Flea Control 2018


Flea Control 2018  - by Sandy Stutz NCMG

Welcome to Southeast Texas! For those of you with pets that are new to the area, you’ll experience almost a full year of warm temperatures. No doubt you’ll enjoy many days in the outdoors w/ your 4-legged friends. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to deal with fleas year round for this very reason. There is no “flea season” in here. You’ll just encounter many more of the little pests in the summer.

Protecting your pet from fleas is an important part in keeping your pet healthy and happy.  Fleas are the most common external parasite found on dogs and cats. Fleas can not only cause your pet to feel uncomfortable, but they can also carry other illnesses or tapeworms.  In addition, if left untreated, a few fleas on your pet can quickly lead to a full-blown infestation in your home. It’s important to realize that the fleas you see on your dog or cat are only a small percent of the entire flea population. Fleas lay eggs that fall off your dog and/or cat into your home or where your pet lives or sleeps. These eggs hatch and become flea larvae that spin cocoons and become pupae. These pupae will eventually develop into pre-emerged adult fleas and remain in their cocoons until stimulated to emerge by the presence of a host. Only 5% of the flea population exists as adult fleas; the remainder is immature flea stages that are too small for you to see. Flea eggs make up 50%, while flea larvae make up 35% and pupae 10%.

Pet Parents have been asking me for over three decades, “What can I do about fleas?” I’ve written this article as a response to those folks that want a variety of options to choose from. This list of products and techniques are the most effective, in my opinion. This list has been compiled from my years of experience and combined with the latest information pulled directly from the manufacturers of the products themselves. I’ve divided the information into categories of most effective products (for use on your dog, your cat, in the home and on the yard, and you- the human), types of products (pharmaceutical pill, all natural repellent), flea management techniques, and then listed information to help you, the consumer, make the best choice given your lifestyle and personal views. There are a plethora of products not listed here. If a product is brand new on the market, if I don’t have enough information on it or I found it to be ineffective, I left it off. (I no longer recommend spot-on products for example as there are many other products that are safer and more effective currently on the market.) Expect that this article will change as new information reaches me. I am always trying new products and I plan on keeping this information as up-to-date as possible. Feel free to give me feedback on how these or other products have worked for you.

A word about “chemical”, “all natural” and “mechanical” flea control. Fleas reproduce rapidly in Southeast Texas and become immune to some chemical products before we do. After several years, I find that a chemical that used to work well on fleas may not be as effective after a period of time. These products, used improperly, can cause health risks to humans and pets. Fleas can not become immune to products that work “mechanically” (more on this later),  and while these products tend to be safer for mammals, they kill fleas very slowly. If you choose to go the “all natural” route, keep in mind that this is often considered “pest management” and be prepared to work at it. Flea repellent products are not going to be effective for the person that doesn’t want to actively reapply product. If you have a super busy lifestyle, be honest with yourself, “all natural” may not be for you. 

Products to Use on Your Dog

Capstar

What it is: Capstar (nitenpyram) is an orally administered tablet that provides fast flea relief. In fact, Capstar starts working within 30 minutes. A single dose of CAPSTAR should kill the adult fleas on your pet. If your pet gets reinfested, it is safe to give another dose as often as once per day. You will literally see fleas falling off your pet.

How it works: Capstar works by circulating in the bloodstream (flea food) of your pet. Within 30 minutes of feeding your pet a tablet (I like to use peanut butter) any fleas that bite your pet will die.

Pros: Very effective. Can be used on cats, dogs, puppies and kittens over four weeks of age. Is only in the bloodstream for 24 hours. Can be used on an “as needed” basis. Can be used with flea repellents and (according to Cindy, one of the Capstar consultants at Novartis) can be used safely with Frontline. No need to isolate pet after administering the product. No staining residue. Will not wash off. Not dangerous to humans.

Cons: The flea must bite the pet in order to die. Does not repel fleas.

