It’s that time of year again; the sun is shining, the snow has finally melted for good, the flowers and trees are blooming.
Cookouts rule the long, warm days and campfires rule the cool nights.
Summer is here.
But with summer comes the bloodsucking and disease bearing pests – fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and the IRS.
And right along with them comes my biannual trip to the pet store for buying flea and tick control.
Like other parents of furbabies, we want the best product available to keep our four-legged kids protected from all the nasty biting things.
But let’s be honest – we all cringe when we drop $300 at the vet’s office or your favorite online or brick and mortar store for a little box containing itty bitty tubes of prevention every 6 months.
After a quick sales pitch highlighting the product’s active ingredient as the same as my usual major brand and a much lower price tag, I decided to give it a try on just one of the dogs – you know, what could it hurt? – and also so that there was a good comparison of the two products (you can’t teach an old dog new tricks …).
Besides – who doesn’t want to save a couple hundred bucks a year?
So I grabbed a pack (for use on 45-88 pound dogs), invested part of my savings into a Grande Unicorn Frappe, and headed home with my tiny tubes of liquid gold – and my pride.
Do’s and Don’ts
Like most products along these lines you should NOT use PetArmor Plus on cats.
PetArmor does offer a feline version of their product, but because of a cat’s system, and their tendency to groom anything they can get their tongues on, this family of products is fatal when absorbed or ingested.
Also, make sure you’re able to apply the product. I know, as silly as that sounds – it’s actually kind of a big thing.
If you’ve got a squirmy little perpetual motion machine that’s running laps around the house in their sleep, make sure you’re able to hold the little escape artist motionless long enough to apply the product.
Otherwise, a pill form might be more appropriate.
Oh, and never use on puppies under 8 weeks and NEVER use on any dog (of any age) that is less than 4 pounds.
Easy to apply
Snip and squeeze – can flea and tick treatment possibly get any easier than this? The six-pack (6 month of coverage) of tubes easily snap apart.
Then – pointing the top away from your face, just in case – snip the end off. The package insert recommends applying the product all in one spot, between the shoulder blades. There’s no need to comb it through or massage it in.
Breaks the flea life cycle
Killing – and repelling – the nasty flea is all well and fine, but what about the eggs? Larva? PetArmor Plus doesn’t offer only one facet of protection.
By targeting and breaking the life cycle of the flea, you’re ensuring the best type of management; prevention and treatment at the same time by 1) driving any live fleas off your dog at the time they hop on, and 2) killing existing fleas, larvae, and eggs.
More than just Lyme disease
Although it’s the most popular concern this time of year, ticks spread more than just the dreaded Lyme disease.
There are six – yes, six – major diseases in addition to Lyme that are spread to canines by ticks that are potentially fatal if left untreated. There are numerous other less-common diseases as well.
If this isn’t motivation enough for you get out and grab some protection, just remember that many tick-borne illnesses are spread to humans, too.
That means when the tick has had his fill of Fluffy and drops off, it’s a gamble if it reattaches to your dog – or YOU.
Convenient dosage schedule
Once a month. That’s it. In less than 60 seconds you can be confident that your precious pooch will remain flea and tick free for 30 days.
No worrying that every time Tank runs through high grass that he’s bringing home Lyme disease to share with your family, or if you have a doggie play date, that they’re bringing home extra little jumping friends to take over your home.
No pre- or post- play treatment required. One tube and they’re done. Repeat in 30 days.
- For use on dogs only
- Single-tube application
- Controls fleas, ticks, lice, and controls mange infestations
- Available in 4 packages, based on canine weight;
- Up to 22 lbs
- 23 – 44 lbs
- 45 – 88 lbs
- 89 – 132 lbs
The Good (Pros)
It sounds silly, but I liked the separate calendar card they enclosed in the box. With multiple dog households like mine, you mark the name of the dog and dates of application and stick it on the fridge.
I know – sometimes it’s the little things that make me happy. Simple things for simple folk I suppose – but whatever works to keep the protection current, especially if for whatever reason they are not on the same application day.
The packaging took convenience to a whole other level. I usually have to use a crowbar and three sticks of dynamite to break into each individually foil-wrapped tube of my regular brand – but not with PetArmor.
Simply snap one tube away from the others. Snip the top off, and away you go.
Application was a breeze, too.
I followed the recommendation my vet made several years ago for applying liquid treatment; rather than squirting the contents into one puddle, I followed her spine from about her mid back up to the center of her shoulders, leaving a few drops every couple of inches.
This allows for easier application on two levels; because your hands parting their hair is masking the feel of the application, as well as helping to avoid skin irritation from a single-zone, concentrated application of the product.
