Today’s tip comes from our friends over at Pet Articles. If fleas are a constant problem for your pup, the following words will be your (second) best friend.
Fleas are the most common external parasite of pets in North America. Fleas are small wingless insects that use their specialized mouth to pierce the skin and siphon blood from their host. When a flea bites, it injects a small amount of saliva into the skin to prevent the blood from coagulating. Some animals become sensitized to flea saliva and animals that are allergic can have severe itching and scratching from a single bite. Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common disease among dogs.
Current flea control products are primarily either oral or topical systemic treatments. Most of the products may be used for prevention as well as to treat existing flea problems. One group of products control fleas by interrupting their development by killing or stopping the maturation of flea larvae and eggs. These drugs are called Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). One common oral product used is lufenuron which is found in the Program® line of products which are administered orally in tablet or liquid form. Methoprene and pyriproxifen are also IGRs that are available as sprays or collars. The FDA shares regulation of these products with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because even the same products from other countries have not been approved by these agencies, it is illegal to purchase or import these products for use in the United States.
Currently the most popular flea control products kill adult fleas (adulticide), are applied topically and work rapidly. Popular topical products utilize fipronil which is the key ingredient in Frontline® Top Spot and imidacloprid which is in Advantage®. The most popular product on the market, Frontline Plus®, utilizes both an adulticide and an IGR. An oral adulticide that is also available is nitenpyram which is in Capstar® and begins to kill fleas in 30 minutes. Frontline Plus also kills ticks which makes it the most popular product where ongoing tick protection is required.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine which flea and tick control products are best for you. The choice of flea control will depend on your climate, environment, your pet’s activities, and potential for exposure. However, with consistent use, it is almost always possible to control your flea problem. Using these products throughout the year typically will eliminate the need for regular insecticidal use.
As always, if you’re near The Woodlands, Spring or North Houston, our grooming services have advanced flea treating options for your dog’s dilemma.