With so many products out there now it is hard to know exactly which one (or combination) of these medications is going to be the best for your dog.
Your vet may be able to tell you what they prefer for their dogs and give you options to choose from – however, they cannot tell you which one to choose. (Kind of like getting a referral for 2 specialists from your doctor because they cannot legally tell you who is better…)
If one of the products your vet suggested was Sentinel Spectrum then you’re in the right place. We will cover all the most important things you need to know before making the decision on whether or not this medication is right for your dog.
What is Sentinel Spectrum?
Sentinel Spectrum is a heartworm preventative and flea control treatment given in the form of an oral chew tablet.
There are many products out there like this now, whereas there used to only be a couple – and each has their own good qualities and downsides.
This particular form of the medication is a bit different than some of the others. Along with treating immature heartworm larva and preventing them from turning into adult worms, it protects against several other common types of worms.
Sentinel will both treat and control whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. This can prevent the need for an additional dewormer, saving you money, time and hassle later down the road.
As far as flea control goes, this product is not quite as superior as others – it only kills flea eggs and larva, not the adult fleas.
It is said that it can be used alongside CapStar to prevent adult fleas – however, if you were looking for total all-in-one heartworm and flea prevention you may not be happy with Sentinel.
How do you use Sentinel?
This is the best part of all these new medications – they are made in a way that your dog is likely to believe he is just getting another treat, not medication. They flavor the tabs in beef or bacon flavor to entice the dog to eat the treat without hesitation.
While most dogs will eat an oral chew tablet like these with no question, some are still suspicious. For situations like this, you can use traditional methods of hiding pills, such as a pill-pocket or hiding the tablet in a piece of cheese or lunch meat.
You do need to make sure your dog eats the entire tablet (and chews the tablet!). If your dog is known to scarf things down without chewing, break the tablet into pieces and feed it to them that way to ensure it is fully effective once eaten.
How long is it effective?
Most flea and heartworm medications are effective for a full 30 days from the date the first dose was given. It is no different with Sentinel Spectrum, which should be given once a month on the same day each month.
For example, if you fed the first tablet on March 3rd then you should continue to give the tablets on the 3rd of each month for uninterrupted exposure.
If you miss a dose you should give the missed dose right away and continue to give the medication on that day each month instead of the original date.
If you have missed more than one dose you should talk to your vet before continuing to use the medication.
All dogs should be tested for heartworm prior to starting a heartworm preventative such as Sentinel. It only takes one mosquito bite for a dog to become infected, which is why it is so important not to miss a dose.
In most areas, it is recommended to give a heartworm preventative year round – however in colder locations where mosquitos are less likely to be around in the winter your vet may only suggest use seasonally.
What are the Side Effects?
Like most medications, this one does not come without the chance of a few side effects. While most dogs are able to take preventative medications with no adverse effects, some may be more sensitive to the ingredients in the medication.
The most common side effects are still rare to be seen and they will include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, scratching, drooling, staggering, weakness or seizures. If your dog already has health issues or suffers from seizures discuss with your vet before using Sentinel.
Generally, these side effects are not something to worry about and most dogs see no adverse reaction to the medication. However, if your dog does seem to be suffering from any of these side effects and they do not go away within 24 hours you should contact your vet immediately.
What about Benefits?
Medications like Sentinel Spectrum are wonderful for many reasons, but the absolute biggest advantage is probably the ease of use. No more oily or greasy topical treatments for your dog!
Instead of having to get your dog to sit still for a topical treatment (and then keep them away from water for 24 hours) you can simply feed them the flavored tablet.
Most dogs are happy to gobble to tablets up without question, making this the easiest type of medication to administer.
All dogs need prevention against heartworm and there are many options out there. However, this is one of few medications that will treat all types of common worms and help control fleas all at the same time.
The fact that it lasts for 30 days is a great advantage and making sure to administer the medication on the same day each month will ensure your dogs continued protection! What more can you ask for, really?
Similar Products Compared to Sentinel Spectrum
There are many similar products on the market right now. For example some of the most popular art Heartgard and Trifexis. Each of these medications does something great in their own way.
Some may fight off both adult fleas and eggs while still being a heartworm preventative. Others will cover certain types of common worms and even prevent and kill ticks too.
In the end, your vet will be able to help you make the right decision on which treatment option is right for your dog.