multi-dose fleas
My best buddy Aries passed away in April at the age of 15 1/2. He was the inspiration for this article to help keep your fur babies flea-free and healthy. RIP baby boy. You are deeply missed every single day.

Flea season is in full swing. The first thing you have to realize in your war against these pesky critters is nothing is 100% effective. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. Whatever you use will only work for a certain period of time and it is best to use a variety of tools in combination.  Flea treatments can be extremely expensive but this article will help save you big money if you have smaller dogs or cats. For people with larger dogs, you need to keep reading for some additional tips that will help you as well.

By buying the flea medicine intended for large dogs and multi-dosing on small dogs or even cats you can save anywhere from 50% to as much as 200% or more. I have been using this method for over twelve years now and have saved around a thousand dollars or more on my pets over the years. This is a long and detailed article so use the Table of Contents to skip to just the section you need.

Split Dosages to save Money

The ingredients for large dogs or small dogs are exactly the same but unfortunately so are the prices. That means killing fleas can get very expensive very fast. But by splitting flea medicine doses you can save hundreds of dollars. Many people wonder if it is safe to buy spot treatments like Frontline for 45-88 pound dogs and use it on your Pomeranian or another small breed dog. The answer is yes, it is absolutely safe as long as you give them the correct dosage.

This would apply to all flea medications. I will provide a chart below for the four leading flea treatments. I have consulted with my own vet, numerous other vets online, as well as having worked with animal volunteer groups that use this method to save money. I also have been using this method on my own dogs and cat at home for over 12 years now. I love my fur babies and would never give out bad info to hurt your pets.

Important Supplies You Will Need

Glass Vials to hold excess medication for future use. Here is a set of 12 glass vials for just a few bucks on Amazon.  For some reason, I could not find these small glass vials anywhere locally. I suggest buying a pack of 12 because eventually some will get lost or broken and they are near impossible to find locally.  You need to store the leftover flea medication in this tightly sealed glass vial in a cool and dark place. I recommend the fridge.  Sun and heat will render the medicine ineffective. This is probably the most important thing to remember. Storing the leftover medicine improperly means you render it innate which means it won’t kill any fleas.  You must store the vials tightly, and keep them in a dark cool place or you will be wasting your money.

 

Next, you will need some syringes with stub noses to deliver an accurate dosage. I recommend these. You want to buy a lot because they will break, you will lose some, and the writing on the side which displays ml will wear off. Here is a 10 pack for just a few bucks. I recommend the 3ml or smaller. Larger sizes work fine they are just unnecessarily large because you will be using less than 1ml. 

The final thing you will need to buy is a flea spot treatment. This can be bought online or locally. This really is up to you. Everyone has their own preferences. Just remember you want to buy the largest size possible so you can split the dosage. I am currently using K9 Advantix II because it works really well for fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks on my dogs and Frontline plus for my cat.

 

Here are my top 3 choices. All are well-known brands and have good ratings. Avoid generics they can be questionable.

  1. K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Prevention for Extra-Large Dogs, Over 55 Pounds  (Warning: Do not use K9 Advantix on cats, it  can cause illness even death on cats)
  2. Advantage Flea Control for Dogs Blue Over 55 lbs 4 month supply  (safe on cats)
  3. FRONTLINE Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs (Extra Large Dog, 89-132 Pounds, 6 Doses) (safe on cats)

MULTI-DOSING CHART FOR FRONTLINE

Please read before you begin.

If you’re using Frontline Plus: The amount of fipronil in the dog version is the same as in the cat version. The “Plus” is methoprene, an insect growth regulator. There’s LESS of it in the dog product than in the cat product, so it’s safe to use the dog product on the cats but do NOT use the cat product on a small dog.

Using a dog formulation on a cat will underdose this ingredient. An insect growth regulator, methoprene affects the development of the baby fleas and may reduce long-term flea control, but not anti-tick efficacy. If you have an indoor cat, the Frontline Plus for dogs should be more than adequate if your home is flea-free. If your cat also goes outdoors, it should still be enough, just use a flea comb to check for fleas.

Warning: Generic Frontline Plus for dogs may contain a different ingredient than the brand name. If a generic Frontline product contains something other than methoprene or fipronil it may not be safe on your cat. Always look at the key ingredients for your animal and confirm online from a trusted source they are safe for your cat if you buy and use the dog version. Cats are far more sensitive than dogs and more at risk.

Saving money on flea medicine is great but that means we have to be twice as careful to confirm not only we are using the correct dosage but also to double-check the ingredients. Please check your ingredients prior to using on an animal it wasn’t made specifically for before use to ensure safety.

