Before we adopted Andy I had a fairly passive system in place to deal with fleas and ticks. Basically, in an effort to not expose my pets to unnecessary chemicals, I only applied flea medication if and when they actually had fleas. I know, this sounds misguided, but this system worked while we lived in Indiana because our pets never had fleas. It wasn't until we moved to Pennsylvania that we actually started having to deal with them, but even then, we were always able to keep the situation under control with our previous dog Maxwell. With Andy it's a whole different ball of wax. He attracts fleas like he's some sort of free-for-all, all-you-can-eat blood buffet!
Keeping the fleas in check last year was a real challenge. The minute I first spied a flea on Andy I treated him and the kitties with some Advantage we already had on hand. The treatment lasted about 3 weeks before I started seeing fleas again. We basically spent the next 3 or 4 months cycling between Advantage and Frontline, with very little result. Arg. I even resorted to buying a "natural" spray medication at some point, which only succeeded in making the pets oily and cinnamon scented (review forthcoming). In the end, I think it was the change of seasons that finally did the fleas in.
I never realized the far reaching effects fleas could have on my pets. Both Pablo and Diego ended up getting tapeworms from the fleas. Ew. Pablo developed a severe allergy to the flea bites. He ended up licking the fur off a good portion of his lower body. At some point it looked like he wasn't wearing "pants." It was obscene. After several visits to the vet it finally took a cortisone shot to take care of the problem. Given our struggles last year I decided we would have a whole different game plan this time around. We picked up 6 applications of a flea and tick preventative called Vectra 3D when we took Andy in to the vet last week (it came with an additional 3 applications for free) and I put it on him as soon as we got home. It wasn't cheap but hopefully it'll do the job. Will let you know what I think of the product towards the end of the summer. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight and do what you have to do to keep your pets flea and tick free!