Why Can’t I Just Use My Pet’s Topical Tick Control?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham

Month-after-month you quickly and easily protect your pets against ticks. Topical treatments such as Advantix or Frontline are applied to your pet’s skin by squeezing through fur as close to the skin as possible, then the medicine diffuses itself through the oils of their skin and into their hair follicles. It continues to release itself and protect all month long.

Once a month and you don’t have to think about ticks bothering your pets again. Humans, on the other hand, have to check themselves at the end of every outing. Repellent has to be applied and reapplied every few hours. What a pain! If topical “spot on” repellents work for our pets why can’t we use something like this ourselves? Thomas Mather, an entomologist and the director of the TickEncounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island, has a fairly simple answer for us… we are just too clean.

Too Many Baths

When you are checking your kids for ticks after a long day out in the woods or maybe by the creek you are probably thinking… too clean? Are you sure? But the truth is humans just take too many baths for topical treatments to work over that length of time. We would wash it off and have to continue to reapply. Sounds about like what we do now. Collars work about the same by consistently distributing treatment from the collar to your pet. Because humans would not actually leave a similar item on, it just wouldn’t work with intermittent wearing. Great for pets, just not so great for humans.

What Ingredient Makes My Dogs Tick Control Work?

These types of topical tick control use different kinds of ingredients. Frontline uses Fipronil, also used in agriculture and indoor pest control but not in any products that humans use for their own protection at this point. Advantix, however, uses permethrin which is often used by humans.

It can be found in medications used to treat lice and scabies and is often used to treat clothing to protect against ticks and fleas. A tick article in Popular Science online states the following about permethrin:  “Research shows that wearing treated clothing can significantly cut down on ticks and tick bites, and the pesticide is better at warding off ticks than DEET, the ingredient in most bug sprays.” Mather developed and patented a soap made from permethrin in the early 90s, but drug companies were not interested. Mather believes that such a product could be useful but for it to ever become available to humans, a company would have to be willing to put time and money in research.

Tried and True Backyard Tick Treatment

It’s interesting to think that maybe one day there could be an easier way to protect ourselves when outdoors than having to apply repellent every single day and check and recheck at the end of our travels, but for now that’s what we are going to have to do. Thank goodness there is a better option at home. Mosquito Squad of Central Mass and the North Shore can eliminate ticks in your yard so you have nothing to protect against. Our barrier spray and tick tube combination make your yard a safe haven from ticks and an enjoyable place to relax without the need for repellents and tick checks for your entire family. Call us today and let us tell you how it all works.