Cat Dosage for FrontlineThe dosage is 0.03ml per pound. A 10-pound cat only needs 0.3ml, not a whole 0.5 ml but up to .5 ml on a cat is perfectly safe. The largest Frontline Plus vial contains 4.0ml, which is enough to treat 133 pounds’ worth of cats.

Dog Dosage for FrontlineThe dog chart below can also be slightly modified. If you have a very small dog of around 5 lbs you would be safe at .55 ml for example. Or a dog at 22 lbs around 1 ml. If they are near the middle range between two categories you can spit the difference to be more accurate.

FRONTLINE DOSAGE CHART

Cats 0.5ml on most most cats or use .03ml per pound
Dogs 0-22 pounds – 0.67ml.
Dogs 23-44 pounds – 1.34ml
Dogs 45-88 pounds – 2.68ml
Dogs 89-132 pounds – 4.0ml

MULTI-DOSING CHART FOR ADVANTAGE

Please read before using. A Flea medication made by Bayer sold as Advocate or also sold as Advantage Multi and another product called K-9 Advantix have similar names but don’t use these on cats. Those products will harm and potentially kill your cat. Make sure you are only using Advantage or Advantage II on cats.

Advantage and Advantage II Dosage Chart

Cats up to 9 pounds – 0.4 ml
Cats 10+ pounds – 0.8 ml
Dogs 11-20 pounds – 1.0 ml (Advantage Multi can use this same chart but for dogs only)
Dogs 21-55 pounds – 2.5 ml
Dogs 55+ pounds – 4.0 ml

To further break down the Advantage dosage by weight alone:
0.4ml = 0-10 pounds
0.8ml = 11-20#
1.2ml = 21-30#
1.6ml = 31-40#
2.0ml = 41-50#
2.4ml = 51-60#
2.8ml = 61-70#
3.2ml = 71-80#

MULTI-DOSING CHART FOR K9 Advantix

K9 Advantix or Advantix (Dogs Only) LET ME REPEAT, DOGS ONLY! 

(NEVER USE ON CATS) Advantix® just to say it again – NEVER USE THIS ON CATS. If you get Advantix® on your hands when splitting a vial for the dogs, do not touch your cat before thoroughly washing your hands with warm soapy water. And if you have a dog and cat and use this on your dog keep them separated until it completely dries.

.4ML Dogs under 9 lbs/4kg

1 ml Dogs 9lbs to 22lbs/ 4-10kg

2.5ml Dogs 22lbs to 55lbs. /10-25kg

4ml Dogs 55+ lbs/ 25+kg

MULTI-DOSING CHART FOR REVOLUTION

Selamectin (Revolution®) Dosing Chart Revolution for Dogs and Cats requires a prescription from your veterinarian.

Dose is 2.7 mg/lb (6 mg/kg) for dogs or cats:

Cat dosage chart

<5 lb = 0.13 ml

5-15 lb = 0.38 ml

Dog Dosage Chart 

5.1-10 lb = 0.25 ml

10.1-20 lb = 0.5 ml

20.1 -40 lb = 1.0 ml

Important – Don’t forget to Deworm yourself along with your dogs and cats!

Did you know that in addition to deworming your pets you should also deworm yourself and your family? It’s true.  According to the CDC, there are more than 100 million cases of Americans with internal parasites inside of them right now. Dog or cat intestinal parasites can threaten the health not only of your pets but also threatens people, both adults, and children. Studies show that at least 15% of the public has been in contact with roundworms. Please click here and educate yourself. Then after you know how to protect yourself, come back here and find out how to protect your pets.

Most intestinal parasites are spread through contact with feces. This can happen when your pet eats a wild animal, such as when cats catch mice. It can also happen when dogs eat things off the ground where an infected animal has previously eliminated. The one exception to this rule is tapeworms, which are spread by fleas. When a dog or cat grooms an infested flea off themselves and eats it, the tapeworm larvae enter their system and sets up shop in their intestines. The most common types of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms

Sentry X is a good broad-spectrum choice that is affordable. It kills tapeworms, roundworms. and hookworms. Sentry X Large Dog   Sentry X Small Dog Another very good choice is Panacur C which uses Fenbendazole and kills all those worms as well as whipworms. Note: For heartworm protection, you need to buy a product from your vet in pill or shot form.

If you have a bad tick problem I strongly suggest a good tick collar as well.