Recommend: For use when you see fleas on your pet. Also comes in handy before visiting a place known to have fleas (example: the dog park or a walk on the bayou) to help prevent bringing fleas home. Can be used as a complement to your “all natural” flea repellent routine. (NOTE: If you are using Sentinel or Program then you must use Capstar to kill fleas when you see them. Sentinel and Program prevent fleas from maturing and are also made by Novartis to be used with Capstar. Neither Sentinel or Program kill fleas!)

Where can I buy it? Some veterinarians carry this product. Call first.


NexGard

What it is: NexGard (afoxolamer) is an orally administered beef flavored tablet that provides relief from fleas. It is the only tablet currently on the market that has also been proven to kill ticks.

How it works: NexGard works by circulating in the bloodstream (flea food) of your pet. Manufactured in Brazil and marketed by Frontline Vet Labs, the active ingredient in this product effects fleas and ticks in much the same way as Frontline (fipronil). Once NexGard is in the bloodstream of a dog, any flea or tick that bites that animal will get a dose of the active ingredient. This ingredient causes the parasite to become "hyper-excited" (according to the manufacturer) and die of exhaustion. One dose is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last for 30 days.

Pros: Very effective. The only flea control tablet that also kills ticks! Can be used safely with Frontline if you want a product that also kills mites. (NexGard has not been tested for mites and although it may work, in theory, 2 of the representatives I spoke to did not recommend it for that purpose.) Very few possible side effects (which may include decreased appetite and dry skin). No need to isolate pet after administering the product. No staining residue. Will not wash off. Not dangerous to humans.

Cons: The flea must bite the pet in order to die. Does not repel fleas. Can not be given to cats.

Recommend: This is an excellent product for individuals that do not have time to pursue an herbal repellent program, but want a product that is safe for their family. Also, since this product is manufactured by the same company that makes HeartGard (for heartworms) and Frontline (for fleas, ticks and mites) it can be used safely with those products. Also, this tablet is flavored, so if your dog will eat HeartGard s/he will probably eat this product without any fuss.

Where can I buy it? Many veterinarians carry this product. Call first.



Comfortis

What it is: Comfortis (spinosad) is another orally administered tablet that provides fast flea relief. Spinosad, the active ingredient in Comfortis, belongs to a class of antiparasitics known as spiosyns, which are derived from a naturally-occurring soil microbe. It works by attacking the nervous system of adult fleas. A single dose of Comfortis will kill every adult flea that bites your pet before they can lay eggs.

How it works: Administer Comfortis with food for maximum effectiveness. Comfortis stores in the fat cells of your pet for approximately 30 days. Within 30 minutes of feeding your pet a tablet any fleas that bite your pet will die. For best results, administer every 30 days without interruption.

Pros: Very effective. Can be used on dogs and puppies over fourteen weeks of age. No need to isolate pet after administering the product. No staining residue. Will not wash off. Not dangerous to humans.

Cons: The flea must bite the pet in order to die. Does not repel fleas. Can not be given to cats. Consult your veterinarian if your dog has had seizures. Comfortis may not be appropriate for 
every dog.

Recommend: This is an excellent product for individuals that do not have time to pursue an herbal repellent program, but want a product that is safe for their family.

Where can I buy it? Many veterinarians carry this product. Call first.



Nature's Protection Herbal Shampoo

What it is: Nature's Protection's Herbal Shampoo is a natural flea and tick shampoo for dogs.  

How it works: Shake well before use. Wet the animal thoroughly and apply shampoo. Massage in well. Allow 5 minutes contact time and rinse completely. The natural combination of Cedar Oil and Peppermint repels fleas and ticks.

Pros: Cleans well and leaves a nice herbal aroma. I have found in my experience that this product will kill fleas if worked into the coat properly and left on for a full 5 minutes.

Cons: The flea repelling aroma only lasts a couple of days and should be used with the Nature's Protection Herbal Bug Spray as part of your flea repellent program. Use with conditioners or colognes will diminish the flea repellent qualities.

Recommend: Use weekly during warm months or as needed during the rest of the year and when fleas are seen on the pet. Nature's Protection Herbal Shampoo and Nature's Protection Herbal Bug Spray work together synergistically for extra support.

