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Treating your dog for fleas, and keeping them away from flea infestations can be a little confusing thanks to all the different medication options and their different working methods.
Pyrethroids / Pyrethrins
Certain varieties of the chrysanthemum have been used for centuries as repellants and insecticides. The chemicals that are obtained from them are referred to as pyrethrins. They are one of the most commonly used ingredients in tick and flea control products for dogs and cats.
Pyrethrins disrupt the insect’s nerve cell function and make it fire non-stop impulses, which eventually causes the death of the insect. Their toxicity is low and they are safe for use on mammals. They are directly applied to the hair or skin to control ticks, fleas, mites, lice and mosquitoes. However, they cannot stand extended exposure to air, light or moisture. Because of their unstable nature, they are combined with chemicals that will keep them from breaking down.
Pyrethroids are the synthetic counterparts of pyrethrins. They work similarly, but are much more stable, and also more a little more toxic. They tend to last for quite some time and are usually the main component of tropical products that are meant to cover the body of the animal. You can also find them in sprays which are used to treat households for insects. You cannot use them on kittens or cats.
Other plant-based extracts
Some of the other flea deterrents that are derived from plants include D-limonene, rotenone, and linalool. Rotenone is extracted from subtropical and tropical plants, and it works by paralyzing the insect and preventing the uptake of oxygen to the cells. It is safe to use in small quantities on mammals.
Linalool and D-limonene are obtained from the pulp of citrus fruits. They soften the outer shell of the insects and cause them to dry up. Citrus products are used in flea dips and shampoos. You must exercise care when treating a cat, as they can be really sensitive to citrus oils. Citrus also helps in repelling fleas, but might not be good for a full-on flea infestation in your home and your pet. In the case of an infestation, you need to use citrus along with more powerful chemicals to launch an attack on a scale big enough to eradicate all the insects.
Don’t forget that all drugs come with a small amount of risk. No matter what product you use for controlling the infestation of parasites, read the label from top to bottom carefully and consult the vet if your pet is very old or young, is debilitated, or is sick. Additionally, if your pet has behavioral or mood changes after being given medication, or if he becomes ill, contact the vet immediately.