Spot-type treatments really aren’t great for ticks. Ticks can be extremely painful to dogs and can also cause Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, and Hepatozoonosis. All can have serious health consequences for dogs and many can have serious health consequences for people as well. So don’t take a chance if you live in an area known to have ticks.

Trifexis warning for flea/heartworm control

There have been some reports that Trifexis has caused illness or death. Like with any new medicine you need to be cautious. I like to use the method of just giving half a dose of something new at first to see how well they tolerate it. Then after 5 or 6 hours give the rest of the dose. I have not used or even seen a Trifexis tablet so I am not sure if that is possible. The main reason I have not used it is simply based on price. It is around $20 per tablet which adds up fast if you have more than one pet. And even with one pet that is far more expensive than topicals combined a heartworm treatment. Capstar seems to be a safe and effective alternative and is much cheaper.

You must also eradicate indoor fleas or they will reinfest your pet

If the fleas keep coming back you may have a flea infestation. Simply keeping them off the pets won’t work if your house is infested. Flea sprays and flea bombs will also likely not stop them from coming back. It will kill the live ones but the eggs will hatch. I will tell you the absolute best method to completely eradicate fleas from your home. At least for a while because they will always return sooner or later but this will give you seven months of protection.

The first thing you will need is Precor. There are multiple options. I suggest the concentrate which is very inexpensive. You mix it with one gallon of water so that will easily treat your whole house. This has a growth inhibitor so affects the flea’s life cycle and stops them from reaching adulthood and laying eggs.

Unless you use a flea product like Precor that breaks their life cycle you are guaranteed to get reinfested every few weeks. It only takes one flea to reinfest your home. Precor protects your home for around seven months. All those flea bombs, Raid for fleas, and other sprays will not work for more than two weeks because most lack the IGR ingredient which disrupts their life and egg-laying cycle. Precor is widely recognized as a best-in-class IGR flea inhibitor.

Precor also comes as a pre-mixed spray or a fogger bomb that you may prefer instead of mixing it yourself. It is a bit expensive but you get what you pay for and this stuff works!!

Treating  Flea Allergies and  Skin Problems on your Dogs or cat

If your dog or cat develops rashes, spots, blisters, brown spots, and no matter what expensive medicated shampoo, spray, or medicine you try doesn’t work,  I have a great tip for you to try. A Lime Sulfur Dip Now I am not suggesting you skip your vet visit. Let the veterinarian have a look and do a skin scrape. If your vet tells you that it is nonspecific dermatitis or non-specific allergies that is usually a code for they don’t have a clue and simply want to give it a name. Now sometimes a shampoo that contains Chlorhexidine like Malaseb and many others will do the trick, but oftentimes they won’t heal the skin problems completely and they might come back. In those cases, I would strongly recommend you try a lime sulfur dip.

A lime-sulfur dip is extremely safe and it also kills fleas better than anything! It is also very cheap so nothing to lose. At the worse, you will kill all the fleas and it might also clear up those skin problems that wouldn’t go away with any other product. One 16 OZ bottle will make a total of 4 gallons of solution which will last a very long time.

My suggestion is to use a sponge or spray to soak your dog or cat well. Be careful around the head with your sponge not to get it in the eyes, nose, or mouth but you do want to get the head area because fleas love to inhabit this area of your pet. You do not wash it off, it dries on your pet and you can reapply around once a week. It sort of reminds me of a Tea Tree oil smell. But the smell only lasts an hour or two so don’t worry that it will smell bad all week.

It really isn’t all that bad and just remember the agony and pain your pet is suffering from the flea bites and skin rashes so that will allow you to tolerate the smell till your pet is cured. If I had simply gone with a lime sulfur dip right away I would have saved around $150  on my miniature pomeranian for all those other shampoos, conditioners, spray, and ointments that simply reduced the inflammation for a few days but never cured it. Learn from my experience and give a lime sulfur dip a chance.

It is great for Demodex mites, ringworm, mange, scabies, flea allergies, lice, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal. It is also just a great all-purpose skin treatment for your dog or cat when nothing else seems to work. Try it your pet will thank you.

Here is my miniature pom which had suffered from terrible allergies and hot spots and just experienced sheer misery that the vet couldn’t ever seem to treat. Well, a lime-sulfur dip cleared up all her irritations after four weeks of use and now I only have to do an occasional maintenance treatment. She is so much healthier and happier!

