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small dog ready to be treated for fleas
Photo by Benjamin Lehman from Pexels

Have you ever bought what was touted as the “best flea treatment product” for pets, but struggled to see any benefits?

Maybe you were convinced it was the best flea treatment product to buy because it kills fleas, ticks, and worms.

Whatever the reason, the results are always the same – your flea problem never goes away, entirely.

Imagine if you were able to find not just the best flea treatment product, you were able to use them in a way that your flea problem goes away forever.

Well, you can! 

Below I’ll show you some of the best flea treatment products for pets. And how you can use them to wage war on fleas, a winnable war that plays out just the way you desire.

What are the types of flea treatment products for pets?

Topical Applications.

Topical applications are the flea treatments that are used externally to combat fleas and ticks on your pet’s skin.

Products that fall into this category include shampoos, sprays, powders, collars, and spot treatments. Some products such as shampoos, sprays, and spot treatments protect your pet from fleas for 24 hours to 30 days.

Others such as flea collars can kill fleas on your pet for about 6 months or more. However, some pets may experience itchiness or hair loss at the location of the collar. 

Flea Medicine Pills.

Another option for treating fleas are oral pills. This alternative flea control method is best for pet owners who don’t like the sight of a collar on their pet’s neck. Or those whose pet won’t stay still long enough for them to apply topical drops on the back of their neck.

These oral flea control medications are the best option if you want to quickly kill fleas within a short period. For instance, if you want to take your dog to the park and you don’t want to return with any live fleas. Or you want to give your flea-infested pet temporary relief while you treat the house for fleas.

You can choose between prescription pills and over-the-counter drugs for your pet. However, I recommend that you follow the directions given by your vet. Some of these pills might cause skin irritation or other problems, especially if your pet is already taking other medications.

While flea pills seem like the best flea treatment product that pet owners can get, you need to remember that it barely lasts 48 hours. And it does nothing to address the flea infestation in your home

Home Remedies.

Many owners turn to natural methods to kill fleas and prevent re-infestation, however, the results vary with the ingredients used. Some common ingredients in homemade flea sprays include garlic, lemon, vinegar, salts, and essential oils. 

However, you need to remember that some natural ingredients can still be dangerous for pets. Garlic, for instance, is very toxic to cats and can make him end up in the emergency section of the vet’s. So, talk to your vet to ensure that whatever you’re mixing kills only fleas and doesn’t harm pets.

Flea traps.

Unlike the flea pill and topical flea treatment products, flea traps do not have to be used on your pet. 

We know that flea pupae will remain dormant until your pet comes within range before they hatch and attack. And the adult will wait in the carpet and cracks on the floor for your pet to come around so they can hop onto its fur.

Flea traps are placed in strategic locations or flea hotspots so that the fleas (adult and pupae) think they’re hopping onto your pet.

How it works is pretty simple. At the base of the trap is a sticky film to trap fleas and over the film there a light bulb that emits warmth. When the fleas sense this heat, they assume it’s coming from your pet’s body and they happily jump onto the film, never to escape again. 

2 of the best flea medicines for pets.

Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets. 

Novartis Capstar Flea Tablet is one of the most popular oral medications for flea control in both cats and dogs. The active ingredient, nitenpyram, kills adult fleas and ticks as soon as they bite your pet. 

This option is worth considering, especially for pet owners that do not fancy applying chemicals or putting a collar on their pet’s neck. These oral tablets protect your pet from adult fleas and ticks for a full month. And it starts working within 4 hours.

There are different doses for cats (Capstar Oral Flea Treatment for cats) and dogs (Capstar Oral Flea Treatment for dogs) depending on their age and weight.

However, you need to remember that products like this one do not kill the eggs and larva. It works perfectly if you want to kill any flea on your pet for a duration of 24 hours. A typical use case would be when you’re heading to the park or expecting a friend’s pet. Otherwise, you should combine the product with a topical flea product or a flea collar.  

Although you can purchase these flea tablets on amazon or over-the-counter, and they’re pretty safe with low risk for side-effects. You should consult your veterinarian before giving them to your cat or dog. Especially if your pet is already taking other medications.

ProsCons
Easy to administer to pets.Kills fleas when they bite.
Doesn’t cause itchiness or skin irritation.Doesn’t kill eggs and larvae.
Starts working on fleas within 30 minutes.Might require a vet’s supervision.
Kills the majority of adult fleas on pets within 4 hours. 

Sentry Flea Tablets.

Sentry CapGuard Oral Flea Tablet (for dogs) isn’t really different from the previous flea tablet we just looked at. If I didn’t take time to look at both brands and their parent companies, I would have thought they belonged to the same company. They’re not!

The formula used is the same. So it’s no surprise that it also lasts for 24 hours and starts killing within 30 minutes. Like other flea tablets made of nitenpyram, the Sentry Flea Tablet only works on adult fleas. Plus, they do very little to prevent reinfestation after 24 hours.

Sentry Flea tablets are actually cheaper than other tablets on the market, and they’re as effective as the expensive ones. 

