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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm trying to save money without compromising the health of my dog, Rocky, a 2 year old 10 lb poodle.

Up 'till now, I've bought his monthly heartworm, flea & tick meds from the vet.

I'm considering continuing with Heartgard Plus; however, instead of a pill or a topical solution for the flea & tick prevention, I am considering a spray. I'm concerned about neurological side effects of long-term use, like seizures, which can happen without any overt, obvious signs.

AKC store offers Pure & Natural Pet Flea & Tick Spray - The con is that the description says to spray on every time the dog is taken for a walk.

If you have any experience with the above products or opinions, I appreciate any feedback and insight.

I really want to do the best for my furbaby.
 

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Just seeing this. I spend a lot of time in the deep woods with my dogs, and they've had their share of ticks and mosquitoes. When they were younger, I tried several sprays hoping for a natural, less toxic solution to creepy crawlies. Unfortunately, they didn't work for us. I think it was a combination of several things: (1) we were in the deep woods, where there's a high volume of ticks etc.; (2) the dogs would get wet - they'd jump in every creek, stream, river, and lake we came upon, washing the spray off; (3) for the human specifically (because I was game to try non-DEET sprays), I would sweat through the spray in the first 20 minutes.

My takeaway was that sprays, whether for the dog or the human, were likely adequate for a summer walk around our neighborhood, but didn't have the strength or staying power for use in the woods.

However, it's been at least 5 years since I experimented. Maybe there are better products out there?
 

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I sincerely appreciate your response. I used to walk with him on wooded park trails until he's gotten a few episodes of burrs and I subsequently spent an hour, each time, removing all of them. He only goes to dog sitters and walks around the neighborhood and city streets.
 

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Then it's worth a try. I had the most luck with a tomato based spray. It sounds gross, but the active ingredient was originally identified in tomatoes, hence the moniker. Here's some science. From a quick google search, it looks like there are many commercially available sprays using this compound. While not marketed for dogs, I found it worked well on me, and since it didn't have any chemicals harmful to dogs, I used it on them as well. I did not have much luck with the essential oil sprays.
 

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Yes, do continue with the heartworm medicine. Preventative is cheaper and less worrisome than the cure, and the medicine very rarely has side effects. I’d say a flea/tick spray is fine in your case, so long as you apply it when you go outside every time. I use a collar (lasts 7 months, supposedly) but we live in a heavily infested area with lots of places for unwanted visitors to hitch a ride and transfer disease.
 

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@Liz I looked at the link you sent and researched it more. I found the natural tomato compound has been developed into BioUD. The downside is that it needs to be reapplied every 4 hours. When I work, Rocky's at the sitter's home all day long. I need to research the medication option more and decide on a med.
 

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@FloofyPoodle Having volunteered at my local humane society and seeing a number of dogs with heartworm disease, I understand heartworm medicine is absolutely mandatory. I appreciate your insight.
 

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I’m not the norm but I don’t give any flea, ticks or heart worm medication to my toy poodles.

I’ve weighed the pros and cons and the risk of giving these chemicals to my 6 and 8 lbs dogs far outweigh the risk of them getting heart worm, ticks and fleas (I’ve looked at statistics for my area, and considering my dogs are exclusively walked in the city).

For fleas, if/when they have any I buy meds from the vet. The one that’s liquid and you once a month, between the shoulder blades. I had to give it to them once in 5 years (3 years for Beckie).

I’m taking a calculated risk, but giving them this medicine is also a risk.
 

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@Liz I looked at the link you sent and researched it more. I found the natural tomato compound has been developed into BioUD. The downside is that it needs to be reapplied every 4 hours. When I work, Rocky's at the sitter's home all day long. I need to research the medication option more and decide on a med.
I'm so sorry, somehow I missed the whole purpose of this post. Where do you live? If you live in a cold area, you may be able to skip the preventives in the winter (or longer, like Dechi). Otherwise, it's best to continue them year round. There are no reasonable substitutes.

However, you may be able to find less expensive sellers online. My vet is competitively priced, but in the past I've used California Pet Pharmacy. You can also space them out a little more. Most preventives work for 45 days (check this - my data is nearly 10 years old), so you may be able to get away with giving them every 6 weeks instead of every 4.
 

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@Liz I live in Indiana.

Fleas are opportunistic.

Adult fleas can be found on pets and wildlife throughout the winter. “Protected areas—such as areas under homes, barns and wildlife dens—can stay warm and humid enough to support flea infestations through the winter,”

Once a home is infested, fleas can live their entire life cycle inside a home.

Rocky goes to more than one in-home doggy daycare and is around different and new dogs on a regular bases. I don't want to take a chance and will look into year-round flea and tick protection.

If Rocky wasn't around new dogs or went to doggy daycare, I would consider doing what Dechi does as she is able to keep her dogs safe and healthy.
 
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