If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve heard about Sentinel, a popular medication used to prevent heartworm disease, fleas, and various other intestinal parasites. But have you ever wondered, how long does Sentinel stay in a dog’s system?
Understanding Sentinel for Dogs
Sentinel is a beef-flavored chewable tablet that contains two active ingredients: milbemycin oxime and lufenuron. Milbemycin oxime protects dogs against heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. Lufenuron, on the other hand, is an insect development inhibitor that curbs the growth of flea larvae, preventing them from maturing into adult fleas.
The Absorption and Elimination of Sentinel
After administering Sentinel orally to your furry friend, the active ingredient milbemycin oxime is well-absorbed and reaches peak plasma concentrations within a median of 1 hour (range of ½ – 24 hours) at the recommended dose. However, both milbemycin and ivermectin (another commonly used heartworm prevention ingredient) are only present in the body for about 24 hours while they kill a certain stage of the heartworm larvae.
On the other hand, the second ingredient lufenuron is stored in the animal’s body fat and is slowly released over the month. This ensures its ongoing activity against flea infestations.
What Happens If Sentinel is Given Early or in Overdose?
Given the short duration of milbemycin oxime in the system, it’s generally safe to redose a full dose of Sentinel even if it’s administered a week early. There would be no harm in giving an additional dose, even if one was given the previous week.
When it comes to overdosing, Sentinel generally has a wide margin of safety. If a small dog accidentally ingests a dose meant for a larger dog, it typically equates to a 3-4 times overdose. While this might be alarming, in most cases, the dog will be fine, although it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian in such instances.
The Bottom Line: Timely and Accurate Administration is Key
While it’s crucial to know how long Sentinel stays in a dog’s system, what’s more important is ensuring that the medication is administered accurately and on time. Sentinel should be given once a month, preferably on the same date each month, to maintain its effectiveness.
If you suspect an overdose or have concerns about potential side effects, always contact your veterinarian immediately. They are the best source of guidance for your pet’s health and can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s size, breed, age, and overall health condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does Sentinel Kill Existing Fleas and Worms?
Sentinel effectively halts the development of flea larvae, preventing them from maturing into adult fleas. However, it does not kill adult fleas currently infesting your dog. For this, a separate adulticide may be required. The milbemycin oxime in Sentinel is effective at eliminating adult stages of hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms, but it primarily works to eliminate the tissue stage of heartworm larvae to prevent heartworm disease.
2. How Quickly Does Sentinel Start to Work?
Milbemycin oxime, one of the active ingredients in Sentinel, achieves its peak concentration in a dog’s system within one hour after administration. This means it starts working quite rapidly. On the other hand, lufenuron, which controls fleas, is stored in the body and released slowly over time, providing a full month of protection against flea infestations.
3. Can Sentinel Make Dogs Tired?
While Sentinel is generally well-tolerated by most dogs, like all medications, it can potentially cause side effects. Fatigue is not a common side effect, but individual dogs may react differently. Other possible side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and itching. If your dog exhibits unusual behavior or seems excessively tired after taking Sentinel, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian.
4. Can Sentinel be Used in Puppies?
Yes, Sentinel can be used in puppies, but they must be at least 4 weeks old and weigh more than 2 pounds. As with all medications, it’s important to administer the correct dosage based on your puppy’s weight to prevent potential overdosing.
5. What Should I do If I Miss a Dose?
If you miss a dose of Sentinel, administer it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give two doses at once.
6. Can Sentinel be Used with Other Medications?
In most cases, Sentinel can safely be used alongside other medications. However, always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new medications or supplements to ensure there are no potential interactions.
7. Does Sentinel Protect Against Ticks?
While Sentinel provides broad protection against heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and fleas, it does not protect against ticks. If ticks are a concern, you’ll need to use a separate tick prevention product or a comprehensive product that includes tick prevention.
8. Is There a Risk of Overdosing with Sentinel?
While Sentinel has a good safety profile, there is always a risk of overdose if not administered according to the vet’s advice or the product’s guidelines. Signs of overdose can include vomiting, drowsiness, or decreased appetite. It’s crucial to contact your vet immediately if you suspect an overdose.
9. How Should Sentinel be Stored?
Sentinel should be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion. Always check the expiration date on the package before administering the medication to your pet.
10. What Happens if my Dog Swallows More Than One Sentinel Tablet?
If your dog consumes more than the recommended dose of Sentinel, you should contact your vet immediately. Though Sentinel generally has a wide margin of safety, ingestion of several doses at once could lead to side effects such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite.
11. Does Sentinel Offer Immediate Protection Against Heartworms?
No, Sentinel does not offer immediate protection against heartworms. It kills the tissue stage of heartworm larvae that your pet was exposed to during the month before the medication was administered. This is why continuous, year-round administration is recommended to maintain protection.
12. Can Sentinel Cause Allergic Reactions in Dogs?
Though it’s rare, dogs can have allergic reactions to medications, including Sentinel. Signs of an allergic reaction can include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. If you notice any of these symptoms after administering Sentinel, contact your vet immediately.
13. Can Sentinel be Used in Pregnant or Breeding Dogs?
Sentinel has not been tested in pregnant or breeding dogs. If your dog is pregnant, nursing, or used for breeding, consult with your veterinarian before administering Sentinel.
14. How Long After Eating Can I Give My Dog Sentinel?
Sentinel should be administered with a meal to ensure maximum effectiveness. The food helps facilitate the uptake of the active ingredients into the dog’s system.
15. Is Sentinel Effective Against Other Parasites?
Sentinel is also effective in controlling adult hookworms and removing and controlling adult roundworm and whipworm infections in dogs. However, it doesn’t kill ticks or adult fleas. For comprehensive parasite protection, your vet may recommend using it in combination with other medications.
16. What Should I Do if I Miss Giving a Dose of Sentinel?
If you forget to give your dog a dose of Sentinel, give it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular schedule. Don’t give two doses at once as this could potentially lead to an overdose.
17. Can Sentinel Interact With Other Medications?
While Sentinel is generally safe to use with other medications, it’s important to inform your vet about any other drugs, supplements, or dietary changes that your dog may be undergoing. This is to ensure that there are no potential interactions that could affect your pet’s health or the effectiveness of the treatments.
18. Is Sentinel Safe for All Breeds of Dogs?
Sentinel is safe for most breeds of dogs. However, certain breeds may have specific sensitivities or may require different dosages based on weight and size. Always consult your vet for guidance on the appropriate dosage and suitability of Sentinel for your pet’s breed.
19. Can Sentinel Cause Changes in Behavior?
In some rare cases, dogs might show changes in behavior after administering Sentinel, like lethargy, hyperactivity, or changes in appetite. If these changes persist or worsen, you should contact your vet.
20. How Do I Dispose of Expired Sentinel Tablets?
Expired Sentinel tablets should not be used and must be disposed of properly. Don’t throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet. Instead, take them to a local pharmacy or veterinary clinic that offers a drug take-back program.