ProsCons
Starts working within 30 minutes.Needs to be used with a vet’s supervision.
Kills all adult fleas within 4 hours from ingestion.Doesn’t kill eggs and larvae.
Protects dogs from fleas for up to 24 hoursDogs gets re-infected once protection wears off after 4 hours.
Doesn’t irritate skin or cause hair loss. 

3 of the best flea topical applications.

Bayer topical flea prevention.

Bayer Animal Health is a longstanding name in the world of veterinary products. They have a tradition of excellence which is reflected in two of their products, the Bayer K9 Advantix II flea treatment (for dogs) and the Bayer Advantage flea treatment (for cats).

The product doesn’t waste time in killing fleas, it starts working within 12 hours of application. Instead of the 24-plus hours that it takes many other products to start killing fleas. 

Another good thing about Bayer K9 Advantix II flea treatment and Bayer Advantage flea treatment is that the formula used in making both products doesn’t kill fleas when they bite. No! It does better than that, it kills the fleas on contact. This way your pet doesn’t get to suffer from the effects of flea bites.

The manufacturer claims that the product is waterproof and can last for 30 days. Sounds fair enough. However, I think that’s just a projection for the duration. The product’s effectiveness gradually drops after subsequent baths.   

ProsCons
Contain three non-toxic active ingredients Imidacloprid, Pyriproxyfen, and Permethrin.Not suitable for pets below 7 weeks of age.
Can protect from flea bites for about 30 days.Kills fleas on contact
Starts working in less than 12 hours from application.Loses its effectiveness after each bath.
Quick and easy to apply. 

Seresto Dog Flea and Tick Collar.

If you want a flea solution that doesn’t fade on subsequent baths, then the Seresto dog flea and tick collar is the best alternative you can get. This pet collar releases a clean, odorless, and non-greasy formula that helps keep fleas away for close to 8 months. 

The slow-release formula is very effective at killing adult fleas and ticks. And they don’t even have to bite your pet for the product to work.

When checking out products such as collars that might harm your pet if they get tangled somewhere, always confirm that your product of choice has a release mechanism like the Seresto dog flea and tick collar does.

I like how easy it is to use this product – unlock, place it around the pet’s neck, and snap shut. I recommend it for pet owners that have a difficult time getting their pet to stay still for sprays and topical solutions.

Although the product works effectively for close to 8 months, dipping in water too often will ruin its durability. If your pet has to swim or bathe, then remove the collar and only replace it when the pet is dry.  

ProsCons
Kills adult fleas and ticks on contact.Some pets may experience irritation and hair loss around the collar site.
No monthly treatments required.Not recommended for dogs and cats younger than 7 weeks.
Works effectively for close to 8 months. 
The product is waterproof. 

Frontline Plus. 

FrontLine is a very effective product for treating fleas, chewing lice, and ticks on both cats and dogs. The product contains two active ingredients (s-methoprene and fipronil) that get to work in about 12 hours and keep going nonstop for 30 days. 

The package contains 3 vials that will protect your pet from fleas, chewing lice, and ticks for 30 days straight. Ensure that your pet isn’t in an excited state when you want to apply this product. Carefully part the hair on the back of its neck, close to the shoulder blades then apply the vial. 

When done correctly and with sparse bathing sessions afterward, the product can remain effective for about 30 days. I like how FrontLine has separate doses for different sizes of dogs (FrontLine for dogs) and cats (FrontLine for cats). Remember this when choosing. 

While it’s true that the product works effectively on fleas, ticks, and chewing lice, it’s on the expensive side.  

ProsCons
Works for 30 days, depending on how often you bathe your pet.You have to wait 24 hours before bathing your pet.
Waterproof and easy to apply.Not suitable for pets younger than 7 weeks.
Kills fleas on contact. 
No maintenance required until 30 days later. 

3 highly-effective flea traps for home.

Diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, natural flea removal treatment that you can apply in your house and on your pet. It is made up of tiny bits of crushed silica crystals gotten from the fossils of diatoms. 

The food-grade diatomaceous earth powder makes tiny cuts on the exoskeleton of pests, such as fleas and ticks, then wicks fluid from the body of the pest through those tiny incisions. Effectively killing the pest by dehydration rather than chemical poisoning.

If you follow the correct way to use diatomaceous earth, the powder is very effective at killing fleas that keep coming back no matter what you try.

ProsCons
Safe for both cats and dogs.Might irritate the skin if used too often.
Very affordable and can be used to prevent re-infestation.It can cause lung problems if too much of it is inhaled.
Kills adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and pupae. 

ASPECTEK Sticky Dome Flea Trap.

The ASPECTEK Sticky Dome Flea Trap is exactly what the name says, a trap that catches fleas. This product is basically a lightbulb mounted over a sticky pad. The warmth emitted by the light bulb draws out the fleas from their hiding spot towards the trap. And they end up on the sticky pad.

Since it uses heat to attract the fleas, it works best if it is the only warmth in the room and is placed in flea hotspots. I initially expected the sticky pad to have some odor, but it doesn’t. And it is non-toxic too. That means it is safe to have around children and pets. However, I recommend monitoring the trap when kids and pets are around since it works with electricity.

