Fleas are the worst enemies not only of street animals but also of pets who literally are ready to peel their own skin off just to get rid of these bloodthirsty insects. A pet can get fleas even if it doesn’t go outside, as you can bring fleas’ eggs with you on the shoes. This happens very seldom, but happens nevertheless. Yes, fleas don’t settle on humans, but who would be indifferent to their pet’s suffering from such a problem. Fleas have to be rid of by all means! In addition, these disgusting insects can bite humans, and they also can transmit infections and thus contaminate humans.
Table of Contents:
- 5 Signs of Flea Infestation on Dogs
- Dogs: Flea Collars and Combs
- Why Is It Necessary to Comb Your Dog?
- The Best Flea Medicine for Dogs
- The Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs
- The Best Flea Drops for Dogs
- The Best Flea Spray for Dogs
Primary infection is not easy to identify unless you pay careful attention to the mood of the pet and to its fur. Your dog or cat doesn’t have to scratch; it may bite certain body parts or lick them thoroughly. If you pay attention to this in time, you’ll be able to find small white grains which look like salt or rice in the fur or furniture and which are in fact flea eggs.
If you’re a bit late, the eggs in the fur, carpet, on the floor and in the furniture will become larvae, pupae and finally they’ll grown into adult fleas. That’s when having them becomes obvious:
- The pet often itches (pay special attention to the back and to the belly)
- There are small wounds after scratching
- The pet is anxious, it shrugs often as fleas’ bites are very painful
- It loses the appetite, looks worse and some fur loss may occur locally
- Besides white eggs, the fleas’ black feces can be found in the fur. The fleas can’t yet dispose of their waste without it going unnoticed. The threat of flea feces is that the larvae, which are unpretentious, feed on them and thus gain energy to grow up and enter the “army” of grown nippers.
These signs are not hard to notice and they certainly can’t be ignored. There are enough flea remedies on the modern market, such as collars and combs, treatment tablets, shampoos, drops and sprays.
You should start combating fleas when they are still nowhere to be seen. That’s why any dog which goes outside occasionally needs to have a flea collar. It can’t kill huge amounts of fleas, but it does well as a repellent. Naturally, it has certain chemicals, but they are mild enough no to provoke irritation even if worn for a long time, for several months, for example.
We won’t elaborate on the for a long time and we’ll simply cover the best flea collar for dogs, Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Pet. This is a #1 Best seller in the Basic Dog Collars category on Amazon.com. This collar can be worn for 8 months, but if the dog often takes a swim, this period is reduced to only 5 months. The active ingredients are imidacloprid and flumethrin, which are the most common insecticides for getting rid of fleas approved by the EPA. The collar costs ~$44.70 (large), the price depends on the size of your dog.
If the dog already has fleas, the collar will be an additional sanative measure. In that case the first thing to do is to comb your dog, and you’ll also have to comb the dog as often as possible if you want to get rid of fleas. Comb along and against the fur, raise the fur carefully with the comb and look for small and dark grains, i.e. fleas’ eggs and feces. Take a sheet of paper and comb the dog on it, as all of the findings will be well seen on a white background.
If you sport some black dots and spots on the fur, and you’re in doubts whether it is dirt or fleas, you can carry out the following test. Flea feces are the pet’s undigested blood, so if you dissolve it in water, the water will redden. This will help you make sure that this is really flea infestation.
You should comb both cats and dogs with special combs with stiff and frequent bristle like Safari Flea Comb with a Double Row of Teeth. This cut-rate brush with two rows of bristles has become #1 Best Seller of all similar products on Amazon.com because of its efficiency and price of ~$4.33. Customers recommend cleaning the comb in a cup with soapy water while brushing the animal and replacing the water until is stays pure without any eggs, fleas or their feces. The users say: «It's cheap. It's sturdy. It's easy to clean», and even such a reserved praise for the product is a proof of its reliability. This comb has 85% of positive customers’ reviews, and you can read over 700 reviews on Amazon.com.
At this point, when the infection has not yet become a large-scale one, it is also important to have time to take advantage of natural flea repellents, which are dog tablets.
