Capstar for dogs: Effective flea treatment for your pup

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This article contains information about Capstar for dogs including the recommended dosage, side effects, safety guidelines and more.

Capstar is a flea treatment manufactured by Novartis containing the active ingredient nitenpyram. Unlike various other parasite treatments, Capstar only targets fleas. As an oral medication it is easier to administer and you don’t have to worry about your pet scratching it off or applying the treatment wrong. Capstar works very quickly and begins killing adult fleas in as little as 30 minutes. This drug is not effective as a preventative and as such you will likely have to use other medication such as Sentinel following treatment with Capstar.

Capstar dosage for dogs

Capstar is manufactured in different formulations for different sizes of dog (weight ranges are labelled clearly on the packaging). The smaller sized Capstar is for dogs 2 – 25 lbs in weight, whilst the larger size is for dogs weighing 25.1 to 125 lbs. You should pick the product which corresponds to the weight of your dog and administer one tablet only. If your dog weighs over 125 lbs you should give an appropriate combination of tablets which your vet can help you with. According to Novartis, Capstar is safe to give to your dog as often as once a day (24 hour intervals) though it is likely that you will only need to administer the treatment once to manage and rid your dog of all fleas.

Is Capstar safe for dogs?

Because Capstar targets only fleas your dog avoids the larger number of possible side effects associated with all-in-one parasite treatments such as Heartgard (ivermectin) for dogs. Still, there are various side effects associated with use, and you should never give Capstar to your dog without first consulting with an experienced vet. Also be aware that whilst Capstar is often considered safe for dogs between 4 to 8 weeks of age, there have been severe adverse reactions reported in dogs younger than 8 weeks and use in such instances is not advised.

Safety precautions

  • Consult with the vet before giving Capstar to your dog
  • Follow your vets instructions for preventing reinfestation after treatment
  • You will likely need to use other medication after Capstar to prevent reinfestation
  • Do not give to dogs under 8 weeks of age, or dogs weighing less than 2 lbs
  • Anticipate your dog experiencing severe itching

Capstar is not effective as a long-term treatment option for fleas, and simply provides relief to a single animal. Capstar will often be advised by your vet as only one part of a larger treatment plan. Your dog will likely experience itching as a result of the dead fleas, you should be aware that this is not a reaction to the medication itself and will almost always resolve itself with time. If your dog experiences any other side effects which appear serious or bothersome you should contact your vet.

Uses of Capstar for dogs

Capstar’s active ingredient nitenpyram is effective in the treatment of:

  • Fleas

If your dog is suffering with another form of parasite infection you will need to use a different medication.

Side effects of Capstar when given to dogs

The most common side effect is itching, which isn’t actually a reaction to the drug itself but to the dead fleas. Other side effects include fatigue, depression, salivation, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, lack of coordination, seizures (particularly in susceptible pets) and panting. If your dog suffers any unforeseen or serious side effects you should stop administering the drug and seek immediate medical attention.

Sentinel for dogs flea preventative
General information about nitenpyram

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