I Accidentally Gave My Dog A Double Dose Of Flea Medication (Surviving The Scare)

applying flea medication to dog

Accidentally giving your dog a double dose of flea medication can be an alarming experience. In the event that it happens, do not panic.

Immediately contact your veterinarian for advice. Closely watch your dog for any adverse reactions and put in place measures to prevent future medication errors.

Find out the symptoms of too much flea medication and what you need to do when it happens.

How Does Flea Medication Work?

To understand the dangers of a flea treatment overdose, it’s key to know how the treatment affects your dog.

There are various types of flea medication that are commonly used by dog owners:

  • Flea collar
  • Topical solution
  • Oral medication

Flea collars and topical solutions work by releasing the medication into your dog’s skin.

Your dog’s natural skin oil helps to distribute the medication throughout its skin.

This is why you should not bathe your dog before applying flea treatment as its natural skin oil has been washed off.

Oral flea medication enters your dog’s bloodstream quickly after being swallowed.

As quickly as 30-60 minutes.

When the fleas feed on your dog, they will start to consume the flea medication and perish.

Flea and tick medications generally work the same way.

Besides fleas and ticks, here are 5 other little black bugs that you can find on your dog.

What Are The Symptoms Of Flea Medicine Overdose?

Symptoms can typically take anywhere between 1-12 hours for the symptoms to show.

When your dog receives an overdose of flea medication, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms.

How quickly and badly your dog can be affected depends on your dog’s:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Existing health issues (if any)

Symptoms can typically take anywhere between 1-12 hours for the symptoms to show.

Here’s a detailed look at the potential symptoms of flea medicine overconsumption in dogs.

1. Skin Irritation Or Burns (Topical Treatments)

flea medication on dog

Applying too much topical treatment can severely irritate your dog’s skin.

This can result in redness, itching and inflammation, particularly in the area where the medication was applied.

2. Gastrointestinal Issues

This can occur with both oral and topical treatments.

Your dog can ingest too much topical treatment when your dog licks the solution off its body.

Symptoms can include nausea, excess salivation, diarrhea or loss of appetite.

Apply it between its shoulder blades which your dog can’t reach.

3. Neurological Symptoms

Neurological symptoms are worrying because it means that your dog’s nervous system is affected.

Symptoms are tremors, twitching, seizures, incoordination or unusual behavior.

4. Lethargy Or Weakness

A dog that has been treated with excess anti-flea medicine may appear unusually tired, weak or unresponsive.

This can be a sign of a systemic reaction to the medication.

5. Breathing Difficulties

In severe cases, an overconsumption can lead to respiratory issues. This can be seen as rapid breathing, panting or having trouble breathing.

6. Increased Heart Rate

An increase can be a sign of poisoning or an adverse reaction.

What Are The Immediate Steps To Take?

Call the pet poison helpline or the vet immediately. Time is of the essence in these situations.

In the event of a flea medication overdose, it is important to act quickly.

Here are the immediate steps you should take to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog.

1. Remove Excess Medication

If the overuse of flea remedy involves a topical treatment, gently wash off extra medication from your dog’s skin using mild soap and lukewarm water.

Flea collars should be removed immediately.

If your dog has ingested excess oral medication, do not induce vomiting until speaking to your vet.

2. Contact Your Veterinarian Or Pet Poison Helpline

Call the pet poison helpline or the vet immediately. Time is of the essence in these situations.

Provide information about your dog, the type of medication, the amount given and any symptoms you have observed.

If required, take your dog down to the vet immediately for treatment.

3. Monitoring And Observation

Your vet might ask you to monitor your dog at home instead if it isn’t an emergency.

Even if your dog seems fine, close monitoring over the next several hours is crucial.

A severe reaction may take time to surface.

Mild symptoms can resolve by themselves within 72 hours.

Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior, appetite and bathroom habits.

How Are Flea Medication Overdoses Treated In Dogs?

beagle getting treated at vet

Treating a flea medication overdose in dogs requires several steps. It largely depends on the severity of the overdose and the individual dog’s reaction.

Blood Work And Lab Tests

Blood tests may be necessary to assess the extent of the toxicity and its impact on the liver, kidney and other vital organs.

Medication To Counteract Effects

Specific medications can counteract the effects of excessive dosing of flea medication.

For example, seizures might be treated with anticonvulsants.

Activated charcoal can soak up leftover toxins in the dog’s stomach and intestines, stopping them from getting into the blood.

Supportive Care

This includes IV fluids for the affected dog to help flush the system, maintain hydration and support its kidney function.

Why Flea Medication Can Be Dangerous To Dogs?

These chemicals are effective against fleas and ticks but can be harmful to dogs if used improperly.

Flea and tick medications are important for your pet to keep those pesky parasites at bay.

But they can be dangerous if not used correctly.

Flea medications contain various active ingredients like Fipronil, Imidacloprid, Pyrethroids/Pyrethroid and Selamectin.

These chemicals are effective against fleas and ticks but can be harmful to dogs if used improperly.

However, brands such as Nexgard have tested the safety profile of their flea medication at higher dosages.

Some ingredients, particularly Pyrethroids, are highly toxic to cats and should never be used on them, even in small amounts.

It can also be found in garden insecticides so be mindful if your cat likes hanging out in your garden.

How to Prevent Flea Medication Overdoses?

Here are detailed steps to ensure that your dog doesn’t get into any mishaps with its flea medication.

Read And Follow Instructions Carefully

Always read the label and instructions on the flea medication package before use. Follow the dosage guidelines according to your dog’s weight.

The best way is to always consult your vet if you are unsure about anything.

Keep A Medication Schedule

Maintain a regular schedule or calendar to keep track of when your dog has been given its flea meds.

This helps prevent accidental double dosing.

Consider setting reminders on your phone or using a pet medication app to alert you when it’s time for the next dose.

Don’t Feed When You Are In A Rush

Make it a point to administer the medication to your dog when you are not in a rush or feeling flustered.

There was once when I almost gave my dog the wrong dosage when half my mind was occupied with the phone call.

Be aware of what and how much medication you are giving your dog.

Remember to always double-check the dosage to avoid accidental overdosing.

Store Medications Properly

If you have a dog that loves sticking its paws and nose in places where they don’t belong, you need to keep such medication properly.

I once fostered a dog that have the ability to open my cupboards and drawers.

There were a few close calls which made me decide to lock up all other medications as well.

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