Fortunately, today there is no excuse for a pet with parasites. There used to be sprays, smelly baths, and dips, but many of these were so toxic that they would do more harm than good. As well they couldn’t be used on cats, young animals and certain breeds without deadly results. Now, luckily, all of this has changed. Safe, effective and easy to use products are now readily available.
To obtain the perfect product what should you be looking for? Certainly it must be effective and safe. In addition, it needs to be easy to use, leave no odor, and should be economical. Also, for those of us who want to be kind to the environment, an earth-friendly product should prevail.
If we begin with the issue of safety, we must address the fact that for years so many of us, unknowingly have been exposing our dear pets (and ourselves) to significant amounts of pesticides. Fortunately, gone are the days of visiting the local feed and garden store for an inexpensive dip that not only smelled but washed off the first time it rained, along with evacuating house and home for a pesticide bomb that unknowingly could easily contaminate more than just your pet’s prey.
For years all of us have been under the same premise that with consistent use of a tick collar, flea powder, and spray we’d finally win the war against these bugs. All of these powerful chemicals and chronic repeated exposure have taken their toll on many pets and humans. Adverse reactions have ranged from skin sensitivities to seizures and death. From these painful experiences we have learned much.
The pet pharmaceutical companies have developed sophisticated, dosage controlled flea, tick and heartworm prevention products, significantly reducing the exposure to animals and humans. Plus, these products are 100% effective, and depending on the situation eradicating your pest problem can be achieved within the first 12-24 hours. What’s more the best part about these products is that they are easy to use and the whole process only takes a few seconds. That is because depending on your product selection you may only have to administer a monthly pill, apply a few drops of solution to your pet’s back, or even just use a collar.
I believe the best product is ultimately a bargain. Over the counter remedies are not my favorite, as many commercially available treatments are more toxic and less effective than prescription products. In the long run paying for a good item up front is more economical than additional visits to the vet or a pet that may get even sicker.
From the vast number of choices on the market, I have narrowed my selection down to six winners; Revolution, Frontline, Advantage, Sentinel, Heartgard, Amitraz (tick collars).
Revolution, in my opinion, is aptly named because its potency spectrum protects against heartworms, fleas, ticks, and practically any other parasite your pet may encounter. It is applied monthly and does not wash off.
Frontline is a great choice for both fleas and ticks. It is effective and has been shown to be far superior for animals that are bathed frequently (or live near water and like to take an occasional swim) because it doesn’t wash off.
Advantage is strictly a flea product and is my first choice for serious flea infestation, and is ideal if your pet is carrying a veritable cloud of bugs around. Advantage reports 100% kill rate in the first 12 hours. In our clinic it is the reigning champion against fleas. A topical liquid that is applied once a month, Advantage is convenient and potent, but must be reapplied after bathing or swimming.
Sentinel is a great product because it combines preventative flea medicine with heart worm control. It is not a repellent but keeps fleas eggs from hatching and thus prevents your home from becoming infested. Sentinel’s armory also battles intestinal worms. This product is one of the pricier ones I recommend (you are paying more for the additives for fleas and worms), but it is well worth the cost. In an area where you don’t have a serious flea infestation but always want something to protect your pets, Sentinel is terrific.
Next on the roster is Heartgard Plus. This product is strictly for heartworms and intestinal worms and ideal for pets that live in high-rise apartment buildings and are unlikely to encounter any flea or tick problems.
Finally, I give my good pet-keeping seal of approval to tick collars that contain Amitraz. These are inexpensive at the most twelve dollars and last for three months which make them well worth the extra effort of having your pet wear one.
All of my dogs, Cody, B.P. and Bubbles wear Amitraz tick collars and are protected by Revolution. I believe that any of the products I have mentioned will get you the results you desire. Consult with your veterinarian to help you choose which one is best for your pet and you. The days of near-lethal fumigations are over, and as a vet, I am relieved.
– Kim Hammond, D.V.M.