You may and you should combat the fleas not only on the outside, but also on the inside with the help of special chewing tablets. Here are some brief facts about them:
- They usually smell attractive for animals (like meat, for example);
- They contain vitamins for health and beauty of the pet;
- Once they are in the animal’s body, the skin begins to exude a strong odor which repels fleas but cannot be felt by humans;
- For a lingering effect it’s important that a dog either follows a course treatment or is treated with a single-use tablet. That’s why it’s important to read the manual carefully!
Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats
This ~$24.90 product contains B and E vitamins, calcium, brewer's yeast and other useful components. Garlic is accountable for a repelling odor. A concerned dog owner with Amazon.com was indignant and wrote the following comment: “Garlic is harmful to pets because of the risk of anemia!” We can reassure him, as according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information garlic extract is only dangerous only at a dose of 5 grams per kilogram of the dog's body weight. The tablet only contains 1.9 mgrams of garlic, which is completely negligible, so please do not worry.
We’ll also note that the tablets are designed for the dogs weighing from 2 to 25 lb. They can be given to both cats and dogs as early as 4 weeks after they are born. A single dose in case flea infestation is a single tablet (regardless of how much exactly the animal weighs within the range of 2-25 lb). The manufacturer promises that the medication will be effective within 4 hours for dogs and within 6 hours for cats. It is better to give your pets a tablet a day for 2-3 days. Don’t think this is enough though. It is necessary to comb the animal by all means to get rid of the remnants of feces and eggs, as well as the lice and their eggs with the help of other care products, vacuum cleaner and other means.
Price: ~$24.90 Check the current price
The same manufacturer took care of larger dogs. Another product, Novartis Capstar for Dogs over 25 lbs GREEN, works just the previous one, but it is effective for larger breeds. They need another dose of active chemicals. The main thing is to keep in mind that this measure is supplementary to other abovementioned activities. The manufacturers allow feeding these tablets to cats… But it won’t be easy to find a cat of the relevant size!
Brewer’s Yeast Tablets with Garlic
A single ~$8.29 jar contains 1000 chewing tablets, and the optimal dosage is defined by the weight of your cat or dog: each 10 lb of the weight require 1 tablet. The action is similar to that of the previous products, and the customers’ rating is also the same. The main difference is that this is a vitamin complex, and not an emergency remedy against the fleas. That means they can be taken for quite a long period of time for maintaining your dog’s health and beauty. This is convenient, cost-saving and the dogs love it. The owners, in turn, love the price and the effect they get. In this way, everyone is happy! Read over 700 customers reviews to see it for yourself.
If your dog has few fleas, you can use insecticide shampoos which paralyze and kill fleas. This method is less popular as not all dogs like getting washed and since the effect of the shampoo only lasts for a few days. You’ll have to reapply the product then, but some of the animals are not as diligent as others and thus are not willing to sit tight for a couple of minutes before washing off the shampoo. That’s why this is often used on puppies who are easier to keep in place (make sure you read the manual before using the shampoo, as there may be age restrictions for use. You should also test it for allergies: when you use it for the first time, mix the anti-flea shampoo with a regular one and check if there’s any skin reaction).
Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal
This shampoo for ~$9.71 can do well as a supplementary flea control measure if the infestation is not large-scale. In spite of the fact that there are relatively few reviews, it has become a best seller in the dog flea shampoos category and has customer rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.
The customers note that Sentry Flea Shampoo is easy to use and its effect can last over a week! Many use it as an additional preventive measure against fleas on dogs, and it works for years! Unlike vast positive reviews, there are few negative ones, and here is what we’ve learned from that if you or your dog has sensitive skin or is allergic to pesticide, don’t use it, and find other methods!
A separate warning for cat owners is that this shampoo is designed especially for dogs, and you can’t wash cats with it as the active chemical, permethrin, is dangerous for cats! Once again, according to the NCBI, if a cat is poisoned with this substance and no measures are taken within a day, the animal can die. It is relatively safe for dogs.
