There are several alternative medications that are intended for the elimination of fleas and ticks, particularly for dogs. While Frontline is an effective pesticide against infestations of fleas or ticks, the main ingredient is fipronil, which could pose certain health risks to household pets. There are many medications on the market, as well as natural options, that will avoid the particular risks of side effects of using Frontline-brand products and eliminate the possibility of allergies or other reactions to fipronil.
Spot on insecticides, such as Advantage, are applied directly to the animal, just above the shoulders at the back of the neck. Flea and tick collars, sprays and powders may work for some animals, but used alone, it won't prevent or stop a bad infestation. Over-the-counter spot on treatments, collars, sprays and powders can be purchased just about anywhere pet products are sold. If your cat or dog has had an adverse reaction to Frontline, check with your veterinarian to determine if other medications are safe for your pet.
As with Frontline, there are some risks of skin reactions or allergies with both spot on medications and flea and tick collars. There are also natural spot on flea and tick remedies, such as BioSpot, but again, even natural topical preparations can cause a pet to have adverse health reactions. There are medications and essential oils that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems safer than certain topical pesticides, as well as remedies that may be considered safer for your pets and family.
Both the EPA and the Humane Society recommend keeping the yard groomed, bushes trimmed and lawn mowed to keep the yard less inhabitable for fleas and ticks, as it would be drier and exposed to as much sunlight as possible. They also advise that certain essential oils may be considered more safe than chemical pesticides. A few drops of these essential oils, such as peppermint, thyme, cedarwood, lemon grass and rosemary, in a spray bottle can be applied to the outside of the house, yard and anywhere the animals spend a lot of time.
Essential oils can also be used safely indoors along the floorboards, around fixed furniture and on your personal bedding. If the infestation is mild, vacuum and thoroughly clean sofas, area rugs, beds and carpets and machine wash smaller cloth items in the washing machine and place in the dryer for at least 30 minutes to kill fleas and ticks concealed in bedding or clothing. This includes pillow cases, bedsheets, blankets and especially pet bedding or any areas where your pet regularly sleeps. Comb out any eggs, larvae, dried blood or fleas and remove any ticks with tweezers, getting as close to the skin as possible and pulling firmly on the tick.
Medications like Advantage have a much lower risk of allergic or adverse reactions and may be considered a safer alternative for some pets. Consider using alternatives to spot on flea and tick medications, such as area sprays and powders, which do not require the animal to be treated, and comb pests out of pet hair with a flea comb, available at most pet stores or the pet section of your local grocery store.