PetMeds® Why You Should Never Switch to Grocery Brand Flea & Tick Pet meds

Dr. Dym recommends using popular flea meds like Advantage, K9 Advantix, and Frontline Plus since imitation products could cause allergic reactions in your pet Another common scenario in the clinic is when veterinarians ask clients about which flea or tick control products they are using, and are often told over the counter products picked up at the local feed store or supermarket. As a veterinarian of nearly 20 years experience, I can tell you that many of the local topical reactions as well as rare whole body reactions, often occurs in pets treated with cheaper imitation topical spot-on products purchased over the counter.

And while rare reactions can occur with any topical pesticide, I do recommend that clients stick with the more tried and tested long standing flea and tick products such as Advantage, K9 Advantix, Frontline Plus and Revolution. Because of increasing reactions in recent years, especially with the cheaper over the counter version spot on products, the EPA is re-examining the labeling requirements, as well as precautions they will require on all such products. A statement on this is pending and should be released soon by the EPA. The important point for animal guardians to understand is that when using a topical flea and tick product that they strongly consider sticking with the ones that I mention here as being most reliable in terms of performance and safety.

This is especially important, given the increasing number of flea and tick born diseases being seen in both animals and people. However, if any rare topical, digestive, or neurological reactions occur, any such reactions should be immediately reported to not only your veterinarian and drug manufacturer, but also your local poison control center for instructions on treatment. And of course an alternative product should be chosen in the future.

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  1. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    The FDA does try to police for these reactions and take the necessary steps to lessen the risks to our pets.

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    However Trish on many occasions even veterinary cardiologists have recommended monthly heartguard or equivalent to animal guardians sometimes in treating positive dogs if they are risk for reaction to the approved immiticide product for heartworm adult killing. Usually 1-2 consecutive years of continuous use many dogs will go negative, however they should be kept calm. In dogs on year round prevention, every other year testing is fine in my book and opinion.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Most likely secondary bacterial or less likely yeast infections from underlying allergies. Also possible to have overactive immune response to skin called autoimmune disease causing these blisters. Best to have vet exam and assessment to sort these out. Many of these dogs will need oral antibiotics and/or oral prednisone if immune mediated illness. Biopsy is sometimes needed for definitive diagnosis.

  4. It’s still MY DOG….no vet should have the right to control what I do or don’t do with my dog. Why don’t we just put everyone in a bubble so we don’t get hurt or get toenjoy life because of everyone’s “fears”. It’s STUPID!!!!

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 30, 2010 at 8:36 am

    As you dog’s legal animal guardian, you certainly have a right to do or not do with your dog in terms of treatment, testing,etc

  6. Sure as my \dog’s legal guardian\ I can do everything but giving heartworm meds without a vet’s permission. I still believe it’s a money scheme and not the true \concern\ for OUR dogs. I LOVE my dogs and would never hurt them. They’re my kids so why would I give them something that would hurt them? I know my dogs better than any vet (just like my own kids) and it’s wrong to force us to have a vet visit just so we can buy heartworm meds. It’s still the same answer…..if they have heartworms (with or without the meds) they will die. If they don’t get the meds, they’ll still get heartworms and die. So by withholding the meds, you’re trying to hurt our dogs. There’s no reason for withholding the meds. Bottom line….it’s a scheme. The end!

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Your point of view is well taken and acknowledged.

  8. We switched from Vet Rx Frontline to “Grocery Brand” Harts Advance Flea and Tick because …
    1. Frontline gave my 4 year previous Sheltie immediate stomach problems – vomit and runny anal discharge.
    2. Frontline gave my 2 year Boston occasional same effects above.
    3. Any thing from my vet is $$$$ and althought they say they price match to the point of not losing $$$ … they dont allow any Rx from Pet Meds.
    I now have a new Sheltie pup and would reconsider but
    our vet said the Harts is milder with differ ingredients that may wear off sooner. This might be good.
    How do the ingredients differ and what effects should they produce ?

  9. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Different main ingredient. I would contact hartz company to find out difference. The hartz product may be effective for you. Just that sometimes I have seen occasional side effects from over the counter topical flea meds, however if hartz works well for you, by all means stick with it. Similar type of reactions can be seen i .e upset stomach, etc.

