Fleas & Ticks
Flea Treatment Options1
The flea's life cycle requires a warm-blooded host, so the best starting point when trying to get rid of a flea infestation is to protect your pet. Various flea treatments are available:
- Collars – Kill adult fleas and some also repel and kill ticks, and can provide prolonged protection for a few months. Different flea collars use different active ingredients.
- Spot-ons – Provide prolonged protection for approximately 1 month. They can affect both adult and immature fleas, freeing your pet and house of fleas, with repeated use. Different spot-on flea treatments contain different active ingredients.
- Shampoos – Kill adult fleas, but do not provide prolonged protection—just a few days.
- Dips – Kill adult fleas, and sometimes also mites and ticks. They can provide protection for up to a week or two.
- Oral medications – Are administered directly into your pet's mouth or mixed into food daily, monthly or quarterly, depending on the product. These flea treatments either kill adult fleas only, or prevent the eggs laid by fleas feeding on the treated pet from developing into adults, breaking the flea life cycle.
- Injections – Which currently only contain insect growth regulators, prevent flea eggs laid by fleas feeding on the treated pet from hatching, breaking the flea life cycle. These products can provide protection for a few months, but don't kill adult fleas.
- Powders and sprays – Provide protection for a few days to weeks. They can kill both adult and immature fleas, but have fallen out of favor because easier-to-use products have become available.
For optimum and prolonged protection while ensuring your pet's comfort, be sure to ask your veterinarian about the most suitable product.
- Blagburn BL, Dryden MW. Biology, treatment, and control of flea and tick infestations. Vet Clin N Am Small Anim. 2009;39(6):1173-1200.