We all know what you’re wondering: In a sea full of flea-fighting products, what is the right product for your pet?
The Answer: Not that easy of an answer.
When you are looking to purchase flea products for your pet, you are bombarded with a multitude of options to choose from. It’s overwhelming, we know. And you have that added pressure of trying to find “the best” product for your pet because your pet deserves the best.
But where do you turn? Is the best solution found in a collar? Maybe it’s a spray. What about a squeeze-on topical? There are flea shampoos and oral tablets! How in the world does one decide?!
Well, first, breathe. You won’t be able to find a product if you’re passed out from being overwhelmed.
Second, you’re in luck because we’ve gathered some tips for you consider when you’re on the hunt.
Here’s a couple things to remember:
- Check with your veterinarian if you are ever in doubt about what to choose for your pet. They can advise you best by considering your pet’s medical history.
- Read and follow all label instructions to avoid overdosing on your pet.
The Wide World of Flea Products:
Now that you know what to consider when purchasing your pet’s flea treatment, here are the different kinds of product options and what they offer your pet.
Oral Flea Tablets:
Administered to cats or dogs orally, they provide rapid relief from adult fleas haunting your pet. Don’t be fooled though; they only work against the adult fleas and do not kill flea eggs or flea larvae. If you have fleas in the house or yard, you should take additional steps to prevent flea re-infestation.
Topical Flea Treatments
Depending on the size of your pet, topical flea treatments are specially formulated for either dogs or cats and their specific weight ranges. Pay attention to the label to check for:
- The starting age for the product. Age ranges from 8-12 weeks, depending on the brand and formula used.
- An IGR. IGR helps break the flea lifecycle by killing eggs and flea larvae, preventing reinfestation for up to 30 days.
- The species. Is the product for dogs or cats? Dog products will have a photo of a dog on them, and cats will have a picture of a cat. Do not apply a dog product to a cat or a cat product to a dog, nor should you split applications between multiple pets.
- What do you do after application? Once the topical is applied, continue to follow label instructions. On most occasions, you do not want to wash your pet for 24-48 hours after applying the topical. Some products do have specific instructions on separating animals from each other or children until the application is dry or for a period of time up to 24 hours.
Flea collars are easy to use, can last up to several months, and do not require the separation of pets after use. These slow-release formulas work similarly to topicals, with some including IGR to help prevent future infestations. And as for cat collars, check the label for any breakaway safety features on cat collars.
Wash away fleas during your pet’s next bath. Flea shampoos kill fleas and ticks while protecting your pet for 10-14 days - depending on the formula. Although they can provide immediate relief to your pet, its effects do not last as long as a topical spray or collar would. Nor does a flea shampoo protect against reinfestation.
Looking for fast relief? Some flea sprays are effective against pests for up to 30 days. They kill fleas and ticks on the pet, but the application rate can be imprecise. For the safety of the user, it is required that they wear protective rubber gloves when spraying the pet. And while a spray is easy and convenient to you, some animals don’t like the sound or feel of the sprays. Make sure to use a flea spray approved for use on pets.
REMINDER: Household flea sprays should NEVER be used on pets
Hopefully this list provides more insight than anxiety now when you go shopping for flea & tick products. The best thing you can do for your pet is to stay well-informed and up to date on the latest information regarding your pet’s health. And just because there are so many options available to you and your pet, doesn’t mean you can let up on checking your pet for fleas.Continue to grab your flea comb, hot, soapy water, and a white towel to expose those fleas. When you’ve found yourself in the midst of a flea infestation, you can now feel ready to take down any flea that’s hurting your pet.