Every pet owner knows the importance of finding a food flea and tick treatment that is effective in killing off those pesky little creatures and keeping them at bay, preferably long term.
With such a wide array of product options that currently exist on the market, it can prove to be a little overwhelming for a first-time buyer to select a product that will work for them.
Options include heavily medicated products, prescription-only products, options that claim to be better suited to sensitive skin and those that claim to be just as effective as all other products and yet safer, through the use of natural ingredients.
In an attempt to shed a little light on what is actually in so many of these products, we will discuss some of the most commonly used ingredients as well as dive a bit deeper into information on several of the ingredients, so that you can better understand what is in your product.
Hopefully, this can help you to better decide what product will work best for you.
Commonly Used Ingredients
There are quite a few ingredients that are used in commonly known flea treatments and flea treatment products on the market.
Below are some of the active ingredients that are most widely used and a little info on what they are and how they work in the prevention of fleas and other pests.
Examples of commonly used pyrethroids are etofenprox, permethrin, and phenothrin along with allethrin and resmethrin.
The pyrethroids that are used in the treatment of fleas and ticks are Etofenprox, Permethrin, and Phenothrin while products designed for killing flying insects use resmethrin and allethrin.
Pyrethroids are synthetic compounds that are not found in plants but rather are manufactured in labs. They do not work as fast as natural pyrethrins but their effects last for a longer amount of time.
Similar to the natural pyrethrins, Pyrethroids work by attacking the central nervous system of pests and insects, inhibiting their ability to function and causing their nerves to fire off repetitively.
Pyrethroids kill off fleas and also continue to repel them after the fact. Permethrins last for a longer period of time than natural pyrethrins and they are commonly used in products that are designed for long-term results such as premises sprays in addition to topical flea treatments. Permethrins, specifically, are not to be used on cats.
These natural extracts are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and have been used in flea and tick products as insecticides for over a century.
They are one of the most commonly used ingredients in products intended to control flea and tick infestation.
Chrysanthemums are found in Kenya, Europe, the Middle East and Japan and out of the plants of those four regions, six different pyrethrins are derived for pest control. However, all six are simply classes as pyrethrin on product labels.
Pyrethrins work by disrupting the natural flow of sodium from nerve cells, thus affecting the entire central nervous system and causing the nerves to fire off repeatedly, which eventually kills off the pest.
Because pyrethrins are broken down by stomach acids, it is very rare that ingestion of pyrethrins would lead to toxicity. Should toxicity occur, the signs and symptoms generally do not last longer than 24 hours and include tremors, possible seizures, vomiting and excessive salivation.
Most commonly pyrethrins are used in products that are designed for topical application. When pyrethrins are used in household products such as premises sprays, they are quite often accompanied by a synergist, which is a chemical used to enhance the performance of drugs.
Other pyrethrin combinations found in products include pyrethrins and permethrins or just pyrethrins on their own.
Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
Also commonly known and referred to as docusate sodium, dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate is often used in combination with undecyclenic acid in popular pest control products.
It is used to kill and control not only fleas but also mites, ticks, lice and other pests. It works by affecting the waxy out covering of a flea’s physical makeup, slowly softening it. Eventually, the internal organs of the pest are also affected leading to the death of the insect.
Other Active Ingredients
There are quite a few other active ingredients used in common flea and tick treatments. Briefly, these include growth regulators & development inhibitors, also known as IGRs and IDIs – more specifically, fenoxycarb, pyriproxyfen and methoprene, lufenuron and diflubenzuron – and these are found in products like Advantage II, Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix II, Sentinel, Program and Bio Spot.
Selamectin is found in products such as Revolution. It works by blocking the nerve signal transmissions in parasites. It is used topically for eliminating and preventing fleas, ear mites, and even some internal parasites as well as some ticks and some other types of mites.
Other commonly used active ingredients include Imidacloprid (Advantage II), Arylheterocycles (Frontline), Nitenpyram (Capstar), Dinotefuran (Vectra), Extracts of Citrus, Spinosad (Trifexis and Comfortis) and Borax.
Using Flea Shampoos
One of the best places to start a flea treatment is a good flea killing shampoo. Shampoos do, however, need to be used in conjunction with other flea control products for the best and most effective long-term outcomes.
