I just recently returned from the vet (a major chain) and after Gohan was given a clean bill of health, the vet advised that I immediately put him on monthly heart worm and spot flea control. I have always had a problem with spot flea control - every month? It goes on the skin but doesn't effect any other organ? That's a bit unbelievable even for the most naive of us.
In Mookie, Nikki, and Squeekie's 17 years of life, we only had 3 major flea out breaks:
1) Early nineties, Never made it to my house - I took the dogs on a trip to New Jersey and walked them at a rest stop. Ugh! Their feet were covered in five minutes! We traveled on the turnpike until we found a pet store and sprayed the car down and them. When we reached our destination, everyone got a flea bath.
2) 1997 - when we housed a friend's dog that had a mild infestation. This was the worst because it is the time I accidently used puppy spot treatment on the cat. I nearly killed her: her fur fell out at the point of contact, she meowed incessantly and was extremely lethargic. The only advice I received from the pet poison control number on the box was to wait it out. It was the worse 24 hours of our lives up until then and Squeekie (8 years old at the time) never forgot it.
3) Last November - 2007 Nikki (then 17 years old) had been nosing around on a neighbor's lawn. I don't have fleas in my back or front yards since I use natural pest controls. She came home with the worst infestation on her face and head. I immediately bathed her and all of her bedding, vacuumed all of the rugs and furniture, sprayed down the house and we all left for the day. Gohan had no signs of infestation, but he got the same treatment. I gave them both a spot treatment later that week. Nikki died a month later of old age issues. I'll never know if it was exacerbated by the treatment.
Anyway, I'm not a real fan of monthly pesticide treatments for living things. Chemicals change the make up of cells and that's not always good. As you can see from above, I only used the treatments after infestations - usually for 3 to 6 months, and otherwise used IPM (Integrated Pest Management) systems and treatments the rest of the time. Here's a bit of ironic craziness: Spot Drop manufacturers admit that the products may cause pets 25% life span reduction.
So now that it's spring in Washington, DC I'm looking for an effective way to keep 'big head' dawgie flealess. Being a larger dog, he is more apt to get into trouble (slip out the fence and run the neighborhood, eating other dog's food - what a clown).
I found this cedar based treatment on the 'net today. Called CedarCide, it was supposedly developed for the U.S. Army to combat desert sand fleas. I might just give it a try (and Gohan will smell like a felled tree in the forest). BEST YET KIT
Whole Dog Journal article: Spot-On Pesticides Are Not Safe