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Natural flea product?

Species: Dog
Breed: Australian Kelpie mi
Age: 2-5 years
Dear Dr. Marie:

We use Sentry Natural Defense squeeze-on flea control product on our dog, at the correct dosage for his weight. He is only given the treatment every 6 to 8 weeks.

Immediately after treatment we notice he becomes anxious, runs/paces outside, and rolls around on the grass as if to remove the product. This large change in behavior lasts for about 30 minutes, then he's just a bit more antsy than usual after that for between 1-2 hours.

The product is mainly botanical oils (clove, cinnamon, peppermint) and has a strong spicy smell, in a base of isopropyl myristate. I do not see any skin irritation (dryness, redness, etc) at any time after application, nor does his anxiousness include an attempt to scratch at the treated area.

My question is whether his behavior might be a reaction to the strong smell, or could it be burning/irritating the skin regardless of the lack of visual symptoms on the epidermis?

We do not wish to change to a "traditional" chemical form of flea treatment, but would welcome suggestions of other natural topical applications to try. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Related Article: How to get rid of fleas!



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There is no natural remedy for fleas that I am aware of that really works well.

The prescription flea products such as Revolution, Frontline and Advantage are extremely safe and are the only reliable treatments that I would recommend for fleas.

You will read all sorts of things online about possible natural remedies including brewer's yeast, garlic and more but they just don't work! If there was a natural product that worked well then we would be using it.

Fleas are getting more and more difficult to kill. Part of this reason is that there are many products out there that will kill *some* fleas but not all. Those remaining fleas are ones that have withstood some treatment. So, when they reproduce they create a population of resistant fleas.

It's hard to say why your dog reacted to the product. My guess though is that it was the alcohol base. Some dogs do not like the feel of alcohol on their skin.

I do not recommend any Sentry products for fleas and ticks.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.