Pyrethrin  Flea Dip for Dogs and Cats

A long time ago I found a poor stray kitten in my yard that was infested with fleas and I tried almost everything but nothing seemed to work was told by a vet about this flea dip After I dipped her in the solution I  could see the fleas full off and die for about an hour.. she was so much happier and then I could begin standard medication with Frontline. She is now almost 15 years old and I can’t imagine life without her. This is a great solution when your pet needs immediate relief.

Consider this as an emergency/quick-fix solution.

 

Consider making or buying a flea trap to monitor if fleas have returned

If you want to periodically test if the fleas are back a flea trap is a good idea. Here is the one I use but as a cost-saving tip, I suggest you do not buy those re-fill disks. Instead, I simply pour some soapy water into the dish instead. The fleas are attracted to the warmth and light and drown in the soapy water.

You can also make your own in a pinch. A dish with some soapy water and a tea candle will also work but you have to be careful to watch the candle as a fire hazard. Or maybe you have an old desk lamp you could use and convert into a flea trap with a dish. Just make sure the dish is not too high so the fleas can jump in easily and drown. The soapy water is actually far more effective than the sticky paper also which can dry out quickly allowing fleas to escape. The water is 100% effective. You need the soap though or they will jump out of the water so don’t forget a few drops.

Boric acid and Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade to control fleas

The next products you might  want to add to your anti-flea arsenal are good old-fashioned Boric acid and Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. You should be able to buy these locally from a lawn and garden supply store or Wal-Mart or similar but I included the links to Amazon if you can’t find them locally.  Finally, you will need a dust dispenser. Here is the one I use. Simply combine about two or 3 parts Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade to 1 part  Boric acid. Mix them up well. Then dust your carpet, floors, under beds, chairs, anywhere you think fleas might live.

Personally, I like to leave the powder on a full day. Some people say a few hours are enough but I rather err on the side of caution and 24 hours to kill as many as possible. Then vacuum and clean the powder. This combination seems to work far better than either powder alone. The powder coats the fleas and basically desiccates and kills them. This will do a good job of quickly and safely eradicating adult live fleas. Then spray your house with the Precor for any stragglers that survived. Putting a flea collar in your vacuum bag is also a good idea to make sure none survive. Boric acid or Diatomaceous Earth alone will both kill fleas but together they are far more effective.

Don’t forget to kill fleas in your yard

This stuff really works! I can vouch for this product and use it strategically around shaded areas I know that tend to have fleas. Zodiac Yard & Garden Spray protect your pet by defending your yard from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests. The Zodiac Yard & Garden Spray kills 60+ insects including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, and other wood infesting insects.

This spray is used to target your lawn, trees, shrubs, rose and flower gardens and even trees without doing any harm to plants and animals. The full 32 oz jug treats up to 5,000 square feet and provides up to 4 weeks of pest control.

Additional Weapons in your war against Fleas

I would love to tell you that that flea topical alone will cure your pets of fleas but chances are it won’t. Here are a few more tips and steps to take. I have to use K9 Advantix, flea pills,  vinegar sprays, shampoos, and occasionally even flea dips or Adams spray as well. Fleas here are terrible this summer.

Keep your house clean. Mop with vinegar on hard floors or vacuum often on the carpet and put a flea collar in your bag to kill them. Find a pet-safe flea bomb or spray for the house and also one for the yard if infestation especially bad.

Vinegar really is a wonderful tool in your flea arsenal. It’s cheap, safe, and a great alternative to harsher chemicals.  Make a spray of 50/50 water and white apple cider vinegar and you can spray your dogs or cats daily and it will kill them on contact and also act as a repellant. You can safely spray them once a day and it has added benefit of making their coats soft and shiny. It is also a great all-purpose cleaner, especially for laminate flooring.

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide will help you in your ongoing was to fight fleas. If you have questions please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer. If you have additional tips, techniques, or products you recommend please include those as well.I would especially like to hear how well you did after reading my guide so please post those comments as well.

Please remember you are in a war with fleas not fighting a battle. You must be diligent and consistent or they will return in force. I live in an area of Georgia well-known for large amounts of fleas and ticks so if I am able to win my war against fleas then so can you. Our pets are our children and they are helpless. It is your job as their protector to educate yourself and I hope this guide has helped.

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By Alan Wood

Musings of an unabashed and unapologetic liberal deep in the heart of a Red State. Crusader against obscurantism. Optimistic curmudgeon, snark jockey, lovably opinionated purveyor of wisdom and truth. Multi-lingual world traveler and part-time irreverent philosopher who dabbles in writing, political analysis, and social commentary. Attempting to provide some sanity and clarity to complex issues with a dash of sardonic wit and humor. Thanks for visiting!

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