Doctor, even though I have a professional exterminator treat my house and yard every month, I am having problems keeping fleas off my cats and dogs. What can I do to control this problem?
Since you appear to be dealing with environmental control of fleas through your exterminator's contract, I assume that you have discussed the problem with the representative from that company in detail.
It appears that your effort at increased flea control would best be directed at control of fleas directly on your animals. Discussing possible options with your veterinarian is a good first choice to develop a specific flea control program to suit your needs.
Products for your pet can be divided into ones that are either given orally(by mouth) or ones that are directly applied to the skin(or topically). Oral products have the advantage of convenience, possible long duration of action, ease of administration, and minimal exposure to family members of the active ingredients. Disadvantages may be reaction to taste, the need for administration with food, and possibly a longer interval before total results are achieved.
Topical products come in many types such as shampoo, flea dips, sprays, foams, collars, and one-spot skin treatment products. Because some topical products have a lower margin of safety than others, it is very important that consumers read all label warnings and instructions very carefully prior to their use. The advantages of shampoo, foams, sprays, dips, and collars can be cost and availability. The disadvantages can be short duration of action, possible incomplete control, unpleasant odors, hypersalivation, and difficult or time consuming mode of application. One exception to these rules is the new monthly flea spray called Frontline which can be used on puppies or kittens over eight weeks of age.
The newest products available
are the one-spot skin treatments sold by veterinary clinics
today. We have received very positive feedback from almost all
our clients using these products. These topicals, such as
Advantage and Frontline Top Spot -, offer the advantages of long
duration of action, ease of application, and minimal side effects
for the animals. The main disadvantage is higher cost per
Never before have consumers had more options for better flea control and your veterinarianwould be glad to help you in making the right choice for your special pet.
This article generously contributed by:
WAYNE A. ROGERS, D.V.M.
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