Des Moines Pet Clinic Flea Treatment Update

Flea Prevention For Your Dog or Cat
by Dr Nancy Peterson at Ingersoll Animal Hospital

Hate the idea of fleas on your pet or in your house? You are not alone. At our Des Moines pet clinic we like to say “the only good flea is a dead flea.” There are many different flea products available and choosing a safe and effective flea treatment can be very confusing.

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Do I want an oral, topical (on the skin), or collar flea product for my dog or cat?

An oral flea product is a pill that is given by mouth to treat fleas. Don’t like that greasy spot on your pet once a month? A monthly pill may be the right choice in your household. Comfortis® is a prescription monthly tablet that is given with food and can be a great flea product choice for your dog or cat. It is a good flea product choice if your dog likes to swim or is bathed frequently as you don’t ever have to worry about it washing off! Ask the vets at your Des Moines pet clinic about Trifexis® for dogs. Trifexis® is a great oral monthly flea and heartworm preventative that also helps with intestinal parasites. Can’t get your dog or cat to take pills? A topical flea prevention or flea collar may be the choice for you. Click here to learn more about giving your pet pills by mouth.

Applying-Topical-300x214A topical flea product is applied monthly directly to the skin between the shoulder blades for dogs or high on the neck for cats at a place your pet can not lick off. The hair should be parted and the product applied directly to the skin. Do not apply on top of the hair coat or it is not absorbed well. Topicals are absorbed differently, some are picked up

by the blood stream and have to be detoxified by the body and others such as Frontline Plus® are stored in the oil glands in the skin and distributed without entering the bloodstream. Some topicals like Frontline Plus® are effective on several phases of the fleas including adult fleas, eggs and larva helping break the flea life cycle and prevent a buildup of fleas in your house and environment, and also help prevent ticks. There are also other safe and effective topical

preventatives like Advantage Multi® that control fleas, heartworms, and help control intestinal parasites. These are available by prescription from veterinarians at your local Des Moines pet clinic.

Flea collars have been around for a long time but historically have had problems with not being as safe or effective as the newer flea control products. The new generations of flea collars, such as Seresto®, have the product impregnated within the collar, allowing the preventative to be released slowly to increase the safety and effectiveness of the flea control. Some are even good to use with dogs that love to swim. The new generation products are effective for up to 8 months. Put the collar on and forget about it for 8 months! Ask the health care specialists at your Des Moines pet clinic if this is the right flea control for your pet.

Why use a monthly flea treatment product instead of a flea bath, dip or spray?

Monthly flea products are easy to use and you have a choice of a topical or a pill for flea prevention or treatment. Use the oral or topical flea treatment and it does not need to be re-applied or given for 30 days. Flea baths, dips and sprays can be messy, time-consuming and no fun for you or your pet. It is hard to treat your entire pet with these products without getting it in their eyes. Miss a spot and you create a safe zone for the fleas to survive. These products just aren’t as effective and can’t offer the longer-lasting protection of oral or topical monthly flea and tick treatments.

Is it safe to combine flea products with my pet’s other medications?

Flea prevention products are safer and more effective than ever before but before using a flea product, ask the vets at your local Des Moines pet clinic about possible interactions with any medications your dog or cat is taking.

REMEMBER A CAT IS NOT A SMALL DOG AND MANY SAFE FLEA PRODUCTS FOR DOGS CAN BE FATAL TO CATS. Only use cat products on cats.

Fleas can be a very frustrating problem when they become established on your pet and in your home. The veterinarians and Health Care team at Ingersoll Animal Hospital recommend treating all pets in your household, even if they aren’t scratching, for at least 6 months to control fleas and to break the vicious flea cycle. There is a reason they have survived for millions of years!