Flea control scenarios – Which best descibes you?

If you’re busy or cashed up, you may just want a quick, hand-fed recommendation of what to use as flea prevention. As no one shoe fits all, here are a few scenarios which may help. Which best describes you?

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I’m an unemployed single mum with 2 kids (Ridgebacks), and lots of friends drop-in with their itchy dogs.

Don’t waste money on Sentinel®: start vacuuming, using borate, cleaning bedding, lounges, rugs, flea combing and maybe apply flea rinse to both dogs, once weekly, if you’re not offended by chemicals.  Tell your friends to hold off bringing their dogs around for a while. Hard-core environmental control will be slower to have an effect, but it’s inexpensive, and it’s attacking that 95% of the population that the rip-off vet products can’t even get to.

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Money is not an issue.  I hate fleas and am willing to spend a couple of hundred, per animal, per year.

The starting foundation stone is Sentinel Spectrum, all year round, for all animals (about $160/year/pet).  This will ensure you never have flea eggs hatching in your home. This product alone may be enough if your pets are antisocial, but if one is flea allergic, or you’re living in the tropics, then use intermittent adulticides over the flea season. This may add the expense of  a spot-on, applied every 2-4 weeks, or Comfortis® monthly for the warmer half of the year.

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My mum died of motor neurone disease. I want to do anything possible to avoid chemical exposure for me, my children, and my pet.

If you wish to avoid chemical exposure to the humans in the house, go for the oral drugs like Comfortis® and Sentinel®. These dont really come into contact with you. Comfortis® would be preferable for social pets, while Sentinel® may be better for home-bodies. Used in combination these 2 products should be sufficient for flea allergic pets.

Tragically, in a way, these products shield you from chemical exposure by out-sourcing it to your pet. While there is little evidence of acute toxicity, the effects of these products in the long term is largely unknown. If you’re concerned with the impact of chemicals on your dog definitely avoid OP’s, synthetic pyrethroids, flea rinses, and Proban®.

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I live in a beach suburb in the tropics. My dogs are socialising all the time and have the sand hosed off after swimming in the ocean every day.

Like the scenario above, oral agents are carried in the bloods and more resistant to the dilutory effects of wetting and sand. A highly social dog, however, may be constantly picking up new hitchhiker fleas and bringing them home, rendering Sentinel® an expensive white elephant. Comfortis® may be a good alternative.

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I live in an apartment and have bought a new kitten from the shelter. She’s going to live entirely indoors.

If no animals have lived in your apartment for over a year, it may be flea free. This offers you a unique opportunity – not unlike quarantine for island-states or your home aquarium. When kitty first arrives, possibly carrying a few adult fleas or eggs, treating her for a 3-12 months may nip a flea colony in the bud, and you may be able to stop flea prevention all together. Or at least until your mother-in-law comes to stay with her Maltese terrier.

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I have just exchanged contracts and am moving into my new home, in far north Queensland, in 2 months.  I could only afford the place because it was occupied by a pet hoarder.  They owned 20 mastiff crosses, which were almost hairless with flea allergy, living indoors on shagpile carpet, and in the yard.

If you’re lucky, and the 2 month period of vacancy is during peak flea season, pupae will be hatching without a host to feed on during the first week of life – there will be famine in the shagpile and lawn.  Better still, if you can intermittently gain access to the house and stomp around, vibrations will trigger hatching and extinguish more of them. If you can afford it, pull up the carpet; it’s like a huge synthetic amazonian landscape specifically designed to nurture and nourish the flea and its babies.

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2 Responses to “Flea control scenarios – Which best descibes you?”

  1. Jessica says:

    I got away with not treating my indoor-only cats for fleas for about 18 months…. until I took one of my cats to the vet for surgery. She stayed there for a full day. By the time I noticed the cats scratching (two weeks later) it was too late and I had a flea infestation so bad that I myself was being bitten! I took care of the infestation by 1) vacuuming regularly, including mattresses and couches 2) soaking all the cat beds in a flea rinse, then washing the beds (to remove as much of the rinse as possible as it’s toxic to cats) and leaving them outside to air for two weeks, 3) applying Advantage fortnightly. I would have also used flea bombs except I have aquariums.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to remind other indoor-only cat owners that if your cat is going to the vet, even for a quick check up, you should apply a flea treatment beforehand as you don’t want to go through what I did.

  2. matt says:

    Flea-free status is a rare thing and should be valued and safeguraded. Taking precautions like avoiding having animals visit, treating for fleas on re-entry, and not handling animals when visiting others, are important quarrantine procedure.

    Capstar would be good in your situation. It works for 6 hours, so can give before leaving home and still effective on return.

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