In a previous post, I went over the full flea destroying plan that I used and that worked, but I think a more detailed review on the oral flea preventative is merited as these are the new generation miracle in flea prevention. They also avoid the whole issue of skin irritation as I mentioned in my previous post on spot-on treatments.
I just heard about Comfortis this year from a lady who shows Papillons. She swore by it, so I did try it, and the results were pretty impressive.
My Papillon Riyo does suffer from flea allergies and will begin to scratch incessantly at even the suggestion of a flea. The other Papillon is not nearly as sensitive, but will of course also scratch.
My description of how Comfortis worked. Scratch scratch scratch….etc etc. Give both Papillons one Comfortis tablet with food. 30 minutes later….SILENCE SILENCE SILENCE. It was incredible.
The only downside to Comfortis is its cost. At $100 for 6 tablets, it can be hard on the budget. After doing a bit more research, I did find another oral tablet that was suggested to use in conjunction with the heartworm preventative Sentinel. Sentinel actually does work for heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and sterilizes flea eggs. So also a great product, and the only one Riyo doesn’t throw back up.
Capstar cost is a much lower $30 per 6 tablets, though it does appear to be a slightly stronger active ingredient. I am a bit nervous to try on the Papillons first, so I have ordered for the larger two dogs instead of the topicals.
UPDATE: Capstar IS fine to use on Papillons. Also, it lasts 24 hours so it is best to use with one of these types of heartworm preventative that also worms and neuters fleas such as Sentinel or Program.
Today I applied my last dose of Frontline on my large mixbreed dog Carmina. I had already stopped using it on my Papillons because one, it did not work, two I was concerned about skin irritation. After today, however, I will never apply spot-on treatments on ANY of them again. Contrary to the instructions, I opened the Frontline packaging by making a slit with a pair of scissors. I didn’t notice that I had accidentally cut the dosage packaging itself. As I applied it to my dog, some of the medication leaked out onto my index finger. I thought nothing of it at the time, then about half an hour later, my finger started burning and itching, and I started to not feel so well. I still do not feel so well and my finger is burning like a chemical burn.
It took me a minute to figure out what was going on, then I remembered having to wash off the liquid from that same area on my hand. All I could think was, I can’t believe I’ve been putting this stuff on my poor dogs! Those poor Papillons especially with their sensitive skin must have been miserable. It hurts and it makes you feel like crap. So, as a result of inadvertent testing on humans, topicals are out.
I did some further research on topicals and found that the EPA is closely monitoring spot on treatments because of numerous reported incidents. You can read the full EPA article here.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing a series of actions to increase the safety of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for cats and dogs. Immediately, EPA will begin reviewing labels and determining which ones need stronger and clearer labeling statements. EPA will also develop more stringent testing and evaluation requirements for both existing and new products. EPA expects these steps will help prevent adverse reactions from pet spot-on products.”
There have also been problems with counterfeited Frontline and Advantage medication earlier this year. Click here for the full EPA warnings.
At last, it seems I have gotten the upper hand in my battle against the fleas and my little Papillon’s hair is growing back! I have a full multi-front attack that has worked! Controlling fleas when you have multiple dogs is a challenge, but this method has worked for my sensitive Papillons as well as my German Shepherd. If you feel like you are losing the battle against the fleas, and the topicals like Frontline don’t seem to work, here are conventional and natural flea solutions that worked!
Step 1: Although I dislike using chemicals, if the fleas have gotten a real hold on your house and yard, you’ll probably need to exterminate to regain control. Use a mix of a flea killer like Permethrin to kill the existing fleas, and an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). The IGR is important because without it, you’ll end up with another load of fleas when the eggs hatch. The way IGR’s work is they prevent insects from reaching adulthood, or reproductive age. Flea eggs exposed to IGR will not make it to reproduce. Treat your house and yard with this mix. WARNING: SOME DOGS AND MANY CATS ARE ALLERGIC TO PERMETHERINS!
Step 2: Use Comfortis, the new chewable flea tablet. The beauty of Comfortis is that first, it really works, and second, it doesn’t wash off, cause greasy spots or skin irritation. The reason you need to continue treating your pet is because once you take care of the main problem with the extermination, you still need to make sure any new fleas that slipped through the cracks or migrated over are still taken care of. One flea can produce up to 50 eggs a day, so without continuing the program you could easily be back where you were!
Step3: In order to keep fleas at bay and reduce the number that come back into your house, treat your dog with natural topical solutions that discourage fleas from wanting to hitch-hike back to your house. I spray down my dogs with a natural flea repellent when we go out and put a few drops of natural neem solution between their shoulders once a week. It’s kind of similar to the garlic effect, but smells a lot better. To keep the yard and house inhospitable to unwelcome fleas, try a natural cedar spray and/or diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is actually very effective in killing pests while the cedar is a great repellent.