  10. Funny that a professional who has so clearly pimped himself out to 1-800-petmeds frowns upon vets choices being influenced by big brands

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I am sorry you feel that way. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

  12. I used over the counter flea meds on my cat and she became so paranoid she wouldn’t even step on the carpet anymore. So I switched to Advantage and she was paranoid for 1 week but it did not work for ticks. I’m afraid to add another dose because she has finally come out of be paranoid. But I do have to switch again because it doesn’t work on ticks. I don’t think switching all the time is good for her.

  13. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Some cats are sensitive to any topical products. You can try natural products as well which may not work as well but might be worth a shot given sensitivity. Try one of collars from if she reacts to all of the topicals.

  14. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I cant speak for the other sources but can only say that the heatguard from 1800petmeds is the one made by the drug company. Your observations about status of over the counter meds/drugs is duly noted. The price matching game, etc has gone on for years between vets and the on line pharmacies. Most states however require that vets supply a written prescription to any client who asks for heartworm prevention medicine from an online pharmacy like 1800petmeds, as long as pet has active current client/patient relationship with your veterinarian and has received a heartworm test within a 1-2 year period of time in most cases.

  15. This is all really very simple.

    Every brand is a PESTICIDE.

    Yes, just like those we buy at Home Depot with the giant labels about toxicity to people and pets if we want to spray our homes.

    My dog nearly died from Promeris, but all brands are PESTICIDES — that’s why the EPA, not the FDA regulates them.

    Given how poorly they work and toxic they are, I don’t use anything on my dogs.

  16. Catherine Jennifer FJanuary 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

    RE: NRUSSELL Are you kidding..How dare you even think PetMeds would tell us anything that would ever threaten our pets? This is the 1st time the 1st website that doesn’t ask me if I liked what they said 7 if I did to pay them a certain amount instead this dr.actually explained everything in detail as far as seeking a holistic dr. for help,if one is that paranoid as far as the buck,you have to trust “something!” heartworms,issue over& over..when your negativity is just as bad! Are we to buy nothing? Should we all listen to you ,by sharing the same paranoia re: money? I agree that not all vets are so nice in fact I almost sued one for intimidation,& dormant rage”{who knew this moron was also a maniac too} screaming out loud all over a cat that had a “CHIP” but didn’t bother to ask the X owners if the cat had any health issues.allergies instead he threatened to kick me out if I asked him “why didn’t they look for her over 3 months+?”{live in same community} igniored all posts..just let her get away?no way I don’t just loose my pets! awareness is normal,what kind of people are that subtle as to say “oh yeah she got out” what? so what do I give my 3 yr old cat female for fleas while indoors?Thank you
    does she need some vitamins for immune system heartgueard?AND what to do about dander {Black}cat.also please tell me hard food “low ph balace,good or should they have both wet food like tuna in water w/ small am’t of olive oil instaed of the oil the tuna comes with re: urinery issues{no thanks!} my beloved Rustie had one stone,thank God but that stone almost killed him..
    Do ALL cats end up w/ urinery issues my friend doesn’t have this problem,,so what food will she eat
    Should she eat hard food is not good forever I read this,,Thank you!

