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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Your Best Defense: Flea Prevention Treatments and How They Work

Flea prevention is important to your pet's health.Fleas are ubiquitous to animals but they don’t have to be a threat to our pets. If you’ve ever experienced a flea infestation or had a pet with parasites, it’s likely you’ll do whatever it takes to avoid going through that again.

However, while fleas are annoying, they can also be dangerous and expose pets and people to a wide range of zoonotic illnesses. Some of these can be devastating, such as cat scratch disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Untreated fleas are also the source of skin problems that can result in infection, hair loss, and more.

Flea prevention is a must to keep your family and furry friends protected, but there are so many products – how do you know which one to choose? Let the team at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic remove the guesswork!

Safe and Effective Options in Flea Prevention

When it comes to flea prevention, we recommended the following based on efficacy and safety, include two different classes of flea products: one which inhibits flea egg development and the other is designed to kill adult fleas.

The egg development inhibitors are kind of like birth control for fleas. They keep the fleas from laying eggs that can hatch and cause an infestation. The other products which target the adult fleas contain pesticides known as isoxazolines. These are a new, highly effective, synthetic chemical pesticide first introduced in 2013 as flea and tick control for dogs. Below are our suggestions for flea medications you use to protect your pets:

  • Sentinel Spectrum This monthly preventive comes in the form of a tasty chewable for dogs. It protects against fleas, heartworms, and other parasitic worms. Active ingredients include milbemycin oxime, lufenuron, praziquantel, and an insect growth regulator that prohibits eggs from hatching.
  • Program Injection (for cats) – Unlike topical and oral meds, Program is a convenient injection that eliminates the difficulties associated with applying or orally ingesting anything. Lasting 6 months, the injection controls fleas by inhibiting egg development using the ingredient lufenuron.
  • Simparica Also for dogs, this flea and tick preventative actively kills fleas (within 3 hours). It eradicates ticks within 8 hours, reducing the risk of transmission. This product comes as a monthly chewable. Its active ingredient is sarolaner.
  • Bravecto (for cats) This flea and tick product is safe for cats and lasts up to 12 weeks per application. The active ingredient is an isoxazoline called fluralaner. The medication is applied topically to the back of the neck between the shoulder blades. This medication can also be used on kittens over 6 months of age.
  • Bravecto (for dogs) – Available in both a topical and chewable form, Bravecto protects against fleas and ticks for up to 12 weeks. This product can be used on puppies 6 months of age or older.
  • NexGard – This flea and tick preventative works to kill flea within 24 hours of administration and ticks within 48 hours. It comes in the form of a monthly flavored chewable tablet and the active ingredient is afoxolaner.
  • NexGard Spectra – This product works just like the classic NexGard but with the added benefit of including a preventative for heartworm and intestinal worms. The additional active ingredient is milbemycin oxime.
  • Credelio – This is the newest flea and tick preventative on the market for dogs. It is a once a month chewable tablet that can be given to puppies and dogs 8 weeks of age and older. The active ingredient in this one is lotilaner.

As with any medication, we strongly advise against buying preventives online without first checking with us. The safety of your pet is our highest priority! Lastly, it’s important to note that you should never use a product formulated for a dog on your cat. Some of the active/inactive ingredients can be toxic to felines. Many products are also based on species and weight/size.

To protect your pet from fleas (and other parasites), it’s important to maintain a regular, year-round parasite prevention plan. If you’d like to discuss which flea prevention treatment is right for your best friend, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!