Choosing a Pet Flea Medicine

The availability of pet flea medicine has eliminated the seasonal suffering of millions of dogs and cats. With a simple, monthly application, the best flea medicine will protect your cat or dog from fleas, ticks and mites and protect them from the discomfort and diseases spread by these pests.

Warning: Dog flea medicine should not be used on cats. The formulations are different and can be fatal to cats. There is less danger associated with using cat flea medicine on dogs, but the dosage will not, in most cases, be adequate. Use species-specific flea medications only.

Topical Flea Preparations

Topical products, usually sold in small, easy-to-apply ampoules, affect the flea's nerve receptors. Existing flea populations are killed quickly and protection lasts several weeks. Some brands contain added ingredients that kill ticks and mites as well as fleas.

Topical flea medications begin working within minutes.

Topicals are unaffected by water. Your pet can swim shortly after application and bathing does not diminish the effectiveness.

Topical flea preparations are available over-the-counter or prescription formulations. Topicals available from your veterinarian may kill a broader spectrum of pests.

Tips for Topicals:

  • After applying a topical flea preparation to your dog's skin, keep her separated from the family cat for at least twelve hours.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after applying and dispose of the used ampoule safely.
  • Avoid touching your pet's treated back for twelve to twenty-four hours.

Oral Preparations

Safe and convenient, oral flea control products offer the an added degree of safety for humans: you will not come in direct contact with the toxic chemicals found in topicals.

Given monthly, oral flea medications are available in weight-based formulations for dogs and cats.

Oral flea medications begin working within several hours.

Flea Collars

Flea collars are available for dogs and cats. When selecting a cat flea collar, be sure it has a break away feature. If your cat gets caught in tight spot, these collars will simply break off, freeing your cat.

Flea collars may contain traditional insecticides or natural, herbal ingredients.

Sprays and Dips

Sprays and dips are no longer in wide use, since the advent of many convenient alternatives.

Perimeter and Living Space Treatments

In areas of heavy flea infestation, sprays may be needed to treat the indoor and outdoor spaces. Once the flea populations are under control, perimeter sprays will not be needed. It many take up to two weeks to bring an infestation under control.

Do not use perimeter sprays on or near your pet.