One mistake too many people make is thinking that a product like this one or the flea pills, dips, and shampoo will stop a flea infestation on its own. It doesn’t! This trap works best when you use it alongside other flea treatment methods.

The only issue with this flea trap is that the sticky pad often dries out or the bulb stops working. For that, you can get replacement bulbs or extra sticky pads. I recommend purchasing the flea trap with some replacement bulbs.  

ProsCons
Attracts and kills adult fleas.The Bulb burns out quite often.
Very low maintenance and non-toxic setup.It only kills adult fleas.
Kills fleas for as long as it is in operation.It has to be pulled from the power outlet since it has no on/off switch.
No risk of skin irritation or overdose. 

Victor M230A Ultimate Flea Trap. 

The Victor M230A Ultimate Flea Trap is very similar to the previous flea trap we just saw. It uses electricity to power a warm light bulb and the heat attracts fleas to fall onto a sticky pad. Pretty basic, but it works just as effectively as the former. 

When you get this flea trap or the former one, try running your AC overnight with the trap on. Since it is the only heat source on the floor and the room is very cold, lots of fleas will be attracted to the trap – they want to feed, LOL!

Remember to vacuum every day and place the traps (I assume you’ll get more than one) in high traffic areas. Or where your pets love to hang out because that’s where most of the fleas will be found. 

This flea trap also has replacement light bulbs and sticky pads. However, the sticky pad can add up really fast. You can remove the sticky pad from the bottom of the trap and replace it with liquid kitchen soap from your hardware store. This will catch more fleas and will serve you for a longer period, but you need to make sure your pet doesn’t lick the soap. 

ProsCons
Kills adult fleas all day long.Doesn’t catch eggs and larvae.
It requires very little maintenance and is non-toxic.The bulb burns out quite often.
Doesn’t poison fleas to kill them.Needs to be within the flea hotspot.
It is environment- and pet-friendly. 

To combine or not to combine flea treatments.

Women preparing a small dog for flea treatment
Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash.

Most pet owners get stuck on choosing a product that covers fleas, ticks, and worms too. 

Wanna know the truth? 

Many of the products use a similar formula to kill fleas and ticks. Besides that, most flea and tick treatments are called “flea and tick treatment” for a reason. They are specialists in killing ectoparasites.

I understand that you might be looking for a product that also kills worms. However, I think treating worms separate from fleas and ticks with products that are efficient at one thing, will be more effective than using an average product to deal with different problems. 

If there’s any combination you should worry about, it should be how to effectively combine flea medications, shampoo, dips, and flea traps to quickly get rid of annoying flea infestations.

How to effectively combine flea treatments. 

Table showing how effective flea treatments are.
effectiveness of flea treatments.

From the diagram above, you can see that if you want to get rid of fleas quickly, have to kill them at all stages – and trust me, there’s no one product that will do that perfectly for you.

Vacuum.

I’ll be the first to tell you. There’s no way you can get rid of fleas without vacuuming – it’s just not possible. 

When you vacuum your house every day, especially the flea hotspots, you’re essentially reducing the flea population by picking up adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and pupae, and dumping them outside, far away from your home. 

No product will do that for you!

When you’re done with a thorough vacuum, you can now bank on other flea treatment methods or treatment products to kill those that you missed while vacuuming.

Flea medications.

Flea treatment pills are only effective at killing the adult fleas that hop onto your pet. They do nothing for the infestation in your house. You should consider using flea treatment pills when going to the park, expecting a visitor, or sending your pet to a pet school where they’ll interact with other pets. You want any flea that latches onto your pet to die as soon as it feeds on your pet.

Topical treatments.

Some topical flea treatment products work just as good as flea treatment pills or worse. Flea shampoo, collars, and dips prevent fleas from biting your pet’s skin. However, they have little effect (if any) on flea eggs, larvae, and pupae that are not on your pet’s coat.

Flea bombs.

Flea bombs are effective at killing fleas in all four stages. However, they are expensive, not safe for breathing, and should be used in conjunction with other flea treatment products for maximum effect. 

Flea traps.

Flea traps kill the adult fleas alone. The reason why it is also listed under pupae is that the heat it generates might push the pupae to become an adult flea. That’s because the pupae normally wait until it senses a heat source before it emerges as an adult. 

In essence, flea traps only kill adults. However, the heat it produces can cause adults to quickly emerge from the pupae (cocoon) and hop onto the trap. Instead of waiting for your pet to come around for them to feed on.

Conclusion

For me, the best way you can quickly get rid of fleas is to vacuum often and use diatomaceous earth correctly to treat your house. This will catch or kill the adult fleas, eggs, pupae, and larvae that are not on your pet’s coat. 

Then use topical treatment and flea pills to deal with those hiding in your pet’s coat. Finally, you can set flea traps in strategic locations to draw out and kill the adult fleas that you missed.

For this to work you’ll need:

By combining flea treatments like this, you’re killing not just the adults, which make less than 20% of the infestation, but also the eggs, larvae, and pupae. If you’re looking for how to get rid of fleas forever, this is the way to do so. 

Remember, fleas on your pet is a declaration of war. For you and your pet to come out victorious, you have to attack them with the correct weapons!