The Bad (Cons)
Simply put, this product didn’t work on my dog.
A few days after application, I noticed she started to scratch.
On the weekends we take all the kids out to a nature area with a grassy field to romp without leashes, and then down the trail to a wooded area with a stream to play in the water.
Because of the thick canopy of trees, and the water, this area is usually teaming with mosquitos in the middle of the day – and my poor girl was constantly stopping to bite back.
She found some relief splashing in the water with the others – she always enjoys the water! – but heading back into the woods the biting started again.
When I dried her off before getting back into the truck, I saw it.
There was a tick on my baby girl.
The Ugly (Worse Cons)
I pretty much knew we were in trouble when, about an hour after application, I noticed that my girlie had multiple little bald patches everywhere I put the PetArmor Plus.
I don’t mean greasy spots where the hair matted over that looked like bald spots – I mean the hair was gone. >>POOF<< the hair was GONE!
Since the drops were already applied, I decided to run with it. The weekend romp settled it in my mind that the product was not appropriate for our family.
A quick visit with my vet the following week confirmed the reaction and to discontinue use of the product – and a small lecture about switching products without research up front.
Unfortunately, she confirmed that I shouldn’t apply another product until this one had reduced concentration on my dog. Not even powders or sprays could be used because of the amplification of effects and potential toxicity.
As a result we were in for about a month of baths and flea combing after every outing and trip to the park.
Oh yeah, my dog loved that.
Her poor skin was so irritated that by the end of the month we stopped going out of the house for more than a potty run.
30 days later – and an application of my regular product – we were out of quarantine and on the trails.
Like with any pet medication – you should only purchase this product from a reputable source, such as your veterinary office, your local pet supply shop, or a trusted online retailer. Like everything from purses to little blue ED pills, there are overseas knock-offs flooding the market.
And while getting purse-shamed when your Coach bag is called out as fake can be distressing – when it comes to medications (human or animal) it can be a matter of life or death.
The convenience of dosing by weight makes purchasing the product easier – but make sure you have the correct weight of your dog before purchase. The little ball of fur you thought weighed 21 pounds might actually be 25, or your 90 lb Rottie might actually be only 84.
Never mix-n-match tubes, or buy a double size thinking you’re going to use half a tube and get double for your money. It don’t work that way.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research. There are many reputable products that are generic formulas and work perfectly fine.
But in this day of Google and Amazon, there’s no excuse for not arming yourself with a little information before making a new purchase, or changing brands.
There were several lessons learned in my experience with PetArmor Plus®;
Like with human medication, it’s not just about the primary ingredient. We all know someone who can take the name brand of a medication, but not the generic – or vice-versa.
The ‘inert’ compounds can change the way a product works in a body, which can mean life or death for your pet.
These inert ingredients – while harmless on their own – can change the way a medication acts, reacts, or is absorbed.
Do your research
Know if there’s an open or recently settled class action lawsuit against the product – and why.
CAL’s are started everyday for frivolous reasons. Remember the action against Subway because their ‘footlong’ wasn’t actually 12″? Like I said – frivolous.
But sometimes these lawsuits can be warning flags about something going on with a product that might not make it worth the savings. Knowledge is power.
Every dog is different
I know several people who use this product without any problems. Like any other animal (humans included), sensitivities to ingredients and amounts vary.
If your canine is already on PetArmor Plus® and doing well – and it’s keeping all the nasties away – then that’s great! Keep it up.
It’s not always about the money
I’ve said it for years, about many things, “If it was all about the money, we’d all be driving Yugo’s.” It’s not always just about the price tag.
Yes, in these days where the economy and job market doesn’t know what it’s doing from one minute to the next, it’s hard not to keep a grip on the wallet.
There are areas to cut a bit, and there are areas not to. It’s important that YOU do what is right for YOU and your four legged kids.
Bottom line: The PetArmor Plus ® is not the same as K9 Advantix®, and the associate clearly had no real understanding of the product past the superficial sales pitch.
Although PetArmor Plus does boast the same primary ingredient as Frontline™ (Fipronil), it is not the same chemical compound or end product – as we’ve seen, the ancillary ingredients can make a huge difference in the absorption or action of the medication.
That being said, if your dog is on PetArmor Plus ® and doing well – especially if he has been on it for some time – then there is really no reason to make any change based on this review, or the 2012 class action lawsuit.
Remember: Every dog is different.
In my personal experience, K9 Advantix II (check out my review) keeps away the fleas, ticks, biting flies, and mosquitos without any side effects on any of my dogs.
And my dogs agree.