  17. Catherine Jennifer FJanuary 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

    This poor little orphan unloved bordering on ferell I swear,the more I know her,,the vet wouldn’t allow me to contact the X owner,,they live in the same community{hate community living after living on Long Island ny over 30+yrs don’t believe what they say about “The Country Life”unless you’re rich or have a great am’t of intyerest each month from substancial monies.{income} the onlt vet here & he cared more re; the cat’s found Chip than he did about her health,by not giving me any info or asking if she had allegies finally I spoke to owner passive saying “yeah she got out” I wanted to tell her how I really felt like why did you invest in a fancy Chip meanwhile not answwered one post on one ttree?creepo’s 24 Hour Pet Watch”pa] said the law staed because they didn’t look for her no way would they get her back get her back? forget it they didn’t want her to begin with,telling the vet they work all day {8+hrs outside?} if she’s attached now to the cat she can keep her she’ll just go back there anyway [which is true but this immature whench Nicole refuses to send me her signed over form so the Chip #{& my name] could be switched to me..she’ll never “oh yeah she got out”,,but isn’t this the princeipal? She refuses to answer my calls! The volenterrs at Pike County Humane Society knew all along who she was..trying to protect her identity not the fact that I knew nothing re:her health issues volenteers are martyrs many times the shelter is depressing don’t know if the nastiness from the girls there are creating such oppresive atmosphere or if the sad sack dogs faces are just because they’re sooo happy it is great need of work,nobody speaks out here in eastern Pa I believe people ARE like their towns The X owners refuse to give me the signed paper for 24 Hour pet watch” upion agreement that the Chip goes in my name,,”Oh she got out” was her sentiment devoid of emotion the cat was bordering on ferell from lack of love what I wanted to tell her I couldn’t until now never a thnk you for taking care of her never one word,one humble,normal emotion from this whench!What good was the fancy Chip & the money they spent when they didn’t care if the cat was gone she’s onlt 3 yrs old,!! I know she wasn’t aware of what a kiss was,,right,a kiss,her head actually backed away,as if to say what was that? These people are discusting she lied telling me she was an indoor cat no way she pined too long wanting to go out now she no longer “roams” around,I can just imagine the locked doors she had to face each night she didn’t leave me there she was runninbg back to the car when I got home this was before I made her an indoor cat,but she’s bored I must buy her a cat tree,,we’re snowed in,what could I do to appease her boredome until then?
    she sleeps allot that’s good,,but where did she sleep before when I took her ,,she slept for 10 hrs {sleep deprived} I thought she was dead! This little girl is no longer alon no animal is immune from “recognizing love & affection” I don’t like the word”LAP DOG” or LAP CAT..NO animal is just for ones LAP..They know what love is when they get it just as they rememebr when they didn’t!

  18. I’d like to know more about Capstar and Program(?) — results from cat guardians etc. Have two felines; 1)female shorthair tortoiseshell w/siamese ancestry,8yrs & 2)male Maine Coon, 2yr old. Advantage doesn’t work on them now, so am considering Frontline or Capstar. Female/Gidget not afraid of anything and even tolerates flea treatment well. Male/Tiggar was found in bushes at gated comm. @ 6 wks, only1 lb, very scared due to situation and raccoons. Both are indoor only. Something recently seriously frightened him, probably while on front porch, so he is keeping himself in our bdrm/brm ( only ventured out once, then back in). Have to take food/water to him.

    Advice welcomed.

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Program is a noninsectidal product that sterilizes adult fleas and breaks the flea life cycle at that point but is not a repellant. Capstar is a topical insectidal product often useful during active flea infestations that kills adult fleas, etc within a few hours. It is usually used short term during an acute infestation usually in combination with program for more longer term flea control.

  20. I have a 2 year old germanshepperd/rockweller mixed male dog. I think, don’t no for sure, but he has always been very activie, but know he is just dragging around and not being so playful as usual. I think he may have gotten into some mice poision. what should I do to make him feel better

  21. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    If you are concerned about possible mouse poison exposure, always best to have veterinary exam and possibly blood work to check clotting times as may need special antidoting medicine.

  22. I have 10 beautiful cats and love them all. There is a woods area in back of my house and on the side of property. My cats get exercize and scratch their old claws off on the trees and stay healthy. The problem is that I have to spend upward from $100.00 pr. mo. on flee prevention. These cats were all strays that other people left behind when they moved away.Please, can’t you come up with a lower price to help us?

  23. The cost of Medical and support for pets {Flea Tick Heartworm Vet other} often contributes to the number of strays in the world.
    People just give up on anything rhat requires comitment.
    My previous shelter rescue was a perfect full breed Sheltie that was turned out to walk the streets with no tags and no one looking for her.
    Few people care and Vets are very bottom line cost cautious.
    It will only get worst as the world and economic conditions sour.

  24. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately medical costs are high for both people and animals during tough economic times.

  25. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Dont know about lower price for good flea control products. Unfortunately most of the good ones for this many cats will cost a decent amount.

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