animals in the environment. Some topicals give the added protection of tick prevention. Especially if your dog goes in the woods a lot, this is an important consideration.
An environmental treatment is also available. Knockout spray. This spray allows you to target the areas where fleas will most likely be. Flea bombs on the other hand only target the tops of surfaces where fleas generally will not be. A lot of vacuuming is also a great idea to limit the number of fleas in your environment.
Vectra 3-D for Dogs (dinotefuran, permethrin, pyriproxifen), Vectra for Cats (dinotefuran, pyriproxifen) from Summit Vet Pharm
This product is a monthly spot-on application for flea, tick and mosquito control with an insect growth regulator. It provides long-lasting repellent, and is a fast acting adult flea killer that also provides control for the egg stage of the flea for at least 30 days. Permethrin is added to provide tick control and as a repellant. Pyriproxifen (Nylar) is added for flea egg control (See above.) Water and shampooing lowers efficacy after 14 days. Do not use the Vectra-3D on cats, because of the high concentration of permethrin. This product is fast-acting and should be very useful for households with flea allergy pets.
Advantage (imidacloprid), K9 Advantix (with permethrin) from Bayer
These products are available as a spot ons for either dogs or cats. Advantage seems to be very well tolerated by sensitive cats. It provides flea knockdown in about 8 hours. 100% killing can be maintained for at least two weeks. It is susceptible to wash off, therefore outdoor active dogs and dogs that swim or that must be bathed because of dermatitis must be re treated frequently. (Weekly reapplication is allowed with Advantage only). Imidacloprid has no efficacy against ticks, but K-9 Advantix, with permethrin does. K9 Advantix is only labeled for once a month, and ONLY FOR DOGS.
Frontline Spray, Frontline Plus and Frontline Top Spot (fipronil) from Merial
Fipronil is a broad spectrum insecticide available as a spray or a drip-on. Fipronil binds chemically to the hair and is absorbed through the hair follicle by the sebaceous glands. The spray is labeled for puppies and kittens of 8 weeks (10 weeks for Top Spot). It is also affective against ticks. The major problem with the spray is the high volume of alcohol based product that must be applied. Many cats will show minor adverse reactions with this application technique. The product is labeled to be applied no more than once a month. Frontline Plus contains the insect growth regulator, S-methoprene and so provides control of eggs and adult fleas.
Revolution (selamectin) from Pfizer
This prescription drug is designed as a once-a-month heartworm preventive and flea preventive for cats as young as 6 weeks old. It also kills adult fleas and can be used to treat sarcoptic mange, ear mites and ticks. It also helps control roundworms and hookworms in cats. The product is placed on the skin at the back of the neck, but is absorbed into the body to have its effect when female fleas ingest it with a blood meal. Adult fleas will die slowly, but more importantly, female fleas stop egg production as soon as they are exposed. It is most useful as a preventive for flea infestation and in the presence of a flea problem in an allergic pet, but it is an excellent flea control product for cats.
Why are the above mentioned products better than flea baths and dips?
The Vectra, Frontline, Advantix, and Revolution are safer, easier to apply, and the protection lasts longer. They also affect the life cycle of the flea, whereas the baths and dips only kill the adult fleas that are on the animal.
His passion, enthusiasm and love for the dog is evident in his many years of experience as well as his hunger to learn more and it is all this that has made him what he is today! He has had extensive training in the area of canine behavior and training! His studies have included 2 summers in the kennels of the New Skete Monestary, 1 year mentoring with Dr. Ian Dunbar, 1 year mentoring with Ed Frawley, and 2 years association with Michael Ellis!
He is a current Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and owns and operates his own dog training business with 45+ years of professional Canine Training experience in his kitty! You are in good hands with Scott!