Flea infestations can be frustrating, especially if they keep coming back despite you diligently treating your pets.
If you have been advised to use Advantage flea treatment to solve your cat’s flea problem, but the infestation is still there, you might be wondering whether you are using the product incorrectly, or if you need to reapply it.
Advantage II is generally effective at eradicating fleas with just one dose per month. However, in cases where you are still seeing the pesky little bugs on your cat’s skin, your first instinct might be to reapply for the treatment.
But is it safe to use Advantage flea treatment twice in one month? And, if not, how soon can you reapply for the treatment? Let us dive into the details below.
Can you apply Advantage twice in one month?
Advantage II flea treatment is an easy-to-apply solution that effectively kills fleas within 12 hours of contact. It works by spreading quickly over your cat’s skin to eradicate the parasites without the need to bathe.
This flea treatment should protect your furry friend for up to four weeks. It is highly recommended to reapply Advantage once a month to prevent further infestations. However, if the infestation is severe, you might consider reapplying the treatment earlier than four weeks.
While it might be tempting to doubt the efficacy of the treatment and reapply it early if some fleas are still visible, you should not. If you do, you are increasing your cat’s risk of product poisoning.
The product should be effective enough to kill most of the fleas throughout the treatment period of 30 days, so be patient and trust the process. However, if you are still seeing fleas on your cat’s coat, it might be time to reassess your flea treatment strategy. Talk to your vet to find out your best options for flea infestations.
How soon can you reapply Advantage?
Although flea treatments like Advantage are beneficial for flea control, keep in mind that these products are still toxic to our pets. This is why it is best to wait four weeks or 30 days before your next application.
If it seems that your feline is still bothered by fleas, try bathing her with a detergent shampoo and reapply the flea treatment after 24 hours.
As mentioned before, it will typically take 12 hours for the treatment to kill most adult fleas. If you are seeing new bugs crawling under your pet’s fur, it does not mean that the product is not working; the flea population is continuous, especially if the entire home has not been properly treated.
How frequently should you use Advantage?
Advantage flea treatment should be applied once every month, year-round, to protect your cat from flea infestations. A single dose of the treatment should be enough to give your companion the relief she deserves and should last for up to four weeks.
In severe cases, it is possible to increase the frequency of the application to twice a month. With correct application, combined with other strategies to fight the infestation, this dosage should be sufficient to control your cat’s flea problems.
Is it okay to overdose cats with flea treatments?
Overdosing your cat with flea treatments is never advisable due to the adverse side effects.
Imidacloprid, the active ingredient found in Advantage II, can cause harmful reactions when absorbed through your cat’s skin. The substance can enter the bloodstream and cause product toxicity. Some cats might also suffer from nerve damage due to overdosage.
The effects of flea treatment overdose usually appear within 12 hours after the application. Some of the symptoms of overdose include:
- Breathing problems
In this case, take your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately. Your vet will take a closer look at your cat’s symptoms and assess the severity of the poisoning. Laboratory tests such as urinalysis and blood work will be performed to rule out other underlying illnesses. Your veterinarian will also bathe your cat to remove the flea treatment and give fluids to hydrate her and stabilize the symptoms.
Is it safe to increase the dosage?
Flea treatments can be fatal to your feline if given at higher doses, so the short answer is no – you cannot double up on the treatment.
It is best to follow the recommended dosage, which is once every four weeks or 30 days. If your cat is suffering a severe infestation, then reapplying after less than four weeks might be possible after consulting your vet. Alternatively, wash your cat with a mild detergent and then apply the treatment again after 24 hours.
How to know whether the treatment has worked
As mentioned, Advantage II works by spreading over your cat’s skin to eradicate the parasites through contact. Imidacloprid, the active ingredient in Advantage, mainly attacks the central nervous system of fleas, killing them in minutes. Under normal conditions, the recommended dosage should work perfectly to kill most adult fleas.
However, there might be cases in which the treatment does not work properly on your pet. These are the symptoms you should look out for:
- Your cat does not look well
- Your cat continues to itch non-stop
- Live fleas are still visible on your cat’s skin
- You can see bald spots
The appearance of any of these signs should prompt you to take your cat to the vet. You might also need to change your medications and adjust your infestation control strategy at home.
