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Fleas and Safe Flea Product Use
Fleas are everywhere. They can lead to generalized discomfort and itching in dogs, cats, small mammals, and people. More concerning is that they are a major source of tapeworms and other diseases, which can be transmitted to people as well. And certain pets can develop a severe skin condition from the simple presence of fleas or through a disease called flea allergy dermatitis in which your pet is allergic to the saliva of the flea.
Let's be straight. Here are the most important, yet suprisingly overlooked, fact about fleas and your pet's health.
1. You do not want to find a single flea on your pet; ever. If you find just one adult flea in your pets fur, you are really looking at numerous hidden pupae, larva and hundreds of eggs which reside on your pet, in your home's carpeting and yard. It can take several months for one flea egg to grow to the adult stage.
2. We may be treating fleas with topical or oral flea products, but what our goal should be is to prevent the environmental (home/yard) build-up of adults, pupae, larva and eggs **see lifecycle above**. The only way that you can acheive this is by having preventative products on your pet year round!
3. Some people think that certain flea medications do not work. The reason why is because the pupae lifestage of the flea cannot be killed by anything; period. So expect that you'll apply flea medication and occasionally still see an adult flea. These were the pupae fleas that hatched to adults. They will die very soon; but it may take up to 4-8 months for all of the pupae to hatch. This is why every pet should have flea medication on year round; to prevent the build-up of pupae.
4. All of the Four Paws Veterinary Center recommended flea products are practically waterproof. But you need to apply the product according to the labeled instructions. And in general, we recommended you apply the products two days before or after a bath.
5. Not all flea products are equal. Some can be toxic; especially to cats. Flea products are mostly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and not the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So products that are EPA approved are safe for our waterways but maybe not your pet. Read more about this important fact directly from the FDA Site on Consumer Protection.
Avoid all flea products labeled for use in cats if they contain any of the following active or inert ingredients: allethren; cypermethrin; deltamethrin; etofenprox; fenvalerate; fluvalinate; permethrin; phenotherin; pyrethrin; tetrametrin.
Four Paws Veterinary Center recommends Advantage Multi for Cats & K9 Advantix II brand flea products to you dogs and cats. Many other types of flea prevention are potentially toxic to your dog and highly toxic to your cat.