Dog Flea Control Management: How To Prevent, Treat, And Kill
Dog flea control and management requires an integrated approach. For effective treatment both the host animal and the environment must be treated at the same time. Control of fleas on the pet generally requires the use of insecticides. Although flea combs can remove some fleas, combing should be thought of as a method for detecting fleas rather than removing them.
If an animal is to be treated for other conditions besides fleas, such as expression of anal glands, these procedures should be done before the insecticide application to minimize insecticide contact with interior mucosal membranes.
A wide range of insecticides are available for flea control. The pyrethrins and pyrethroids have the lowest mammalian toxicity. These insecticides come in many formulations including shampoo, dust and powder, mousse, aerosol and non-aerosol mist or spray, dip, spot-on, roll-on and collar. Organophosphate drugs for oral use are available, by prescription from veterinarians.
In addition, some on-animal formulations contain insect growth regulators (IGRs) that kill flea eggs on the animal. *Remember to read all insecticide labels, and to follow all precautions and dose directions.
The insecticides used for flea control vary widely in toxicity and efficacy. Considerations for selecting a formulation include the size, weight and age of the animal, as well as the species.
For example, greyhounds are a very chemical-sensitive breed and are more sensitive to insecticide products than most other dogs. Do not attach flea collars or flea-killing medallions on these dogs. Do not use chlorpyrifos, DDVP, methoxychior or malathion on greyhounds.
Cats are more sensitive to organophosphate insecticides than dogs. In addition, cats groom themselves more than dogs and are more likely to ingest an insecticide by licking the residue from their fur.
Kittens and puppies, because of their smaller size, require a lower dose than adult animals. Young animals may also require treatment with insecticides of lower toxicity than adult animals. Pregnant or nursing animals may be sensitive to certain insecticides.
Several products are available for especially sensitive pets and other situations that require lower risk chemical measures. These include the citrus peel extracts d-limonene and linalool, sorptive dusts such as silica aerogel or diatomaceous earth, the insect growth regulators fenoxycarb or methoprene, and insecticidal soaps.
Theses words may seem foreign to you, but you can always consult a veterinarian if you have questions. They will have accurate information on insecticides and their use for flea control on pet animals. The insecticide label should also contain accurate information on how a particular formulation of an insecticide should and should not be used. *Remember to read these labels before opening the container!
When using insecticides for flea control, remember that the applicator, namely your pet and you can be exposed to the insecticides several times. The label may call for the use of gloves and other protective equipment during application and suggest the pet not be handled with unprotected hands until the treatment dries. All personal protective equipment listed on the label must be worn. As a minimum aspect, chemical-resistant gloves, apron and goggles should be worn while mixing insecticides and during application to prevent insecticide contact with the skin.
The working area should be appropriate for containment of the pesticide and should be resistant to caustic materials. A stainless steel preparation table and stainless steel or ceramic tub are ideal. Also, certain parts of the pet