Just like humans, dogs with sensitive skin can have uncomfortable reactions to certain medicines. Between breed, size, and age, no two dogs are the same. It shouldn’t be that big a surprise if your pup reacts badly to a flea medication that works effectively on the majority of pets. So what is good flea prevention for dogs with sensitive skin?
More often than not, pet owners preemptively sound the alarm over are common side effects of preventative flea and tick medication. This is especially true when it comes to topical treatments, otherwise known as spot-on treatments, such as K9 Advantix or Frontline Plus. It is normal during the first 12-48 hours after spot-on treatment is applied to your dog for them to experience a mild level of discomfort in the form of numbness, redness, or itching. This usually subsides quickly and can disappear completely over time. The reason redness and mild irritation occur is that the medicine is working its way into the sebaceous glands of your dog’s skin where it will be the most effective in providing up to 30 days of flea prevention. It is also important to note that you should not wash your dog during the first 48 hours of application so the medicine is given time to absorb properly.
However, common side effects aside, use your best judgment when applying topical flea prevention for dogs. You know your dog better than anyone else. If they are having a noticeable reaction to topical medication, including obvious pain or even hair loss, wash off the product immediately. While it is uncommon, your dog could be having an allergic reaction to a component of the medication. In this case, we recommend trying an oral form of flea and tick prevention to ensure skin sensitivities do not continually flare up and cause future problems. Although rare, some flea and tick medications have even been known to cause seizures. When in doubt, always consult a veterinarian before starting any new prevention program.
There are many benefits to oral treatment when it comes to flea and tick prevention. Chewable tablets, like Comfortis, are easy to administer, mess-free, and incredibly effective. Simply give your pup a pill once a month with their food and for 30 days, fleas will be held at bay. Also, oral treatments are a great alternative for dogs that have adverse reactions to topical treatment. Side effects of monthly pills or chewable tablets are rare but can include nausea, diarrhea, and hair loss. If your pet continues to react poorly to different kinds of flea treatments, contact your vet to figure out a way to keep your pet healthy while protecting it from fleas.
How to Use a Flea Comb
Your pet has been scratching like crazy, and you want to provide some immediate relief. That means it’s time to use a flea comb. While combing your pet won’t do as thorough a job as a spot-on treatment like Advantage for dogs or Advantage for cats, or an oral pill like Comfortis or Sentinel for dogs - when it comes to killing fleas, it can help your pet feel better quickly.
What You Need
First thing first! To comb your pet for fleas, you need a flea comb. There are several options out there, depending on what you are looking for. The Safari Double Row Flea Comb has not one, but two sets of metal teeth meant to pick up fleas when you use it to comb your pet. The JW Gripsoft Flea Comb has its metal teeth turned at a ninety-degree angle away from its handle, which it claims will make the combing process more comfortable for your pet.
Before you begin combing, you should fill a bowl or bucket with hot and soapy water. This will be used to kill the fleas you find on your pet. Make sure your water bucket is deep enough that a flea will not be able to jump out of it.
You need to pick a location for your combing. Many recommend that you do it outside to make sure any flea eggs you knock loose do not end up all over the floor of your home.
Now Begin Combing
Take the comb and run it through your pet’s fur. Start your combing at your pet’s ears and head and move towards their tail. Pay close attention to both the underside and the top of your pet’s neck and the area around their rump. These are all areas where fleas are known to hideout!
After a thorough combing of an area, stop and look at the comb’s teeth to see if there are any fleas on it. You then should pull the fleas off the comb into the soapy water. You also have the option of dunking the comb into your water bowl, but some have found this is a less effective way of cleaning fleas off the comb.
After you have combed your pet, wait for a few minutes for the fleas to move around and then comb again. Some pests that had been hiding in hard-to-reach areas like the legs may now have migrated to a more accessible part of your pet.
Dump your flea-infested water down the drain. If you combed inside your home, vacuum around the area to pick up any flea eggs that were knocked loose. If you combed outside, hose down the area to drown any fleas that may have escaped.
It is recommended you comb your dog up to once a day, depending on the level of their flea infestation. Remember, a spot-on or oral treatment will provide more complete results. But in a pinch, a good flea comb can help make your pet feel better right away!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my dog itching so much after flea treatment?
Your dog is probably itching after the flea treatment because it is still feeling uncomfortable and restless. The flea treatment might have killed the fleas but the sensation might still remain. It is also possible that the chemicals in the flea treatments are the ones responsible for the itching as they can irritate your dog’s skin, especially if it has sensitive skin. It is also likely that the flea treatment you used had no effect at all on the fleas and the fleas are still on your dog’s skin biting and causing irritation.
Can dogs be allergic to topical flea treatment?
Yes, some dogs can be allergic to topical flea treatments. That is because these dogs are sensitive to the reactions caused by such topical flea medications. These reactions can lead to allergies in dogs. Such reactions are often referred to as flea medication poisoning in dogs.
What do you do if your dog is allergic to flea medicine?
The first thing to do if your dog is found to be allergic to flea medicine is to pause the flea treatment in question. After that, take note of all the reactions or side effects you have observed in your dog after it showed signs of an allergic reaction. Finally, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Discuss the flea medicine you used and the reactions it caused. After that, your vet will advise you on what to do next.
How can I tell if my dog is allergic to flea medicine?
If your dog is allergic to flea medication, it will show a range of symptoms resulting from the reaction to the flea treatment. These include skin irritation, skin redness, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, seizures, and a depressed appearance. The allergic reactions are visible in various aspects like the dog’s skin, its stomach and intestine, and its nervous system.
How can I treat my dog's flea allergy naturally?
With the use of certain essential oils, you can treat your dog’s flea allergy naturally. These essential oils come from citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tea tree. These act as natural flea repels. You can dilute a few drops of any one of these essential oils into 300-400 ml of water. After that, simply spray the solution onto your dog’s coat. As you use this natural solution, you must still keep an eye out for any allergic reaction to this remedy.
How can I keep fleas off my dog naturally?
Essential oils should be enough to keep fleas off of your dog naturally. At the same time, you should also take the necessary precautions. These include keeping your house clean, making sure your dog is not sleeping in dirty areas and bathing your dog after coming back from a long walk outdoors.
More Flea and Tick Control Advice
My Dog Still Has Fleas! What to Do When The Medicine Isn’t Working
What Does a Flea Bite Look Like?
Dog Hot Spots: What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professionals with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.