Why the flea treatment does not seem to work
Even if you diligently apply the topical flea treatment, there might be instances where you can still see fleas crawling on your cat’s skin. Seeing your fur baby scratching incessantly can be frustrating, and you might start to doubt the effectiveness of the treatment.
If you notice the pesky critters crawling in your cat’s fur after the treatment, it might be caused by one of the reasons below:
1. Not applying the treatment correctly
Incorrect application of the flea treatment is the most common reason for the product’s failure to work on your feline.
It is important to read the instruction labels that come with the medicine packaging. Topical treatments like Advantage must be applied directly onto the skin; not on the fur. To do this, part your pet’s hair at the back of her neck and apply the treatment onto the skin itself. The reason Advantage II is applied at the back of your cat’s neck is to prevent her from being able to lick it. Advantage II, like other flea control medications, can be harmful to pets when ingested.
Another important thing to remember is to remove your cat’s collar before applying the treatment to the back of the neck and to let the chemical dry before putting the collar back on.
You also need to wait for the product to work on your cat. It is possible to see new fleas hatch out, but this does not mean the treatment is not working. Keep in mind that flea eggs take about six weeks to hatch, so you need to be patient and reapply the treatment diligently every month.
If you bathe your furry friend a second time within four weeks after the application, remember to reapply for the flea treatment. Water and detergent shampoo can wash away the medication and might hinder the flea-killing process.
2. Not all household pets are treated
If you have multiple pets at home, then consider treating them all – not just the itchy ones!
Fleas can easily hop from one pet to another and reproduce quickly. While some of your pets might scratch more, it is likely that all of them have fleas.
These creepy crawlies can also spread from one room to another by hitching a ride on your clothes or shoes, and flea eggs can fall from your pet’s fur, especially in places where your pets play or sleep. It will only take a few weeks before these eggs hatch and grow into adult fleas.
Hence, treating all of your pets will prevent further infestations and re-infestations in the future. It will also be easier to prevent the spread and reproduction of pests throughout the house.
3. Not properly treating the entire home
Fleas can hide in every nook and cranny in your home. To completely eradicate the infestation, it is therefore essential not just to treat your pets, but also your pets’ environment as well.
Advantage II kills only the fleas that come into contact with or feed on your cat’s skin. The treatment will not repel fleas, so new fleas can hop onto your pet’s fur and continue the infestation. To halt their spread and reproduction, it is critical to kill not just adult fleas but also flea eggs, larvae, and pupae before they hatch and grow into adults.
To get rid of the fleas in your house, start by cleaning the floors, bedding, furniture, carpets, and other potential hiding places using a powerful vacuum cleaner. You can also use a steam cleaner to clean carpets, upholstery, or any other spots where your pets usually sleep. Launder all used clothing, towels, and bedding with detergent and hot water, and dry them on the highest heat setting. High heat and soap are your best weapons to eradicate fleas – both the adults and their eggs.
Repeat these treatments for a couple of weeks or months until all the fleas are gone.
4. Fleas have become immune
Another reason your flea treatment does not kill all the pests may be that the product is losing its effectiveness. Over-the-counter flea medications are so common that almost all people use them to treat their pets. Unfortunately, common treatments can cause fleas to mutate and develop immunity against the chemicals.
In this case, it is best to ask for advice from your vet, since he probably knows which flea control treatments work best in your region. He will recommend products to suit your cat’s specific needs.
What to do if your cat develops flea medicine toxicity
If your furry friend shows signs of toxicity after the flea treatment application, call your veterinarian immediately. It may also be a good idea to bathe your pet with a mild detergent such as Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water to remove the topical treatment right away.
Additionally, you should avoid using Advantage or other flea treatments on kittens younger than eight weeks, since they can be more sensitive to the chemical ingredients. Read the product labels carefully to know whether it is appropriate for your cat’s age.
If you are treating multiple pets, make sure that they are separated in different rooms after treatment to prevent them from licking each other, and do not use flea treatments without your family vet’s approval.
Wrapping it up
While Advantage typically works to kill fleas with just one application per month, it might be necessary to reapply in severe cases of infestation. There are many reasons fleas may not completely disappear, even after diligently following the treatment instructions. You will need to address these possible causes, as well as assess the risks if you need to apply Advantage twice in one month.
For your pet’s safety, it is best to consult your vet before making any changes to the dosage or frequency of treatment.
Image: istockphoto.com / SunRay BRI Cattery RU