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Chemical Flea Treatments for Dogs: Are They Safe?

Your dog is a member of your family and you want to keep him healthy and safe at all times. One of the most important things you can do, especially if your dog spends any time outside, is make sure he has some sort of flea and tick treatment to keep him safe from bites. While most flea treatments are rather harmless, there are some that range from ineffective to dangerous.

Store Bought Flea Collars

Back in the day, flea collars were considered a very effective method for keeping fleas away from our pets, but they’ve changed. Today they’re not considered nearly effective and can actually cause skin irritations. The chemicals keep a few fleas at bay, but won’t help in the event of a large flea infestation. Many vets believe that the collars are a) not as effective and b) exposure your pet to chemicals that may prevent him from having a timely treatment in another form if he really needs one. Your best bet is to skip the store-bought collars and opt for something with proven effectiveness.

Capstar Tablets

Another method of treating fleas is a newer product called Capstar. Capstar is a tablet your pet can ingest to rid him of fleas. This tablet works to kill fleas that are currently on and biting him, but will not kill any eggs that exist. Capstar is often used in conjunction with a topical treatment in the case of a severe infestation. Capstar works immediately and will help while the other treatment takes action.

Topical Flea Treatments

The most commonly used flea and tick treatments come in a liquid form and are applied directly to the skin. You’ve probably heard of some of the popular brands, like Advantix, Frontline, and Advantage. The ointment is made for dogs of different sizes and is usually applied to the skin between the shoulder blades, where your dog can’t lick it off before it is absorbed. The chemicals in this treatment are absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream, making him unappealing to fleas. Treatments usually last about one month and then need to be reapplied.

Are These Treatments Safe?

Chemicals are chemicals and should always be approached with caution, just as you would use caution when choosing a medication for yourself. Some treatments, like Frontline, seem to have a better reputation than others.

If you use a chemical treatment, keep a very close eye on your pet. Many will have mild reactions, such as sluggishness for a day or so, after taking a new drug. Some will have severe chemical reactions and allergies and may need immediate veterinary care.

Some medications have a reputation for causing skin irritations, wounds, and dangerous side effects. Talk to your vet and do some research of your own on the different brands before making a final decision. It never hurts to be careful before giving your furry family member something new.

About the Author: Carey Huegel takes special care of her elderly dog. She uses online sites to find medications like Frontline and Deramaxx for her aging pup and makes sure he sees a vet regularly for ongoing care.

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