Where can I buy it?  Pet Product Delivery.com carries Nature's Protection Herbal Shampoo.



NaturVet Herbal Flea Spray

What it is: A natural combination of Rosemary and Cedar Oil which helps to repel fleas and flies while deodorizing with a fresh herbal fragrance.

How it works: Fleas have pores which they breath through across their bodies. Contact with certain aromatic substances causes these pores to close. In effect, the flea is repelled or it suffocates. Misting the pet’s entire body with this product repels the flea.

Pros: Daily use of this product will help prevent fleas from jumping on and biting your pet. No known health risks to humans. Safe for the environment. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Can be used safely with spot-on products and Capstar. Can also be used as a repellent on pet bedding. Smells wonderful!

Cons: In order for this product to be effective, it should be used each time before the pet leaves the house which translates to a lot of work. Pets with contact allergies can have reactions to aromatic oils and lanolin (one of the inert ingredients). When used regularly, it makes pets with long, fine hair look greasy. Not practical for use on cats.

Recommend: Use each time the pet goes outdoors for best results. This is a great way to control fleas if used with other “Earth Friendly” techniques in the home and in the yard. NaturVet Herbal Flea Powder, and NaturVet Herbal Flea Spray work together synergistically for extra support.

Where can I buy it?  Pet Product Delivery.com carries NaturVet Herbal Flea Spray.


Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collar

What it is: A disposable, adjustable nylon collar embedded with essential oils to repel fleas and ticks. 

How it works: Like all herbal repellent products, it works by making the environment uninhabitable for pests. Aromatic oils cause the pores that fleas and ticks breathe through to close.

Pros: Safe for all dogs and cats over 4 months of age. Safe for humans and the environment. A compliment to your herbal repellent routine. Cruelty free. Pleasant aroma.

Cons: This is not a replacement for the rest of your herbal repellent routine. Does not kill fleas. While we may enjoy the aroma, your pet may not. An animal's sense of smell is much stronger than our own.

Recommend: Let's face it, most flea collars contain chemicals that are not healthy for humans, cats or dogs AND they are completely ineffective when it comes to killing fleas. Still, some people continue to buy them. Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collars are a nice alternative to toxic chemical flea collars and since they work mechanically, fleas can not become immune to them. Use as part of your herbal repellent routine, not as a replacement. For best results use with Nature's Protection Herbal Shampoo and Nature's Protection Herbal Bug Spray.

Where can I buy it? PetProductDelivery.com carries Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collars.



Products to Use on Your Cat

Capstar

What it is: Capstar (nitenpyram) is an orally administered tablet that provides fast flea relief. In fact, CAPSTAR starts working within 30 minutes. A single dose of CAPSTAR should kill the adult fleas on your pet. If your pet get reinfested, it is safe to give another dose as often as once per day. You will literally see fleas falling off your pet.

How it works: Capstar works by circulating in the bloodstream (flea food) of your pet. Within 30 minutes of feeding your pet a tablet any fleas that bite your pet will die.

Pros: Very effective. Can be used on cats, dogs, puppies and kittens over four weeks of age. Is only in the bloodstream for 24 hours. Can be used on an “as needed” basis. Can be used with flea repellants and (according to Cindy, one of the Capstar consultants at Novartis) can be used safely with Frontline.

Cons: The flea must bite the pet in order to die. Does not repel fleas.

Recommend: For use when you see fleas on your pet. Also comes in handy before visiting a friend or relative that may have fleas to help prevent bringing fleas home. (NOTE: If you are using Sentinel or Program then you must use Capstar to kill fleas when you see them. Sentinel and Program prevent fleas from maturing and are also made by Novartis to be used withCapstar. Neither Sentinel or Program kill fleas!)

Where can I buy it?  Some veterinarians carry this product. Call first.
Revolution

What it is: Revolution (selamectin) is the simple way to protect your cat from heartworms, fleas and other harmful parasites. Revolution is a systemically acting, broad-spectrum parasiticide that has a well defined safety profile combined with excellent efficacy to help protect your cat against a wide variety of parasites.

