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Unfortunately, fleas and ticks do not go on vacation in the Bay Area and, even in harsh weather conditions, they can still be a year-round nuisance. Even indoor-only pets can get fleas and have an outbreak! Happily, the days of flea dips and harsh shampoos are behind us, as we now have a variety of safe, effective products to control fleas. Keeping fleas and ticks off your pet not only keeps them more comfortable, but also prevents transmission of several diseases carried by these itchy and disgusting little parasites. Below is a summary of some of the products we carry and highly recommend at Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic.
Trifexis (spinosad + milbemycin oxime) is a flavored oral tablet given once monthly to prevent fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm. It is dosed by weight and is safe to be given to puppies 8 weeks of age and older and 5 pounds of body weight and up. The most common side effect is vomiting. It helps to give half of a tablet in the morning with food and the second half in the evening with food. If your dog vomits within 1 hour of administration it is recommended to wait 24 hours then redose your pet. If your dog continues to vomit or if any other side effects occur, Trifexis may not be the right product for your pet.
Bravecto (fluralaner) is a chewable tablet given once every 12 weeks (3 months) to prevent flea and tick infestations. It is dosed by weight and is safe to be given to puppies 6 months of age and older and 4.4 pounds of body weight and up. Bravecto should be administered with food. Treatment with Bravecto may begin at any time of the year and can continue year round without interruption.
NexGard (afoxolaner) is a beef-flavored chewable tablet given once a month to prevent flea and tick infestations. It is dosed by weight and is safe to be given to puppies 8 weeks of age and older and 4 pounds of body weight and up. **
Neither Bravecto and NexGard provide heartworm prevention nor protection against intestinal parasites. Heartworm preventative should be added if either of these products is used for flea & tick control.
Advantage (imidacloprid) is a topical flea adulticide (killer of adult fleas) that is applied once every month and is safe for use in puppies as young as 7 weeks and kittens as young as 8 weeks. After Advantage is applied, it distributes itself through the coat and wicks up into the hairs, so that a flea on the coat absorbs the product by rubbing against the hairs. The flea does not need to bite your pet for Advantage to work. If your pet is not exposed to ticks, this is a good choice.
Frontline (fipronil) is another topical flea adulticide, which works like Advantage but has the added feature of killing ticks that come in contact with your pet’s hair, before they bite your pet. Frontline is also waterproof. Frontline Plus has an additional ingredient that prevents flea eggs from hatching. Like Advantage, Frontline must be applied once per month, and is safe in puppies and kittens as young as 8 weeks. If your pet might be exposed to ticks or is an avid swimmer, Frontline may be the choice for you. There is only one “cat” dose, so it is easy to share among multiple cats.
The use of over the counter preventatives bought at pet stores and online can potentially be more harmful to your pet then helpful. We base our recommendations on the companies who make the products and the level of research that has been put into the product. Even recommended products that are bought from non-veterinary sources, which are unauthorized dealers, are not guaranteed to be effective due to inappropriate storage, handling, and counterfeit product flooding the “grey” market for these products. We do not recommend using over the counter flea and tick products. If you have noticed fleas or ‘flea dirt’ on your pet, let your veterinarian know so they can offer helpful tips on how to treat your pet and environment to get rid of the fleas.
For more information, please feel free to call Pet's Friend Animal Clinic about any questions or concerns you may have at 408-739-2688.