This is a topic that I or my staff have to discuss multiple times per day. The severity of fleas varies around the country, and the further southeast you go, the worse it gets. It's a daily occurrence to have a client say that a certain flea product isn't working. The large majority of the time, this isn't the case. Most of the time the client isn't doing something appropriately or doesn't realize something about fleas. So today's entry is going to try and educate you about this topic.
1. All flea products that you purchase from a vet work well. All of them work MUCH better than any of the store-bought products. The main ingredient in Advantage and K9 Advantix has been investigated , and no fleas are resistant to it. None of the other products have been specifically studied, but there has been no direct evidence that fleas are resistant to any veterinary-carried products.
2. Fleas have to jump on the pet in order to die. All of the topical flea products require this. So this means that you may still see fleas on your pet. We get lots of calls from a client who uses a single dose, still sees, fleas, and thinks it didn't work. Please understand that none of these products repel fleas. The fleas have to jump on the pet and contact the skin in order to be killed.
3. You have to use the products consistently. Regardless of which product is used, a single dose will NOT control fleas. You have to use them for months, especially if you wait until you see fleas to use it.
4. The topical flea products are carried in the oil layer of a pet's skin. If you use most shampoos or bathe frequently, you are washing this layer off, and therefore making the product less effective. You need to avoid bathing frequently, and use a soapless or soap-free shampoo (look on the label).
5. You have to treat the environment! Fleas are only on the pet long enough to feed, and spend most of their life in the carpet, furniture, and yard. If you aren't treating the environment, you're not controlling the problem effectively.
6. You have to use flea products on every dog and cat in the household. Only treating some will not fix a problem, as the fleas will feed off the unprotected pets. You should also consider treating any rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. The small cat size of Advantage has been shown to be safe on these kinds of pets.
7. Start using the products BEFORE you see fleas, and use it consistently as a preventative. By the time you see fleas, you're fighting a loosing battle.
Treating fleas can be a complicated issue, and it's rarely as simple as putting a one-time dose of any product on a pet.