Just as any child can come home with head lice, any dog can come home with fleas. Just as you don’t treat your child for head-lice before they have them, we do not treat our dogs for fleas until they have them. Of course this is a personal choice and really depends on the area you live in, the temperatures, and risk of your dog becoming infested. I urge everyone to use the least invasive flea products that fit your needs. If it’s a product killing fleas– remember, it’s a pesticide.
I know that many people including many vets encourage preventative flea treatment products, but why? What is their motivation? Does your dog really need it, or are they trying to make money selling the product?
There are flea products out there right now, being sold in ever vet office I have went in to, that are seriously being looked at for causing dog deaths and severe organ and neurological problems. In fact, there is talk about a class-action lawsuit that may happen soon– and still the products continue to be sold on the market and in vet offices. I would highly encourage everyone to check out the facebook group “Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/411371212394679/
There are over 46,000 members for a reason. Read the heartbreaking stories and make your own informed decision on that and other similar products.
What should you do if your dog does develop fleas?
First, choose a product. Here is a good chart that compares some of the different flea medication options. https://www.healthypets.com/compare.html
We have had good luck with Frontline Plus– but it does not repel fleas, so you may still find fleas on your dog for possibly a month or more. I called the company about this issue and they assured me that the fleas that you do see on your dog will be dead with in 24 hours. If our dogs have fleas we often use this product for 2-3 months in a row just to be safe and to make sure all fleas and eggs in the environment have been killed.
K9 Advantix is probably our favorite choice as it both kills and repels fleas. We still normally treat for 2-3 months consecutively just to make sure all fleas are no longer lingering around the house or yard.
If you choose to use a topical flea product, it is important to NOT WASH YOUR DOG 3 days before or 3 days after application.
Another more holistic way to repel fleas before they get on your dog is with organic apple cider vinegar. It can be used both topically and orally to repel fleas. https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/09/10/apple-cider-vinegar-for-fleas.aspx