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Flea Treatments For Dogs – Which Is Best?

Having issues with fleas and wondering what the best options are for flea treatments for dogs are? Let’s break it down.
Dog on grass scratching ear needing flea treatments

Flea Treatments For Dogs – Which Is Best?

If you see a flea then it’s time to be concerned. Because for every flea that you see, there will be many more you don’t see. Other than the adult fleas you see, there are 3 other stages of flea development. There are the eggs, larvae, and pupae stages of life of a flea. So what can you do?

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There are several choices when it comes to flea treatments for dogs. But are they all good options?

Spot-On Treatments:

The not so easy – easy fix.

Spot-on flea products are pesticides, easily available without a prescription, long-lasting, easy to use, making them pretty popular.

They contain ingredients such as fipronil, imidacloprid, pyrethrins, and pyrethroids.

Most veterinarians will tell you that the majority of these products are harmless and safe, but what does the evidence say?

Fipronil is one of the main ingredients in Frontline. The website for Frontline would like to make people believe that the product stays in the skin oil glands.

However, studies have shown that it, in fact, enters your dog’s organ system and nervous system. 

Tests conducted on animals show its results in altered thyroid hormones, thyroid toxicity, thyroid cancer, kidney and liver toxicity, convulsions, and reduced fertility.

Imidacloprid is the active main ingredient of Advantage. Laboratory studies have found it causes thyroid lesions and increases cholesterol levels in dogs.

It also is known to create liver toxicity, not only has it been proven to be damaging to the liver, but also to the dog’s spleen, heart, gonads, lungs, adrenals, and brain.

It is said it may cause labored breathing, incoordination, and muscle weakness. Along with increased birth defects.

Pyrethrins used in such products Zodiac Spot On Flea & Tick Control, Defend EXspot Treatment and Bio Spot Flea, and Tick Control. All of which contain either one and or both ingredients of Pyriproxyfen /or Permethrin.

Oral Treatments:

Products such as NexGard, Bravecto, and Simparica, medications that kill fleas and that are available by veterinary prescription only.

These drugs interfere with neurons in the brain and eventually kill the insects they work by destroying the insects’ nervous systems.

Once these drugs are in your dog’s system if he has a reaction, you can’t get it out of his system, they have to run their course. So it is something you really want to ask yourself if you really want to it into your dog?

The  FDA has a warning (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) that medications such as Nexgard, Bravecto, Simparica, and Credelio may not just combat infestations of flea or ticks.

They could also possibly be causing muscle tremors, seizures, and ataxia. And possibly other neurological problems in pets including death.

What are some safer, ways to deal with fleas?

All this brings us to the question, what are some safer, ways to deal with fleas and ticks? As leaving them untreated is not an option either.

1.) Start with a bath! It may be old-fashioned but it works. Use this homemade dog shampoo that is made with Dawn dish soap. The Dawn helps with the breaking down of the flea exoskeleton. This is fatal for the little pains in the butt but harmless to your dog.

You do want to make sure you avoid getting it into your pet’s eyes. Using your fingers work up a good lather, so you don’t miss any hiding fleas.

2.) Once your dog’s hair has dried, use a flea comb to comb the coat. To catch any dead fleas and stragglers left on your dog’s body. Do this about once a week.

Flea Treatments In The Home:

But the flea battle doesn’t end with your pet. There are some things you need to do inside the home or kennel too.

1.) Machine wash everything you can dog bedding, pillows, washable dog toys in short all the stuff your dog spends time on. If these things can go in the dryer, even better! Dry them for about 20 minutes on hot to kill eggs, adult fleas, and larvae.

2.) Vacuum at least: every other day. Make sure you get ALL carpet vacuumed. After you have finished vacuuming, one of the most important steps is to MAKE SURE to empty the bag or canister right away. Meaning take it out of the home and not just toss it in the trash. If you leave it, all those fleas you picked up will crawl right back out again.

3.) At least once a month spread food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) all over your carpets and leave it for 48 hours or you can also use baking soda or even coarse salt. Any of these will dry out the flea eggs and kill them. After 48 hours vacuum well.

4.) Using a steam cleaner once a month or every other month on carpet and furniture has also been proven helpful.

5.) Use flea traps in the home to help get things under control if you have an infestation. The fleas are attracted to the heat of the light then get stuck on the sticky tape under the light.

Depending on the one you can if it has a plastic solid bottom you can use a thick mixture of Dawn and water to replace the sticky tape. They get stick in the liquidy mix just as well.

Don’t overlook the outside of your home:

Cut the grass and trim overgrown bushes and hedges. That way there will be less places the fleas can hide. Make sure to remove twigs and dead leaves from under the bushers and in and around the flower beds.

Think about planting a few plants that repel fleas. Such as peppermint, lemongrass,  rosemary, and sage. They all have natural oils that will help repel fleas. These herbs also make effective sprays for replying fleas from pets and bedding.

Cedar Chips used inside dog pillows are also excellent flea deterrents, just remember to freshen them up every couple of weeks.

Note: I have done my best research on the studies of flea treatments, however, I am not a medical professional nor a scientist. So please do your own research before making your choice.

Dog on grass scratching ear needing flea treatments

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