Actually, I do not know what they have in common other than the ability to remove nail polish.

This question came to mind yesterday when I was putting on Phoebe’s monthly dose of topical flea repellant. I put it on, making sure to focus on getting it on the
skin and not the fur. Then the weirdest thing happened, her fur turned blue!ml What?!?

It made no sense until I looked at my hands.  It only took a second to find the reason; the flea repellant stripped off my nail polish (yeah, it was blue).


Being my typical over-analytical self, I decided to scour the instructions. I found some interesting comments / instructions, which I have quoted below.

PESTICIDE DISPOSAL. If partly filled: Call your local solid waste agency or 1-800-CLEANUP for disposal instructions. Never place unused product down any indoor or outdoor drain”.

Are they saying this stuff is acceptable to put on your dog, but is not safe for little fishies and sewer water?
For humans, the instructions say:

IF ON SKIN OR CLOTHING: Take off contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15-20 minutes. Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment or advice.”

Whoa! What is the big difference between Phoebe’s dog skin and mine?
I don’t know.

My doggie mentor is not a big fan of putting chemicals on or in her dogs unless it is absolutely necessary. If her dogs are exposed to environments that are likely to have fleas, she gives them a dose of this stuff called Capstar.

Capstar can also be given once a month as a flea preventative. The cost is about the same (if not less than) the topical measures ($40+/- for 10 pills), but is readily available right alongside the now-common topical flea prevention medications.

What is the difference and how does it impact you and your dog?
Capstar has one purpose: to put an end to the flea life cycle.

Topical solutions claim to have multiple purposes: flea prevention, tick prevention, lice abatement, and helps to contain sarcoptic mites. Only you can decide the cost / benefit ratio. Speaking for myself:



  • Fleas: Topical and Capstar do the same thing
  • Ticks: If I go to the woods, or any potentially tick-infested area, I look for ticks on myself out of habit and check Phoebe too. Granted, she is a short haired, white dog so it is easy to check.
  • Sarcoptic Mange: The literature in the topical medication says it “aids in control of sarcoptic mange.” It does not prevent it. This is the type of mange that can be spread to humans. If your dog has sarcoptic mange, the vet will prescribe something much more powerful, plus you will be spending a lot of time sanitizing your house.
  • Lice: The literature in the topical medication says it “rapidly eliminates chewing lice infestations.” For an indoor dog, who cares? If my dog has lice, odds are pretty darn good that me and everyone in the house would have them too. That is definitely something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • </ul
    Maybe topical solutions are good for an outdoor dog where buggy stuff goes unnoticed, though I would like to think that outdoor dogs get so much love and attention that these things do not go unnoticed. The "nose-to-tail" quick check should be a part of day-to-day life.

    Weighing the pros and cons, I am doing away with the topical solution and will use Capstar for preventative flea measures. I will keep the other items in mind, but already know that the norm around here has those things covered.