In order to prevent having to use the chemical pesticides again, keep up the natural solutions regularly so the fleas never again get a hold of your house. If you don’t have that much of a problem, you can try the organic, natural solutions first to see if you can take care of the problem that way. These natural solutions do well against a lot of other nasty creepy crawlies like roaches too!
As far as efficacy, none of the topical treatments seem to be doing so well this year, but unfortunately Adams Spot On topical does not mix with Papillon hair. I will assume that it will be the same with other silky haired dogs as well. For price, it is really inexpensive. I decided to give it a shot because these medications can put a serious hurt on your pocketbook, so I was hoping this Adams at $12.95 for 3 treatments at WalMart would do the trick. While I can’t speak much to how effective it is in comparison to other topicals since none of them have done well this year, it absolutely kills a Papillon’s coat.
While all the topical solutions leaves some greasiness on the fur, the Adams topical turned half my Papillons’ backs into a nasty, greasy mess. What worried me further is that is spread so far down the fur, they dogs can actually end up licking it. You put the solution between the shoulder blades so it is out of licking distance, but this topical soaks through the hair so badly it goes at least half way down the shoulder. I had to wash it out as it worried me they would ingest too much of it orally.
Also, it seems to be irritating their skin, so you trade a flea irritation for skin irritation. I wasn’t going to leave it on any long for fear of really causing more skin problems and/or coat loss. So word of caution if your dog has sensitive skin.
Maybe this Adams Spot On would work ok on shorter haired dogs, but I’m really not going to buy it again. I haven’t shelled out for the Comfortis yet, but I will. And for topicals, stick with Advantage!
Adams Spot on for Toy Dogs
Rating: TWO PAWS DOWN from the Papillons, and no paw vote from the big dogs since they didn’t try it.
I got this response to my first blog post/call for help from Riyo and Darcy’s first mom I will go look for this stuff and try it out! Also was told by another Papillon expert to try something called Comfortis.:
Use a yard and house spray with IGR in it. Will be more expensive, but has a chemical in it that basically neuters fleas. Most sprays etc…only kill the adult fleas leaving the eggs, and other stages to hatch out and form into adults only to carry on the problem. IGR is an insect growth regulator that neuters them when they come into contact with it so the ones that continue to hatch out even after spraying will not be able to reproduce thus putting a kink in their life cycle. It may not totally stop the problem, but the IGR usually lasts for a while. Also, spray in the evening time near as sunset as possible. Sunlight breaks down the poisons and makes it not last as long and be less effective. Giving all night to begin killing is best. You should also repeat the treatment in 7 days with most sprays.
Yes, fleas are showing signs of getting immune to things that have been on the market for a while. That’s why we are always waiting for the next big break through product. Treating the dogs and the yard is the best you can do. Just be sure to be careful when looking into those newer products that claim to do multiple things all in one such as fleas, worms etc…They are often too harsh for toy dogs and cause an array of reactions from neurological to even death in some cases. I have also stuck with Advantage more than frontline as I know more dogs that have had issues with frontline from irritated skin to coat loss.
This is the first time I feel like I am losing the battle against the fleas since the advent of topical flea prevention. All of a sudden this year, Frontline may as well be motor oil. It’s just not working!!! Last year, I switched off my usual products to FrontlinePlus and Heartgard. I was using Sentinel/Advantix for the Papillons and then Revolution on Carmina. Lizzie has just been on Frontline and Heartguard since I got her. I don’t know if this is a product issue or if fleas have just gotten tough in general, but the FronilinePlus seems to be doing very little to help.
About a month ago, Riyo started scratching like crazy. Next thing I know, he’s chewed and scratched off half his hair and lost a good portion of his ear fringe. He looks pathetically reminiscent of a plucked chicken. Not a good look for a Papillon. I thought it was fleas so I kept bathing and treating the dogs with the Frontline every two weeks. NO help. He was still scratching like crazy. I got worried that maybe it was something other than fleas, so I took him to the vet. Diagnosis, flea allergy and resulting tapeworms! The vet says if he gets one flea on him, he’s so sensitive that he will scratch and bite till he gets it off. What goes with that is he gets tapeworms, which I’ve treated him for twice in the last two months. They also said that it is essential to exterminate in addition to the topicals because once the fleas get a hold in an area, they just take over despite the topicals.
Following vet instructions, I went to the local chemical store and consulted with them on what to get to spray both the house and yard. They recommended Permetherin. I then got a sprayer, mixed it up and went through and sprayed the house and the whole yard. I really hate messing with insecticides; it makes me feel like I’m giving myself cancer and killing fish all in one toxic swoop. But I hate fleas worse, so I did it.
One week later, SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH!!!!!!!!!! AAARRRGGG!!!!!! I’ve bathed, I’ve Frontlined, I’ve Advantaged, I’ve Adams’d, i’ve Permetherined…..what more must I do to beat these darn FLEAS!!!
I am going back to Advantix. It does better on the Papillons’ fine coats and it can’t do any worse that Frontline.