Price: ~$9.71 Check the current price
As you might have noticed, there is a great number of external flea control methods for dogs. Drops are also one of them, as they are way more powerful than a shampoo. A few drops may be enough to make the fleas flee. Bayer Advantix are considered to be the best flea drops.
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control Treatment for Dogs
This topical flea treatment for dogs is supposed to wreck the fleas’ breeding cycle, i.e. kill the eggs, the larvae and adult fleas, and to repel the fleas from your dog within a month afterwards. Repeat the cycle after a month. Judging by over 2600 customers’ reviews and high customer rating, the product is really good. Many dog owners use it as a preventive measure for years, and their dogs have forgotten what ticks and fleas are.
As for the possible drawbacks, they are the same as usual. Any external use product can cause a skin allergy, that’s why it is recommended to first test it on the skin. If all is well, apply Advantix Flea Drops on the withers and the surface of the dog's shoulders and on back down to the tail. In this way, you should apply the drops where a dog cannot lick them off, so belly and feet are out of question! This is especially true for small dogs.
The main active substance is the above mentioned permethrin (which makes up for 44% of the whole product). Mind that products with high permethrin concentration cannot be used by cats.
By the way, the drops are waterproof and don’t lose their properties after the dog gets washed. You can pick a pack according to the weight of the dog and to the required amount of ampoules in a pack (from 2 to 6 for each month).
Price: ~ from $38 to $64 Check the current price
Sprays are convenient to apply to a dog’s body, but you always have to make sure it has reached the pet’s skin by carefully moving the fur to the side. There is no point in simply spraying all over the dog.
There is a certain difficulty in using the spray, which is totally offset once you get over it. As a rule, sprays require longer application (30 minutes at the very least, read the manual for details). You’d better take your dog for a walk or play some games with it… do anything that will keep your pet from licking itself!
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray 32 oz
We love introducing best sellers to you, as we trust them greatly. In this case Vet's Flea & Tick Spray is considered to be #1 Best Seller in the Dog Flea Spray category.
This spray for only ~$12.40 contains 2 natural active substances: clove extract and peppermint essential oil, and contains neither pyrethrins nor permethrins. The only non-organic components of the spray are preservative and an additive which makes it soapy. That’s why it can be considered safe for use, with a single “but”: pets can be allergic even to organic products, so make sure you first check the reaction on a small skin area!
Sprays kill fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on contact. Since it is organic, you don’t have to wash it off, which is a huge advantage. Its safety made it a favorite with both cat (it can be used for kittens older than 12 weeks) and dog owners.
Among a huge number of positive reviews, you can come across some negative ones. They are connected with the fact that the reality didn’t meet people’s expectations, and the fleas didn’t disappear anywhere. This isn’t a good thing, but it happens. Those customers that were able to get rid of their pets’ fleas all agree that careful treatment of a pet’s fur and constant vacuum cleaning of floors and carpets will lead you to success. You may also read over 1200 customer reviews in order to decide whether it is worth buying for your pet and your house.
Organic spray is hard to compete with, but in order for our review to be fair, here is a fiprinol-based flea spray.
Frontline Flea and Tick Treatment Dog/Cat Spray, 8-1/2-Ounce
We won’t talk about essential oils here. The active component is fiprinol, a well-known insecticide which is used for exterminating various insects, including fleas and ticks. It only makes up 0.29% of Frontline Flea Treatment Spray composition, but it is powerful enough to exterminate adult lice and their eggs.
Frontline Spray is also quite popular as the customers claim it’s really cost-saving. Despite its high price of ~$34.99, the dog owners believe that this is good value for money. The spending is especially low for those who own smaller dogs.
Price: ~$34.99 Check the current price
If fleas aren’t an isolated case, but your dog suffers from them regularly and severely, don’t try to treat it yourself, take her to a vet so that he/she could examine the dog and prescribe some medicine.
Read more about cat fleas treatment: How to get rid of fleas on cats.
Once you save your beloved pet from fleas, begin sanitizing your whole house against fleas immediately (or better, while still treating your pet), as they could contaminate your favorite carpet or bed. Read the instruction on how to do this properly and which products to use in our How to get rid of fleas in your house review.