Giving your dog a flea shampoo, despite the possibility of being somewhat messy depending on size and rambunctiousness of your pet, is a relatively easy process.
It simply requires a little bit of time and patience on your part and is a great way to start down the right track for treating and preventing pests.
Once you have selected the shampoo that you wish to use, read the labeling carefully for any instructions that may be specific to that particular product.
It is also important to note any labeling that warns of using the product on certain animals to avoid toxic results. Also, be sure to remember that proper usage and dosing amounts can be different depending on species of animal as well as size. Be sure of all of this information before beginning your bath routine.
Once your tub is prepped with warm to cool water, begin by first wetting and lathering the neck area on your dog.
This will help to ensure that ticks won’t attempt to ‘escape’ to the head area and gather around the ears and eyes where it is more difficult to shampoo safely. Once the neck area is lathered move on to the rest of the body, wetting the coat and lathering well.
Allow the lather to sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Any product remaining on the coat and skin can serve to dry it out, so be sure to get it all out. As long as there is no existing skin condition that would prevent you from doing so, it is always a good idea to follow up a flea shampoo with a good conditioner, preferably one that is also intended for flea control.
Remember that while shampoos are effective in removing fleas that are currently on your pet, fleas are picked up from the environment, and long-term control is best achieved through the use of products meant to kill fleas where they live.
Consider investing in something like an environment spray or foggers and bombers to treat the areas, both indoors and outdoors where your dog might be picking up these unwanted pests. For additional indoor control of these pests, daily cleaning and thorough vacuuming are highly recommended.
Other topical treatments such as powders, collars and spot treatments are also effective and highly recommended to use on your pets. The following are several shampoos that we recommend for helping to eliminate fleas and ticks.
Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo for Pets
Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick is a creamy shampoo that is concentrated and formulated to produce a thick lather. It is designed for treating both fleas and ticks and is safe for use on dogs and cats.
This shampoo is richly nutritional with coconut extract, aloe, lanolin, and oatmeal.
It also utilizes an insect growth regulator which is guaranteed to provide up to 4 weeks of control for fleas before they reach the biting adult stage, by preventing flea eggs from hatching. It instantly kills adult fleas, lice and ticks as soon as it is applied.
Not only is this shampoo effective in killing off unwanted pests but it is formulated to remove scales, dirt, and loose skin and enhance the manageability, shine and softness of the skin and coat.
Consumers report that their pets are left with a clean and fresh scent and that the shampoo is extremely effective in battling fleas even during seasons of heavy pests.
Some consumers even report that they had previously tried many of the popular flea treatment brands, only to find that this treatment was the only product that truly ended their flea and tick problem. This product comes very highly recommended and, overall, leaves pet owners very satisfied.
Natural Chemistry DeFlea Ready to Use Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats
DeFlea Shampoo for Dogs and Cats kills fleas, lice, mites, and ticks instantly. This gentle solution uses no pyrethrins or permethrins which are commonly used in many popular treatment brands.
The formula is chemical free and non-toxic. Pests cannot build resistance to the formula or become immune ensuring the effectiveness of continued use. It leaves a clean and fresh scent behind on pet while providing a thorough and deep clean.
This formula is effective in killing off unwanted pests by utilizing ingredients that work together to remove the barrier of waxy exoskeleton on mites, ticks, lice, and fleas. By softening this shield, the internal organs can be reached and saturated. Once those organs are reached, the pest is effectively terminated.
This shampoo is designed to be safe to use with other flea and tick spot treatments. It is safe for use on dogs and cats and will have no harmful effects on pets.
Consumers report being highly satisfied with not only the effectiveness of this formula but also the price.
Eqyss Micro-Tek Medicated Pet Shampoo
For pets with skin sensitivities or who are experiencing any disturbances like rashes or wounds, Equss Medicated Pet Shampoo is gentle while effective. Hot spots and dry skin are easily soothed and the formula will not cause any extra irritation or burn, injured or already irritated skin.
This formula is nonsteroidal and helps to curb bad, scratching, licking and biting habits so that irritations can have a chance to heal.
It is ph balanced and effectively deep cleans your pet’s fur while leaving behind all needed oils on the skin. The shampoo is safe and gentle for use on dogs of all ages, including pups and comes with a light floral fragrance for a fresh scent.
Consumers report high quality and happy pets when using this product.