California veterinary dermatologist Dr. Nicole Eckholm sees flea-allergic dogs (and cats) all the time in her practice. She gives us the expert advice on how to deal with these pests.
We all know we should be giving our dogs flea prevention every month like clockwork, but some pet parents are skipping the meds. While that’s okay in the dead of winter in places like Chicago or Denver, those of us living in more mild climates need to be giving flea meds year-round.
“Fleas are present all year in those milder climates,” Dr. Eckholm explains. But with so many options on the market, which is the right choice for your dog? First, there are a number of topical treatments you squeeze onto your dog’s coat:
- Frontline Plus
- K9 Advantix II
- Advantage II
- PetArmor (Generic to Frontline)
There are also oral flea-preventative pills which require a prescription:
It’s important to note, your dog can still have an allergic reaction even if you use flea preventatives.
“Yes, because none of the flea products on the market act as a repellant,” Dr. Eckholm confirms. “You can’t repel the flea, they actually have to come in contact with the dog for the medicines to kill them.”
The biggest difference between all the products is the speed at which they kill flea. “If you’re using an over-the-counter product like Hartz, it will take several days,” Dr. Eckholm points out.
The topical preventative medicines like Frontline and K9 Advantix will take 24 to 48 hours to kill fleas. The oral preventatives work faster, though. “Comfortis will kill fleas faster,” Dr. Eckholm says. “Nexgard is not quite as fast but still a better option than a topical in a flea-allergic dog.” Of course, consult with your veterinarian to see which option is best for your pet.