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249 Waverley Road, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149

Why some flea products don’t work.

Dr. Ashley Lim, Associate Veterinarian

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Is your dog keeping you up at night with his scratching?

Have you seen fleas crawling around your pet’s fur?

First of all, it is important to try and find evidence of fleas to know if flea treatments will have any effect. Fleas are quick, elusive creatures and may not be easy to find especially if you have a cat that grooms fastidiously. Looking for little black specks in your pet’s fur can often be the dead giveaway. These are flea faeces or the digested blood of your beloved pet. Wetting these specks with a wet tissue often turns them red, the colour of blood.

So you’ve diagnosed fleas and you’ve tried “some flea stuff” and found no relief to the endless scratching. What now? Here are some reasons why these products may not work.

  1. Not long-acting enough: Products like flea shampoos will kill adult fleas that are present on the dog during the wash. It has no effect on any new ones jumping on afterwards. Capstar tablets are great at knocking down fleas but only for 24 hours. You will have to give your pet a Capstar tablet once daily for the effect to continue as new fleas can still jump on.
  2. Wrong active ingredient: Some flea products contain flea growth regulators, they don’t kill adults but prevent flea larvae from developing into adults.
  3. Flea Collars: Collars will only stop fleas from biting just around the collar. They can still crawl around other parts of your pet’s body and bite and cause irritation. These only last for a few weeks.

 

Using a long-lasting spot on product like Advantage, Frontline, Revolution and Advocate will kill adult fleas and larvae for 1 month per treatment. These are great for cats as they can be difficult to tablet. The product of choice for dogs is a chewable tablet, Bravecto, which will kill fleas for 3 months. During this time it is important to get rid of fleas in the environment- flea eggs, larvae and pupae are often in the carpet, pet beds and sofas. Vacuum the carpets and wash the bedding and if needed, flea bomb the house.

Fleas can be difficult to control once they are in the environment so it is important to keep your pet on flea prevention all year round. If your pet is still scratching, seek veterinary advice as allergies, infections and other parasites can also cause itching.