Sorry to hear it if you do. Fleas are no fun, and choosing a flea treatment can be just as not-fun.
How many flea treatments are out there? Well... quite a few. And unless you sit down for a nice, long chat with your busy veterinarian, it can be tough to know which flea treatment is the one for you.
They all work in different ways and come with different benefits and challenges.
This month from CritterCures, we give to you the easy-to-understand breakdown of major flea treatments out there.
At-a-glance, we'll be covering itch control, flea baths and dips, natural remedies, chemical treatments, and flea collars.
All of these are over-the-counter products.
Hydrocortisone Spray and Shampoo
While itch control isn't exactly a flea treatment, it's probably on your mind as a pet owner. A little temporary relief can go a long way, after all.
When using a chemical flea treatment, the spray option might be your best choice. Often, topical flea chemicals need to be absorbed. Bathing your pet right away with a hydrocortisone shampoo might not be an option.
Homeopet Skin and Itch
Use this homeopathic remedy by giving it to your cat or dog orally. You can put it right in their mouth, best-case scenario, or put it in something to eat or drink. The formula helps to detoxify, but mainly gives your dog or cat a little extra defense against itching.
It's not known to interact with any drugs, either.
Along with other remedies, you might also consider using garlic extract or brewer's yeast to make your pet's body chemistry unappetizing to fleas.
Adams Flea and Tick Dip Plus Pyrethrin
Killing fleas, ticks, lice, gnats, mosquitos, and flies.
Known to have a repellent effect too.
May degrade faster than other chemical treatments.
This flea dip, or flea bath, is a halfway point between natural remedies and synthetic pesticides. It's made with aloe vera and lanolin for some itch soothing and a healthier coat.
But, the major player in the formula is pyrethrin. This chrysanthemum-derived chemical acts as a neurotoxin to fleas and ticks, but remains fairly biodegradable and safe for other forms of life. Pyrethrin has been used like this for at least 100 years.
It's for both cats and dogs.
Killing fleas, lice, and mosquitos.
Designed to repel fleas, lice, and mosquitos too.
Very toxic to cats.
Advantix is our first topical flea treatment that's chemical-based. Always follow the directions, but essentially you'll be emptying a tube onto your pet's skin. Choose the color strength for your dog's body weight.
Chemicals get absorbed. Fleas and ticks don't like it one bit.
Advantix contains two big-player ingredients: imidacloprid and permethrin. The thing to know here is that permethrin is not the same as pyrethrin. It's chemically similar, but that 'm' and 'y' make a huge difference.
Most animals can handle permethrin fairly well. Cats... not so much. When affected by permethrin toxicity, cats may:
- twitch and shake,
- be hyperexcitable,
- act depressed,
- lose coordination,
- have a seizure,
- or lose their appetite.
Without quick action, a cat may die from this. But, if you catch it early and get to the vet right away, most cats recover fully.
If you have a cat in the house, it's probably not in your best interest to use Advantix. However, the potency of permethrin can't be ignored, when it comes to fleas on dogs.
Advantage is a similar product that's made by the same company. It's for dogs and cats, but does not work on ticks.
Have you seen Advantix II and Advantage II around? Bayer, the manufacturer, added a chemical to help handle larvae and eggs. That's the difference.
Frontline Plus and Frontline Top Spot or Spot On
Killing fleas, lice, and ticks.
Top Spot or Spot On does not work on larvae, but is a good preventive measure.
The big difference with Frontline is the chemical used. Frontline uses a paralysis-inducing agent. It collects in hair follicles, and then slowly gets released over time. That's why it stays effective even after baths or getting wet.
Many owners use Frontline Plus to handle a pet flea infestation, if they find one. Then, they may switch to Frontline Top Spot or Spot On to prevent re-infestation.
Flea collars like these ones use an insecticide that would not be suitable to apply right on a pet's skin. With slow release through a collar, however, it becomes acceptably safe.
A collar's advantage is long-term management. Many collars also contain an egg and larvae-fighting chemical for better protection. However, problems can occur when humans come in frequent contact with a flea collar without washing the chemicals from their hands.
If you're looking for a solution you don't have to remember to re-apply, a flea collar may be for you.
Controlling fleas on your pet can be tricky, especially if you factor in allergies or sensitivities.
What works for one owner may not work for another. That's why you'll hear wildly different testimonials for each flea product. Plus, not every flea and tick infestation is created equal. Pet owners in different parts of the world may be dealing with very different environmental factors.
With any treatment, know what you're using.
If you pick a herbal or homeopathic remedy, you may encounter allergies, sensitivities, or the need to re-apply often.
If you pick a chemical remedy, remember that you're essentially dealing with chemical weapons. They can be very effective to kill fleas and larvae, but may come with risks.
All of us at CritterCures wish you luck!
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