For most pet owners, the best answer to how to get rid of fleas on dogs and cats is with one of the topical or oral treatments. These can usually be applied or given to your pet once a month, and provide protection from dog fleas and cat fleas for the whole month, which eliminates the need to constantly reapply.
Below are some of the most popular and effective topical and oral treatments to use on your pets. Although it’s tough to know for sure, some evidence suggests that fleas can develop a resistance to certain remedies. So, if you find that one is ineffective, it might be worth trying another to see if you get better results.
Frontline Plus is probably the most popular of the topical flea treatments, as well as one of the most effective. Frontline Plus is sold in small vials containing a single dose. You drop the treatment on the skin between the shoulder blades, and it spreads out from there to cover the entire body. These treatments are very convenient because they can be applied once and will protect your pet for an entire month.
Regular applications of Frontline Plus should protect your pet well through the flea season, assuming you treat your home for fleas as well. Topical treatments such as Frontline Plus are much less messy and toxic than traditional sprays, as they’re localized to the pet, and don’t create a big, toxic cloud like a spray might.
K9 Advantix II is another topical flea treatment which is similar to Frontline, comes in small vials, and is applied once a month between the shoulder blades. The manufacturer claims it actually repels more parasites than Frontline Plus. Advantix II kills all four flea life cycle stages with the use of the IGR pyriproxyfen, and will also repel biting flies and mosquitoes.
Program is an oral flea treatment that uses the hormone lufrenon to prevent flea eggs from hatching, and should protect your pets against fleas for up to a month. Program is available in both a “flavor tablet” for dogs, as well as a liquid for cats.
Program controls fleas by preventing the eggs from hatching, so it is not effective against adult fleas. Consequently, it would need to be used in conjunction with an effective program of home flea control, and most likely would serve best as a preventative measure before you pets are infested.
Novartis Capstar is another oral treatment that is effective in eliminating adult fleas on your pet. Capstar will start killing fleas within 30 minutes, and a single does lasts for 24 hours. It is safe to give every day if need be.
Capstar is most effective for quickly eliminating the adult fleas on your pet with one simple oral treatment. As such, it’s best used when your pet might be exposed to fleas, such as at parks, shows or while boarding or grooming.
An important thing to keep in mind when dealing with fleas is the role of the flea life cycle. Fleas pass through four stages during their lives; egg, larva, pupa and adult. Obviously, the adult fleas are the ones we are most aware of, because they’re the ones that bite.
But, if you want to do this right and get rid of fleas for good, you need to consider all four stages. Insecticides that kill adult fleas don’t necessarily do anything to kill eggs or larva, and vice versa. In order to deal with the other stages, you need an insect growth regulator (IGR) as well.
Both Frontline Plus and Advantix II are effective against early stages of the flea life cycle, which is what makes them so effective long-term. As we’ll see on the next page, there are also specific products you can use in your home that contain an IRG as well, and are much more effective against eggs and larva in your carpets or pet bedding.
Step 2: Get rid of the fleas in your home.