Why Is Your Dog Acting Weird After Flea Medicine?

Flea and ticks treatments are largely safe for dogs and are fundamental to keep your dog healthy and to protect them from nasty diseases brought by parasites, however, some dogs may have strong reactions to the medicines.

If your dog is acting weird after a flea treatment or it’s feeling sick, the first thing you should do is to alert your veterinarian. Dogs sometimes may experience serious symptoms after flea treatments and they may even get worse with time. That’s why prompt intervention is the only way to make sure your dog will be fine.

Why your dog act weird after flea medicine?

Some dogs are simply uncomfortable with the sensation of having something applied to their skin, but others may be experiencing allergic reactions or even intoxication.

A dog that is freaking out after a flea treatment might end up hurting themselves and others. Some dog owners report that their dogs completely go crazy after the medication, probably in a desperate attempt to get rid of it.

On the other side of the spectrum, a dog that is lethargic after the flea medication maybe even more worrying. However, lethargy is actually quite a common side-effect of many medications.

Some pet owners report that their dogs have always been fine with the usual flea medication until suddenly they were not. The reason why your dog is suddenly acting weird could be psychological or physical.

Maybe your dog developed some kind of trauma related to the moment you gave them the medicine, or maybe some components of the medicine were slightly changed and have now a different effect on your dog.

Using low-quality products, products that have passed their expiration date, or products that are not designed for the size of your dog might also be reasons why your dog is having odd reactions to the treatment.

Are flea treatments toxic to dogs?

If you’re wondering whether your flea medicine makes your dog sick, know that flea treatments, like all other medicines, need to go through a long series of tests before they reach the market.

However, as with all medicines and considering that every human and every animal is unique, there might be cases where your dog and their flea medication just don’t get along.

We cannot forget these medicines exist to fight parasites and as such, they contain pesticides. In their original form, these aren’t things you would want anywhere near your dog.

These are some of the most common components found in flea medication:

– Pyrethrins and pyrethroids: pyrethrins come from the Chrysanthemum cineraria folium plant, while pyrethroids are synthetic, though they share similarities between the two. Bad ingestion of these components will affect the nervous system of your dog, especially with small, old, or sick dogs.

– Organophosphates: they derive from phosphoric acid and are very dangerous in the wrong doses. They are used in gardening products too. If your dog licked the flea medicine or ingested this component in any way, you should bring them to the vet.

– Indoxacarb: this chemical is synthetic oxadiazines and is used in crop pesticides. Used alone, it is effective against fleas, but not against ticks. It is used in combination with permethrin to fight tick infestation. An overdose of indoxacarb can cause severe symptoms of intoxication such as drooling and fainting.

Natural flea treatments.

Quick research online will tell you that there are natural alternatives to “industrial” medication for flea and ticks.

We live in a time when it’s very easy to distrust the so-called Big Pharma and we’re always wondering whether what we’re giving to our pets is medicine or poison.

While the concern is completely understandable, going for natural treatments doesn’t mean going for less dangerous medication. In fact, many natural products contain ingredients that are bad for your dog.

For example, natural flea treatments containing tea tree oils like Eugenol could be very uncomfortable for your pet because they’re very irritating and could burn their skin.

If you’re uncomfortable with current flea treatment products or if your dog is not reacting well to them, you should always talk with a professional first. All in all, isn’t it better to trust your veterinarian than some stranger on the Internet?

What should you do if your dog is sick after the flea treatment?

The wise thing to do when a dog is acting strangely after a flea treatment is to take them to the veterinarian and have them checked up.

A dog allergic to flea medication may start acting out of the ordinary or show symptoms of sickness right after the medication and prompt intervention is fundamental to prevent further complications.

Not all dogs show severe symptoms, but when your dog looks restless after a flea treatment, there is something going on. This simple restlessness may turn into more concerning symptoms, so you should get them examined.

If it’s after-hours and you’re worried about the medical bill, call your veterinarian, describe the type of medication, and explain the symptoms. It’s hard to make a diagnosis over the phone, but they may be able to tell you if your dog can wait till morning so you can go to your usual clinic.

In the case, you’re using sprays, powders, or topical medication, you should wash your dog with a mild detergent like Dawn and warm water immediately after they start acting weird and before bringing them to the vet. This way, you can remove the medication from their skin and possibly slow down the intoxication.

If your dog is vomiting after a flea treatment and they’re under pills, check to see if you find the tablets in the vomit. If you do, don’t give them another dose and call your veterinarian to discuss how to proceed.

If the dog is vomiting and shows symptoms of sickness after digesting the tablet, bring them in for an examination.

What you should not do if your dog is sick after the flea treatment.

No matter the kind of medication you’re using on your pet, if your dog starts acting weird, absolutely avoid doing the following:

– Do not induce vomiting in your dog unless you’re instructed to do so by your veterinarian;

– Do not underestimate the symptoms: even if your dog is simply running around or scratching themselves, a preventive call to your vet is a must;

– Do not throw away the medicine package: in the case of intoxication, it will be needed to check the components and identify the right antidote for your pet;

– Do not give your dog another dose of medicine without consulting your veterinarian first. Too much flea medication on your dog can have harmful consequences.

