As a pet owner, it can be frustrating to see your pet struggle with a flea or tick infestation. Worse, these pesky critters pose serious health risks to both humans and pets. This is why it is crucial to deal with these insects the moment you first notice these on your pets or inside your home.
Frontline is often recommended to kill fleas, ticks, and other parasites because of its effectiveness in killing these pests.
How long does it take for Frontline to work?
Frontline can kill fleas in as little as four hours. More importantly, it can kill all the fleas infesting an animal in just 12 hours.
The medicine works for a month. After that period, you will need to re-apply the medicine on your pet because there might still be fleas and other parasites living in your home and one application is not enough to kill all of these insects. In some parts of the world where fleas are prevalent, Frontline needs to be applied on a year-round basis.
How does Frontline work?
Fipronil is the active ingredient found in Frontline. Once Frontline is applied to your pet’s skin, it gets absorbed by the body and stored in the animal’s oil glands. Through the process known as translocation, Frontline is then gradually spread around your pet’s body for one month.
Fipronil works by damaging the nervous system of fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks do not have to bite your pet’s skin to work. Upon contact with your pet’s skin that now contains the chemical, fleas and ticks become paralyzed due to nerve damage. The fleas die within 30 minutes of contact with the chemical.
But if Fipronil has one shortcoming, it would be its inability to kill eggs. Fleas multiply at such a fast rate that makes it difficult to get rid of these pests.
To counter this shortcoming, the manufacturers of Frontline have added S-Methoprene in the mix in the product known as Frontline Plus.
S-Methoprene works by seeping inside flea eggs. Inside the eggs, the chemical acts as a hormone, preventing the eggs from hatching and going to their next developmental stage. Eventually, the fleas inside the eggs die.
How do you apply Frontline on your pet?
To make sure that Frontline works optimally, you should know how to apply it properly on your pet.
Before you even buy Frontline, you should consult your vet if it is safe to use the product on your pet. Your vet will recommend Frontline if your pet is healthy and has no allergic reaction to the medicine’s active ingredients. He will also tell you the appropriate dosage for Frontline based on your pet’s weight.
Take note that you should only use the Frontline product formulated for your pet. You cannot use Frontline for dogs on your cat and vise versa.
To apply Frontline on your pet, start by parting the fur on the area where the product will be applied. Ideally, this location should be difficult for your pet to lick or scratch. This is why most people apply Frontline between the shoulder blades of their pets. You can also consider giving your cat a flea bath before applying Frontline.
It can take up to 48 hours or two days for Frontline or other flea medicine to become dry and fully absorbed by your pet’s body. Do not touch the area where you applied Frontline. You also cannot bathe your pet within that period.
How often should you apply Frontline?
Frontline works for one month, killing more or less all fleas and ticks which come into contact with your pet’s skin. You do not need to apply more than one dose of Frontline within the same month.
However, you may still need to apply Frontline on your pet successively for a few months. Although Frontline kills fleas and Frontline Plus kills both adults and eggs, there might be other fleas and eggs hidden inside and around your home.
This means that there is a risk that your cat or dog can become reinfected. This is why one application is almost never enough. In fact, in some parts of the world where fleas and similar insects are prevalent in the environment, Frontline needs to be applied all year round.
How do you get rid of fleas in your home?
The use of Frontline on your pets is just one part of the larger equation that is flea control and prevention. You need to also eliminate fleas hiding inside and around your home.
Fleas thrive in warm climates where the temperatures can range between 26 and 32 degrees Celsius and 70 percent humidity. In areas where these conditions are not met, these insects go dormant until the right conditions arrive.
Getting rid of indoor fleas
Killing matured fleas infesting your pets is never enough. Inside your home, fleas in various development stages hide in various corners, posing risks over the long term. This is why it is essential that you do not rely on Frontline as the only solution for your flea woes.
But how exactly do you get rid of these pests hiding in your home?
1. Vacuum around your home
Matured fleas, their eggs, and larvae can hide beneath floors, between the crevices of beds and furniture, and other areas with tight spaces. To remove these pests from these areas, you will need a powerful vacuum. After using the vacuum, make sure that you do not touch the bag. Dispose of its content properly to prevent re-contamination.
2. Use a steam cleaner on carpets
Vacuuming carpets may not be enough to get rid of fleas hiding there. For carpets and upholstery, the better option would be to use a steam cleaner. The heat from the steam, combined with soap, is more than enough to kill fleas, from adults to eggs. On the other hand, beddings should be washed in hot water and dried with a dryer’s highest heat setting.
3. Spray chemical treatments
For hard to reach areas like the space beneath furniture, you can use chemical treatments, preferably those that can kill fleas at different stages of development. Just make sure that pets and humans do not come into contact with these products until the spray is dry.
Getting rid of fleas outside your home
Outdoors, fleas like to hide in warm and humid areas away from direct sunlight. Often, these insects will move to outdoor areas that your pet frequents. Here are a few strategies that you can use to get rid of fleas from your yard.
1. Mow your lawn
Outdoors, fleas can hide on the leaves of tall grass. As such, it is a good idea to keep the grass short by mowing regularly. Once you are done mowing the lawn, bag the clippings and throw these away.
2. Clean up your yard
Fleas can also sometimes hide beneath dead leaves and twigs because these shield them from the intense sun’s rays. Eliminate debris and as much as possible, expose as much area to the sun as you can.
3. Buy cedar chips
Cedar chips can help ward off fleas. Spread these around the areas which your pet frequents.
4. Enlist the help of worms
You can buy tiny worms called Nematodes. Nematodes eat flea eggs, helping control the population of these insects. To use nematodes in your yard, all you have to do is to spread them on the area where your pet usually plays.
The importance of comprehensive action against fleas
Once you detect fleas on your pet, quick action is necessary. Fleas spread around the house which makes getting rid of them increasingly difficult. They can also cause various health issues for your pet. Frontline works well in killing fleas on contact. However, you should also take the other actions recommended above.
Image: istockphoto.com / wenpu wang