No matter where you live, if you have a dog at some point your dog will have fleas. Flea medicines for dogs have provided more comfort for canines perhaps than any other drug in the veterinary field.
A scratching dog can be a nuisance for the owner but for the dog, it's a miserable state of affairs. Fleas crawl about on the skin of the animal, taking little bites here and there and the dog can do nothing to get rid of the pests.
Your pet's only recourse is to scratch what itches and that often means scratching anywhere he can reach. Dogs will rub on furniture, wear bare spots in their backs rubbing against a fence and chew their paws until they bleed.
Scratching leads to hair loss and skin infections for many dogs. An allergy to the saliva of fleas is not uncommon and produces a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis. Dogs with this allergic reaction can develop serious skin problems that are difficult to treat and extremely uncomfortable for the animal. Dogs will chew their skin until there are raw patches in an attempt to stop the itching caused by flea bites.
Fortunately your dog does not have to turn himself into a pretzel trying to get rid of nasty fleas. For dogs with flea allergy dermatitis, the best products are flea drops which are placed on the skin at the top of the neck once a month. For larger dogs, it is recommended that you divide the application between the neck and lower on the back at the base of the tail. Three of the best known products are Advantage, Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix. These flea solutions kill adult fleas and continue to kill hatching fleas for up to 30 days.
Revolution provides the same type of spot on application and offers an all-in-one solution that prevents heartworm and kills fleas. Because they quickly kill adult fleas, the spot products are the recommended choice for dogs with flea allergies.
Program and Sentinel are flea products administered in pill form. They contain insect growth regulators. They contain parasitic insecticides that kill fleas when they hatch but do not kill adult fleas on your dog. They can be used in combination with Advantage or Frontline Plus to kill adult fleas with the drops and then prevent new infestations of hatching fleas. Sentinel also is a heartworm preventive medication and kills tapeworm, hookworms, round worms and whip worms in the canine.
The topical drops are the most popular choice of flea control for pet owners. The products are widely available online without prescription but should be purchased from a reputable veterinarian's site as there are low cost fake products designed to look like these top selling brands that will not kill fleas and could harm your pet.
The oral products will keep your dog flea free once the adult fleas have been destroyed but some breeds display allergic reactions and rashes when using the pill forms.
Advantage is a reasonably priced topic flea medication for dogs that is applied once per month and is widely available. Frontline is slightly more expensive but also prevents ticks. Fleas multiply quickly and they adapt to protect themselves from topical flea medicines for dogs. The medication you used last year may seem less effective in preventing fleas this year. If you choose topical treatments, it's best to rotate brands yearly as the fleas in your area will adapt.
Capstar is a new addition in the field of oral flea medicine for canines. This product is meant to be used for special circumstances as a one time application. A dog with no flea infestation may be fine in his flea controlled home environment but risks picking up fleas at a dog show, when boarded at a kennel or when visiting the dog park. Capstar quickly kills any fleas your pet may have picked up in his travels.
If your dog has flea problem – you have a flea problem. Chances are there are fleas in your carpet, your dog's bed and on your furniture. When you treat your dog for fleas plan to wash the dogs bedding and use a safe insect spray designed to kill fleas on his bedding and throughout your home. Most of the sprays have a residual effect that continues to kill fleas for 30-90 days. For carpets, a dust can be sprinkled on the floor, left for a few minutes and vacuumed up with the dead fleas that were hiding in the floor covering.
Eliminating a problem with fleas is a multi-pronged attack. Once most of the fleas in your home have been killed, regular treatment of your dog is usually sufficient to prevent flea activity in the house.
There are states where fleas are a problem only in the warm summer months. In those climates, flea medications for dogs may be needed only from mid-spring to late fall. In coastal states, states with moderate climates and any location near water or marshland, flea prevention should be a year round routine for your dog.