A dog infested with fleas may become very nervous, irritated and may scratch excessively because of the painful bites. Discovering fleas on your dog or pet can be stressful, especially if you have other animals in your home. We recommend combating current flea infestations and preventing new ones from ever happening with monthly flea and tick treatments!
Even if you clean your dog’s crate
or limit your pet’s movement by installing a dog gate
, your pup will likely still be susceptible to a flea infestation. There are lots of great anti-flea medications available on the market including sprays, topical ointments, tablets and injections, but the way each functions is different. Some prevent flea eggs from hatching while others just kill the adult fleas. Knowing the various types of anti-flea treatments and how they work will help you effectively eradicate any flea infestation on your pooch.
Here are the two main types that are available to consumers:
Tablet medications such as Capstar or Comfortis guarantee the most effective flea treatment for dogs. They’re orally administered, and work by paralyzing and killing fleas. Oral flea medication typically get rid of fleas within the first four hours.
This type of flea treatment includes natural shampoos
, spot-on treatments and powders, which offer an easy way to remove fleas by applying the medication on your dog’s skin.
So, which type of flea treatment should you get for your dog? Our guide will help you make the most informed buying decision, but the “best” treatment is really whatever fits in your budget, what will help your pup the most and is the most effective in helping your pets live an itch-free life!
Flea treatment may cost you anything between $15 and $75. The difference in pricing can be attributed to the size of your dog or cat, and the quality and the quantity of the treatment. Highly priced flea medications are more efficient and convenient as they eliminate fleas, flea eggs, flee larvae and ticks. They also tend to be waterproof and last about a month.
However, if your budget is limited or if you only need to get rid of fleas, you can try cheaper treatments. Oral tablets, like the ones Sentry makes, are the best at eradicating a current flea problem. However, because they are designed to just kill fleas—not prevent them—it’s best used on pets that are normally indoors and/or live in colder climates. If your pet lives outside and in a warmer climate, you may want to consider preventative flea medicines instead.
There are a lot of options to choose from when you're shopping for flea treatments. To make your purchase hassle-free, there are several factors you may want to take into consideration…
- Reliability Choose the flea treatment that works fast to help relieve your pet of that annoying itching!
- Weight Confirm that your dog or cat’s weight is within the treatment’s recommended weight range.
- Age If you’ve got a puppy or kitten, make sure the product is safe to use on them. Some products protect puppies/kittens as well as adult animals, but some have separate treatments for younger animals.
- Type Choose between pills or topical treatments, depending on the level of protection you need your pet to have.
- Prevention If you’re just combating a current flea infestation, you can skip this point. However, if you need your pet protected from fleas and ticks long-term, consider a 30-day treatment.
- Side effects All flea treatments have side effects, but some have fewer than others, so be sure to read the box or product info before purchasing.
Construction and Design
Topical flea treatments are designed to help curb fleas before they become hard to manage, and you apply these about once a month. Within 12 hours, you should see a reduction in your dog’s fleas, and the fleas should continue to die off as the medicine provides continuous protection. Most topical treatments are waterproof, so feel free to give your dog a thorough bath or let them go swimming—the medicine will stay on.
Oral treatments can be “re-applied” the next day or immediately if you think your pet didn’t swallow their pill. These treatments are great at eradicating fleas fast (within 4 to 6 hours for dogs and cats), making them perfect as one-time flea treatments. Tablets won’t protect your pet from future fleas or from ticks, but they will help you eliminate a current problem.
Performance and Ease of Use
Most flea treatments can be used on adult dogs, puppies and pregnant or nursing dogs, too. If your dog or cat is pregnant, always make sure you read the label before administering any medicine to them. If you have a puppy or kitten, make sure the medicine is formulated for them, too. Usually, the heavier the animal, the more potent the medicine, so keep this in mind if your animal is under- or overweight.
All the flea treatments in our review are easy to apply and effective. Because fleas bring unwanted visitors in from the outside—such as tape worms—it’s best to start your pet on some type of flea treatment as soon as you the little bugs on them.
The best flea treatment is the one that’s safest for your dog, extremely effective, easy to use and budget friendly. However, the choice of treatment will mainly depend on what you deem simpler and more convenient for treating your pet. And with our best picks from our top brands, choosing the right flea treatment product couldn't be easier.
And that’s all you need to know about flea treatments to make the best purchasing decision. We hope our recommendations helped you find the right treatment for your dog!