Flea Product comparison

Not a victim because I do my research and also talk with the vet. But if you don’t read the labels and get professional advice, I don’t consider you a victim, rather an ill informed consumer.

Okay, I’ve done quite a bit of flea research. The Advantage that the vet prescribed didn’t kill the flees on my mini dashund at all. I talked to the vet and the vet said that it works for up to 30 days and that I might need to apply the spot on treatment more frequently. (this I thought was quite expensive as I was not treating just one dog but 2 dogs and a couple cats – I also thought that it was quite toxic). See my mini daschund has a birth defect, she can’t bit the fleas because she has an overbite that gaps over a quarter of an inch, so I have to keep the fleas in control.

So I looked around online and compared ingredients and effectiveness (this was before I found that Zodiac Fleatrol Spot On treatment was the same as Hartz Control One Spot the only difference in the ingredients was the inert ingredients and the fragrance). What I find is ridiculus is that each company has their own site touting their product as being better than another product that has the same percentage of each active ingredient. How can you do active research when advertizing is false.

K9 Advantix contains permethrins (so does Hartz and Zodiac), and Frontline uses the same insect growth inhibitor Methoprene (as does Harts and Zodiac). I can’t say that I have had any bad sideffects between either Harts Control On Spot or Zodiac Fleatrol Spot On. Some of the other Harts products I find do not work as effectively as the Zodiac products. Most Cat based spot on treatments either contain just the insect growth inhibitor only or just the insecticide only, so far I have only found that Frontline Plus for cats contain both.

To treat a flea infestation you need to understand the Flea life cycle. The flea life cycle is similar to that of a butterfly, you have the egg, then the larvea (caterpilar), then the cocoon, then the adult. What most insecticides kill is the adult and the larvea, what insect growth inhibitors kill is the egg (or more accurately they prevent the larvea from hatching out of the egg by not allowing the larvea in the egg to get an egg tooth to crack out of the shell). The only life cycle stage where it is nearly impossible to kill a flea is in the cocoon stage.

Fleas can be dormant for over 6 months and even longer until the right stimuli makes it a good time to come out of the coccoon. Things that make good stimuli are: humidity levels being above 75% or great, temperature being between 65-90 degrees, movement in a room (especially unoccupied rooms will cause a hatching out of the cocoon). Direct sunlight, temperature above 95degrees, and water (drowning) will kill the larvea, however the egg and cocoon stages are only effected by high tempurature over 95 degrees, and th adult cycle is impervious to all but water and even that they can jump to get away from.

In the life cycle pyramid of flea infestation only 1% of your flea infestation is an adult flea, about 14% of the life cycle is in a cocoon, 35% of the life cycle are larvea, and 50% is eggs. Most flea products target only the adult part of the life cycle (larvea are usually susceptive to the insecticides that kill the adults), some flea products target the adult (+ Larvea) and the egg parts of the cycle, thus leaving the cocoon stage to be in limbo. One way to get rid of the cocoon stage is to vaccuum rugs and wash your pet’s bedding more than twice a week, also getting a carpet and furniture Flea spray (those that have the insecticide and insect growth inhibitor seem to do the best job) and spraying the furniture and rugs once a week, also spray the pet sleeping area as well as along the baseboards where there isn’t carpeting.

Eggs, Larvea and cocoons are not found on the animal, rather they are found in the pet’s bedding, in furniture and in the rugs. Vaccuuming is the best form of flea control after you treat your pet. Put a flea collar in your vacuum bag, or replace you vacuum bag everytime you vacuum, put the bag in a plastic bag and tie it shut tightly and then put it outside in the garbage (cocoons and eggs do not hatch out until it gets warm so if it gets cool outside you don’t have to worry too much about them hatching out before the garbage is picked up).

There are some homeopathic ways to get rid of fleas, lavender oil is a good one (but expensive). You can mix it with water or vegetable oil (not sure of the ratio – most bottles will say what the dilution rate should be), you can even mix it with baby shampoo and wash your dog with it, or spray the oil/water mixture on your dog and rub it in. Another Product that I found in my organic food stores is Cat/Dog, this is a herbal liquid that you put 3-4 drops on their food twice a day and you must do this before the flea season starts and do it all thru the flea season for it to be fully effective. And we should all know about the garlic tablets for your dog – this also repels fleas, the bottle has the direction for how many to give to your dog based on weight.

Any product you give your animals should be researched, and everyone needs to understand what side effects that can occur with the meds or flea control product that you are using. I don’t like advantage because it does a poor Job and while I am willing to pay for my products I am not willing to pay for a product that doesn’t work well. Frontline Plus, Zodiac Fleatrol Spot On. and Hartz Control One Spot all seem to handle things on a pretty good basis but the insect has to bite the pet first for it to work, and the Advantix works without the pet being bitten, but it doesn’t have an insect grown inhibitor. Seeing as the eggs do not remain on the dog but fall to the floor, you can just get a spray for the floor and furniture that has insecticide and growth inhibitor, and that should handle things just fine.

-Connie (owner of a menagerie, dogs, cats and horses – cows maybe next, or chickens haven’t decided – oh forgot the children and my other half who support me in my endeavors with animals) (my vet makes house calls so all my animals get checked out frequently).

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