How Do Flea Drops Work?
Topical flea drops (such as Frontline Gold) penetrate your pet’s skin and are then distributed throughout their oil glands to circulate, killing fleas as it reaches them.
Fipronil, the main ingredient of many of these drops, works to disrupt flea and tick nervous systems and kill them off quickly and humanely. Some may contain insect growth regulators to stop reproduction and break the flea lifecycle cycle.
Spot-on treatments of various chemicals are used to kill fleas and ticks. Some work by interfering with the natural flow of impulses through pests’ nervous systems, thereby eventually shutting down their organs and killing them; other chemicals work by repelling fleas from pets’ fur, making it harder for them to bite; still others kill both adult fleas as well as eggs.
Every chemical has different properties, making it essential to read and select one appropriate to your situation.
Fipronil-based solutions work by targeting fleas and ticks by disrupting their nervous systems, paralyzing them so that they cannot feed off of your pet or survive on his or her skin – usually within 24 hours of treatment. Furthermore, this type of product kills fleas and ticks on your pet at the time of application to give instantaneous relief.
Nitenpyram-based solutions also kill fleas by interfering with their nervous systems, starting to work within 30 minutes to eliminate fleas from your pet before they have time to bite and cause complications. While these short-term measures won’t have long-term effect, they’re great at quickly eliminating fleas and ticks for quick relief.
Pyrethrins and other plant-derived chemicals can also help repel fleas and ticks by blocking oxygen uptake by insects’ cells, thus killing them off. Other plant-derived chemicals, like rotenone and d-limonene work similarly but have the additional advantage of being relatively nontoxic to humans and other animals.
Some natural insecticides developed using ingredients such as tree rosin, wintergreen oil, and resinous oils from conifers have proven highly effective against both adult fleas and their eggs. These substances work by entering through thin sections of an insect’s exoskeleton.
As with all products, it is vital that you adhere to the instructions on their labels and only administer spot-on treatments as directed. Otherwise, your pets could overdose and experience adverse side effects.
Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)
Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) work by interfering with the flea’s lifecycle during its larval stage. While IGRs don’t kill fleas directly, they prevent them from maturing into adults and reproducing and spreading disease – reducing infestations of ticks, houseflies and cockroaches in addition to fleas.
IGRs work by mimicking a hormone produced by insects in order to develop into adults, thus keeping levels high enough that fleas cannot move on into pupal stage and reach reproductive age, thus preventing their creation of new fleas.
These chemicals can be used either alone or as part of a wider treatment plan, alongside products like topical medications and adulticides, to provide effective IGR use. Timing is key when using IGRs; apply when the susceptible life stages are present before reaching maturity – products like flea drops will have specific instructions that you can refer back to in their packaging or leaflet for their application schedules.
IGRs offer another benefit by acting without direct contact with insects; some act by ingestion while others, like methoprene and diflubenzuron, inhibit chitin synthesis. This feature makes IGRs particularly advantageous because many conventional on-animal treatments contain organophosphates, carbamates or pyrethroids with cholinesterase inhibiting effects that could lead to overdose when multiple products or frequent treatments are applied simultaneously or too frequently.
IGRs that are available as spot treatments are specifically formulated to be safe for dogs and other animals, although as with any medication it should be applied according to its manufacturer’s directions – typically using an applicator with precise needle points that allows you to apply a precise dose directly onto their coats.
Insect Growth Regulators can be especially useful if you want to avoid fleas in your home and yard by eliminating their breeding ground altogether. By spraying our Insect Growth Regulator twice annually inside and three times annually outside, our IG Regulator can effectively eliminate fleas before they even have a chance to reproduce and breed.
Most flea medications available today are topical treatments; simply cut off the plastic tip of a small vial and apply its contents directly onto your fur baby’s coat between their shoulder blades. Some chemical interactions exist that interact with their natural body oils while other such as spinosad overstimulate fleas’ nervous systems until they die; other drugs may even contain IGRs to stop new flea eggs from hatching.
Oral medications offer another effective solution, generally more potency than drops and available as pills, chewables, or powders. Many oral medications contain isoxazoline noncompetitive GABA receptor antagonists; these work by binding to chloride channels within flea or tick bodies and blocking nerve signals before paralyzing and killing them off. Unfortunately however, oral medicines can have serious side effects in cats and dogs alike so be wary when giving these to your pets! To protect them properly and ensure safety consult your vet beforehand!
Most oral flea medications will kill adult fleas effectively, but are less successful at combatting larvae and eggs. To achieve that goal, speak to your veterinarian about combining treatments such as fipronil, nitenpyram, dinotefuran, permethrin and pyriproxyfen; often combined with IGRs so as to target larvae before they mature and jump off your pet.
If you prefer less toxic flea products, natural products using pyrethrins may also work to kill fleas effectively. Pyrethrins are naturally-occurring chemicals found in chrysanthemum flowers which, when refined and refined further, act like neurotoxins against fleas – however in large doses can also be toxic for your pet.
Before treating them with any of the options above, a fine-toothed comb can also help physically remove fleas from your pet’s coat and get rid of bugs quickly in the short-term. Keep in mind, however, that this method is hit-or-miss; don’t count on this being an effective replacement for frequent topical or oral medication treatments.
Fleas aren’t just annoying – they also carry many diseases that put your pet and family at risk. To reduce exposure to these parasites, veterinarians advise administering medication – either topical treatments, collars, powders or shampoos can all work; medicated drops offer another viable solution that are both easy to administer and highly effective at combatting fleas and ticks.
Before selecting a spot-on treatment for your pet, it’s essential that you read its label and consult your vet. A personalized regimen may be recommended; for instance, some products should only need applying once every month while others need applying more frequently; some kill only fleas while others provide protection from ticks and worms as well.
Selecting products containing insecticide will be highly effective at killing adult fleas as soon as they come in contact, due to ingredients entering their nervous systems and causing paralysis and eventually death – although this process may take hours.
Some treatment formulas will make the fleas hyperactive just before they die, making it easier for you to spot them in your pet’s coat – FRONTLINE works in this way!
Anthelmintics are products designed to combat flea infestation. By not only killing adult fleas but also larvae and eggs, anthelmintics break their reproduction cycle and could protect your pet from future flea infestation.
Anthelmintics like fipronil come both topically and orally for use against parasites; both forms may treat them. Oral versions are effective against similar parasites as topicals but most vets advise using topicals due to ease of use and safety considerations.
When selecting an anthelmintic, it’s wise to ask your veterinarian which variety would be safest for your pet. He or she can recommend an option that won’t interact with any medications they are already taking, ensuring no adverse interactions.
Certain anthelmintics such as the benzimidazoles (Albenza, Mintezol and Vermox) should not be administered during pregnancy in animals. Furthermore, such drugs could potentially pose risks to patients with liver or kidney issues.