Side effects of flea and tick medication.

You can expect quite a bit of scratching after applying a flea treatment, but that’s completely normal because the chemicals in the medication will make fleas hyperactive before dying and your dog may feel irritated because of it.

Unfortunately, obsessive scratching may also be the symptom of allergies, so it’s up to you to draw a line between one and the other based on your personal knowledge of your dog and other possible symptoms.

Things get serious if your dog has a completely adverse reaction to the medicine. If they do, they could develop poisoning symptoms and in rare cases, they could die.

Serious intoxication is more likely to happen when there is a wrong dosage or over-dosage of the medicine, or if your dog ate the flea medicine.

Symptoms of flea and tick medicine intoxication in dogs.

Symptoms may vary from mild to serious depending on the reaction your dog will have, but you can usually notice one or more of these signs:

– Allergic reaction: itching, swelling, skin rash, congestion, coughing, shortness of breath, watery/red eyes, shock, death (rare).

– Mild reaction: drooling, muscle twitching, paw flicking, vomiting, diarrhea, mild depression.

– Severe reaction: recurring vomiting or diarrhea, depression, lack of coordination, nosebleeds, seizures.

Diagnosis can only be done through a thorough medical examination and taking into account your dog’s medical history.

Bring the medicine with you and take note of how many times you’ve given them this treatment if you have other pets you’ve given the same treatment to, and what was their reaction, and when you first started to notice the symptoms.

How to choose the right flea treatment for your dog.

You surely looked treatments up online to get an idea of what’s on the market and what seems to work for other pet parents. It’s good to be informed, but you can’t replace professional advice with research.

The right flea treatment for your dog can only be given by your veterinarian after taking into consideration many factors such as age, breed, size, overall health condition, and medical history of your dog.

There are several types of flea treatments available, so it is fairly safe to say you will find the right one for your pet. If for any reason one of these treatments won’t work well for your dog, consult your veterinarian before changing to a different one.

Types of flea and tick treatments for dogs. 

Flea and tick treatments have all the same goal and that is keeping your dog and your house safe from parasite infestation, which can cause a great deal of harm not only to your pet but to your health and that of your family as well.

These are the most common medications used by pet owners around the world:

– Oral medications: among the most loved by pet owners, usually come in tablets and are given to your dog after a meal. Some of these products not only kill fleas and ticks but also prevent diseases brought by parasites like heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Some dogs may experience side-effects such as lethargy and diarrhea.

– Topical medications: they are applied on the skin depending on the size of the dog. For small dogs, one application between the shoulders is enough, for big dogs, it’s usually recommended to apply medication from the nape and all along the spine. This product is deposited into your dog’s sweat glands and will be active for several weeks even if your dog takes a bath.

– Collars: flea medication is highly concentrated inside the collar and will spread through your dog’s body. It is very effective and can last for months, so it’s an economic option. The downside is that they usually smell very strong and can cause irritation to your pet.

– Sprays: the easiest and cheapest way to protect your dog from fleas. Sprays can last up to several months as long as the product is not washed off. Make sure to follow the instructions properly and never spray anywhere close to your dog’s eyes or mouth.

– Powders: this may be a bit of a long process because you need to rub the powder all over your dog’s body, spaces between their toes included. Of course, it’s mandatory to avoid eyes and mouth. Powders have a few side-effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, drooling, and tremors.

Shampoos: these are temporary protection against fleas and ticks, but don’t have a long-term effect so they will need to be applied often. Allow the shampoo to rest on your dog for 10-15 minutes before washing it off and be careful it doesn’t get in your dog’s eyes and mouth.

– Dips: dip is a very concentrated mix of pyrethrin (usually) and water. It can be applied with a sponge or poured over your dog, careful to avoid eyes and mouth. It doesn’t have to be washed off, you should let your dog dry naturally. It’s not recommended for puppies or pregnant dogs and you should wear protections before applying it.

How to apply the flea and tick medicine properly.

Most problems born from flea medication are due to improper or careless application. These medicines need to be applied properly to be effective and to avoid causing health issues to your dog.

Always use quality products and follow the instructions carefully. If you have doubts, discuss with your veterinarian or let them do the first application so you can learn how to do it properly.

If you have more than one pet, separate them until the product has dried off to avoid them licking it off each other.

Never apply a product if your dog’s skin is irritated, wounded, or damaged, and never use more than one product at a time. Mixing different chemicals can make your dog severely sick.

Can flea and tick medicine make a dog sick? 

In rare cases, flea and tick medicine could make dogs sick because they’re medicines with their side-effects and no dog is the same, meaning that what is good for most dogs might be harmful to your dog.

This is why it’s important to carefully select the treatment that is best for the age, size, and clinical condition of your dog, with the help of a professional.

Natural treatments are an option but don’t jump on the first one you find just because of the ‘natural’ label. Always check the ingredients thoroughly and if you’re in doubt, ask your vet.

A big role will be played by how attentive you are when giving your dog the flea treatment. Never use cheap or expired products and always check the amount you should be giving to avoid giving too much.

Flea treatments cannot be avoided, because fleas carry serious diseases that can also be lethal for your pet, so make sure to find the right medication for your buddy.