Which antiparasitic treatment should I choose for my dog?
With the arrival of springtime, we should take the necessary steps to control external parasites on our pets. Fleas and ticks are always more abundant when the grass starts growing, and the weather turns mild and humid, after a winter season which can vary in severity depending on the region. Flying insects then emerge later on, which also require attention.
WHY SHOULD YOU PROTECT YOUR DOG FROM PARASITES?
Dog parasites feed on the animal. Most are haematophagous, i.e. they feed on your dog’s blood. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes will therefore feed on small amounts of your pet’s blood, increasing in volume with the number of parasites on your pet’s body. In return, parasites can transmit diseases, such as piroplasmosis or Lyme disease, gastrointestinal parasites, or blood parasites. This is why it is essential to control and limit the presence of parasites on your pet.
Another reason is because certain animals are particularly sensitive to parasites’ saliva and develop local inflammation, with itching and hair loss. Flea bites can even cause an allergy, and atopic dermatitis on each flea bite: red, hairless lesions generally appear at the base of the tail before spreading along the back, causing dogs to bite themselves due to severe itching. This is not very pleasant, for your dog, or for you.
INSECTICIDE, OR INSECT REPELLENT?
Insecticides for use on pets are medicinal products which serve to kill any parasites present on the skin and, in some cases, to repel flying parasites to prevent them from feeding. When parasites are killed before feeding, this prevents diseases from being transmitted. These products have a marketing authorisation and are sold by veterinary surgeons and pharmacists, and a few products are sold without a prescription in pet stores, garden centres and supermarkets.
Insect repellents are biocidal products which act by repelling parasites, without killing them, and can possibly dissuade them from feeding on your pet. Insect repellents are preferable when there are no parasites on your pet and it lives in an environment usually free from parasites (apartment, enclosed garden). This is ideal for prevention, before your pet is exposed to the risk of picking up parasites. When dogs have parasites, especially if they have lesions (hair loss on flea bites), an insecticide is preferable in order to eliminate them and avoid them proliferating in the home. If there are parasites in your home, then it is essential to treat both your pet and its environment. Laboratoire Francodex offers several insecticide solutions that you can use when dealing with parasites.
In all cases, it is essential to follow the instructions for use and precautions as these products can be hazardous: some active ingredients are allergenic, while others may be toxic to your pet or the environment. Insect repellents act externally and should not be ingested, like most insecticides. If you have several pets in your home, you should preferably separate them for a few hours after use, to prevent them from licking the product. NB: also pay attention to the species stated on the product: some products intended for dogs can be fatal for cats.
WHICH ANTIPARASITIC SHOULD I CHOOSE FOR MY DOG?
So, you have now decided on an insect repellent, but due to the vast number of products on display, you don’t know which one to choose? No need to panic! You will find all the information you need on the packaging.
Choose a product designed for dogs and suitable for your pet’s age and weight. You can also choose a product with a specific duration of action to meet your needs, whether for an immediate action after a walk, or a few days for holidays, or even several weeks or months. You can then choose a product based on the application method best suited to both you and your pet.
There is no point in purchasing a shampoo if your pet cannot tolerate water. If your dog is not used to wearing a collar, or if it has already developed local irritation when wearing a collar, you should preferably choose a pipette or lotion form. It is also best to avoid using a collar or disc for dogs who are often in their owner’s arms or who sleep in their owner’s bed, to avoid the product coming into contact with human skin as it can cause contact reactions. Each form has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is best to have full information to hand in order to make the right choice.
NB: antiparasitic products contain active ingredients, insecticides or insect repellents, which can target both animal skin and human skin. It is advisable to wear gloves when applying, and to wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.
ANTIPARASITIC OR SPOT-ON PIPETTES
Antiparasitic pipettes, in the shape of small bottles to be opened or snapped open, are products that are applied to a single area, hence their name “spot-on” pipettes in English. They are easy to use, are regularly applied, generally once a month, and are effective for a few weeks. Their main disadvantage is their small volume, which means they are generally highly concentrated, and some animals can poorly tolerate the product when it comes into contact with the skin.
Furthermore, it is vital to prevent pets, especially cats, from licking the product after application, to avoid ingestion of the product and possible poisoning. It is also essential to avoid stroking your pet immediately after application, to give the product sufficient time to be diffused over your dog’s body. They are only really effective once the product has been diffused properly over your pet’s body, which can take a few hours. As the product is diffused into oily skin secretions, this will be more effective if your dog has not been washed during the days prior to application, and it is often recommended to wait at least 48 hours before washing your pet after applying a pipette so as to allow the product to act properly.
ANTIPARASITIC DOG COLLAR
Antiparasitic collars are easy to use, even though it is important to follow the instructions for use when attaching as they need to be quite close to the skin so that the active ingredients are properly diffused, but not too close so as to avoid causing irritation due to rubbing. This form generally has the longest duration of action, over several months. They are suitable for all pets that are used to wearing a collar. It is more complicated if your pet never wears a collar and might be tempted to pull the collar off, as the collar must not be ingested. Some sensitive pets can have a local reaction under the collar, with hair loss or red patches; if this is the case, remove the collar and clean the neck area.
Designed for short-term use, from a few days to a week, the HOPI insect repellent disc fits onto your pet’s usual collar without causing any additional discomfort. This is the ideal product when going for walks or a weekend in the countryside, or for additional protection on top of the usual antiparasitic treatments. Lastly, if your dog regularly plays or sleeps with children, the collar and disc forms should preferably not be used, to avoid children developing a reaction.
Our shampoos have a two-fold action: they have both cleansing and antiparasitic properties. These are the preferred choice for pets who are frequently bathed. They are effective immediately, and parasites are rinsed away.
However, their action is often limited to the time of use, with no residual effect, or for just a few hours to a few days. It is advisable to wear gloves during application, to avoid any reactions; if applied with the bare hands, the active ingredients can stay on human skin instead of the animal’s skin.
LOTIONS AND FOAMS, “NO-RINSE” ANTIPARASITIC PRODUCTS
Lotion forms, applied as a spray, or foam forms, do not require rinsing. They are rapidly applied and do not need any water, which is an advantage for pets who dislike water and for dogs living in apartments.
The difference between the two is that the lotion only has an antiparasitic action, whereas the foam also has a cleansing action, and brushing is recommended soon after use to remove debris. Another difference: the spray makes a noise which can be frightening for animals, whereas the foam is applied without making any particular noise. In both cases, the product should be applied deep into the coat and on the surface, to offer the best possible protection.
The powder form has been used for a long time, and is still relevant as no water needs to be used or stored, which is an important factor during periods with water restrictions. Overtaken by more modern forms, such as pipettes or antiparasitic collars, it is still an interesting option for young or small pets, for which these forms are too heavily concentrated, or the collars are too large. Powder antiparasitic products generally have an immediate action, with a duration of action from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the products.