How it works: Revolution enters the bloodstream through the skin. Concentrations of Revolution in the blood and tissues prevent heartworm disease and prevent and treat roundworm and hookworm infections. Revolution selectively redistributes from the blood to the skin and other tissues, where it provides protection against fleas, flea eggs, and ear mites.

Pros: The only spot-on product found to be nonmammal toxic. Lasts 30 days. Easy to use. In addition to fleas, it also protects against heartworms, ear mites and other parasites. I have never seen a cat on this product with fleas. (I do not find the Revolution made for dogs as effective against fleas and have met some vets that only carry this product for cats for the same reason.)

Cons: Approximately 1% of cats experienced temporary hair loss at the application site.

Recommend: For use on all cats. (Do not use in sick, weak or underweight animals.)

Where can I buy it? Some veterinary clinics carry this product. Call first.


Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collar

What it is: A disposable, adjustable nylon collar embedded with essential oils to repel fleas and 
ticks. 

How it works: Like all herbal repellent products, it works by making the environment uninhabitable for pests. Aromatic oils cause the pores that fleas and ticks breathe through to close.

Pros: Safe for all dogs and cats over 4 months of age. Safe for humans and the environment. A compliment to your herbal repellent routine. Cruelty free. Pleasant aroma. Can be used safely with Capstar.

Cons: This is not a replacement for the rest of your herbal repellent routine. Does not kill fleas. While we may enjoy the aroma, your pet may not. An animal's sense of smell is much stronger than our own.

Recommend: Let's face it, most flea collars contain chemicals that are not healthy for humans, cats or dogs AND they are completely ineffective when it comes to killing fleas. Still, people continue to buy them. Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collars are a nice alternative to toxic chemical flea collars and since they work mechanically, fleas can not become immune to them. Use as part of your herbal repellent routine, not as a replacement. 

Where can I buy it? PetProductDelivery.com carries Nature's Protection Herbal Flea and Tick Collars.


Products to Use on Your Lawn

Diatomaceous Earth

What it is: Diatomaceous earth is a remarkable, all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. The diatoms are mined and ground up to render a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder to us. It is a mineral based pesticide. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural compound. However, the continual breathing of any dust should he absolutely avoided.

How it works: By removing their outer waxy covering, Diatomaceous Earth kills insects mechanically, causing dehydration. Insects cannot become immune to this long lasting, odorless powder. Apply liberally on your lawn. Reapply after it rains, but when the ground is dry.

Pros: Completely nontoxic. It is safe enough for your pet to injest. It absolutely will kills fleas.

Cons: Like all dust, could cause eye and lung irritation. Takes 12- 36 hours to kill fleas. Not effective in a damp environment. After rain, it can not be reapplied until the ground is completely dry.

Recommend: If you are not yet infested w/ fleas. The best defense is a good offense. Can also be used in the home, but not recommended for floors, especially carpet because I have found that it sometimes stains (see NaturVet No Flea Carpet Crystals). Safe to use on pets, but makes a big mess, makes the hair look terrible and could irritate eyes (other products are better on the pet). Use only when the ground is dry. 
Where can I buy it?  Most lawn and garden stores carry this product.



NaturVet Yard Odor Killer Plus Citronella

What it is:  Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride (disinfectant pesticide) and Citronella Oil (insect repellent).

How it works: Connect to a garden hose and spray on any outdoor surface.

Pros: I found this product to be absolutely 100% effective at repelling fleas. ELIMINATES ODORS IMMEDIATELY. 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Cons: The first ingredient in this product is listed on several websites as mildly toxic to the environment. I was disturbed to find that not only did it repel fleas, but everything else in the yard. Lizards literally leapt through the fence to get away!

Recommend: This is a great product if you already have a flea infestation and also have a problem with urine and fecal odor in the yard. Use weekly during warm months and after a heavy rain.

Where can I buy it?  Most lawn and garden stores carry NaturVet Yard Odor Killer Plus Citronella.