As tiny as they are, fleas can become a big nuisance. In addition to making your dog scratch like crazy, they can cause a skin reaction which has the potential to become serious. Because fleas reproduce very quickly, it is important to get control over a flea infestation sooner rather than later. But which flea control products are best, and how do you choose the right option for your dog?
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of flea control products out there that can help keep your dog (and your house) blissfully flea-free.
When it comes to choosing a flea control product, you have plenty of options. Many dog owners prefer a monthly flea and tick preventive while others prefer a longer-lasting flea collar. Other options include flea shampoos, powders, and supplements. To help you choose the best flea control product for your dog, we’ve reviewed the top ten options. Keep reading to see what they are!
Top 10 Picks for the Best Flea Control for Dogs – Reviews
#10 PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Treatment
PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Treatment comes in several formulas for dogs of different sizes, so choose the one that is right for your dog. This product features a vet-quality formula that starts killing fleas and ticks within 24 hours of application. In addition to killing adult fleas, it also kills flea eggs, larvae, ticks, and chewing lice. Plus, it contains the same active ingredients as Frontline Plus.
Pros: kills fleas and ticks within 24 to 48 hours, offers a full month of flea control, same active ingredients as Frontline Plus, waterproof formula, kills adults as well as eggs and larvae, safe for puppies and dogs over 8 weeks of age, affordable
Cons: some dogs develop a skin reaction, may not disperse as well as higher quality products
#9 Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder
Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder comes in a handy 6-ounce container that contains enough powder for several applications. The powder itself has a pleasant scent that won’t bother you or your dog, and it offers long-lasting results. The shaker top makes it easy to apply and it works fast to kill both fleas and ticks on your pet and in your home.
Pros: long-lasting flea control, kills fleas fast, shaker top for easy application, comes in a 6-ounce container, safe for puppies and dogs, contains pyrethrins as the active ingredient
Cons: can be messy to apply, not water-resistant, contains some chemical ingredients
#8 Sentry Capguard Flea Tablets
As is true with other flea tablets, Sentry Capguard Flea Tablets only work against adult fleas and they will not protect against re-infestation. Flea tablets are a good option if your dog is currently infested with fleas and you want to kill them quickly but know that you’ll need to use other flea control products to kill eggs and larvae and to provide long-lasting protection.
Pros: starts working within 30 minutes of application, kills the majority of fleas within 4 hours, can be used as a daily dose if needed, contains powerful active ingredients
Cons: doesn’t kill flea eggs or larvae, won’t prevent re-infestation, not for puppies under 4 weeks
#7 Wondercide Flea & Tick Control Spray
This Wondercide Flea & Tick Control Spray is an excellent option if you are worried about using chemicals on or around your pet. It may be more expensive than other flea sprays, but it is worth every penny. It is easy to apply and works quickly to kill and repel insect pests.
Pros: made from natural ingredients, refreshing lemongrass scent, works on fleas and ticks in all life stages, safe for dogs of all ages, easy to apply, can be used on household surfaces
Cons: repeated applications needed for efficacy, may be somewhat greasy
#6 Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea Treatment
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea Treatment is a full waterproof formula, so you can continue to bathe your dog as usual without affecting the product. Compared to other formulas, Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea Treatment starts killing fleas and ticks much faster – within 12 hours rather than 24. Plus, it kills on contact so insects don’t actually have to bite your dog for it to work.
Pros: starts repelling within 5 minutes, starts killing within 12 hours, effective against fleas and ticks in all life stages, kills on contact without biting, powerful active ingredients, 30 days of protection
Cons: some dogs develop skin reaction, not for puppies under 7 weeks of age
#5 Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets
One thing to keep in mind with Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets is that it only works against adult fleas – it won’t kill flea eggs or larvae. This means that you may need to use another flea control product such as a flea dip or spray for complete protection. The good news is that you can purchase these tablets without a prescription and there is a very low risk for side effects. Overall, it is a highly effective product and very popular among pet owners.
Pros: starts killing fleas within 30 minutes, kills 90% of adult fleas within 4 hours, low risk for side effects, provides a full month of protection, easy to administer, no prescription needed for purchase
Cons: doesn’t kill eggs or larvae, dogs over 25 pounds may need a higher dosage
#4 Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray kills both adult fleas and flea eggs, plus it repels ticks and mosquitos. To apply it, simply spray it over your dog then massage it into his skin and coat. This spray is a cost-effective option that, while it may take a little more effort to apply, works just as well as most oral and topical medications. Plus, it is made in the USA so you can feel good about using it.
Pros: natural active ingredients, non-staining formula, can be used on dogs and indoor surfaces, kills fleas in all life stages, repels ticks and mosquitoes, easy to apply
Cons: not for puppies under 12 weeks, takes a little more effort to apply, some dogs develop a skin reaction with prolonged contact
#3 Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor contains powerful active ingredients to kill adult fleas and prevent eggs from developing as well as natural ingredients like aloe and oatmeal to soothe your dog’s irritated skin. In addition to killing pests, this shampoo moisturizes your dog’s skin and removes accumulated dandruff and scales while also cleansing his skin and coat.
Pros: provides 28 days of protection, kills fleas and ticks in all life stages, powerful active ingredients, soothing natural ingredients for dry skin, removes dandruff and scales, cleanses skin and coat
Cons: not for puppies under 8 weeks of age, may have a strong odor, needs to be worked deep into the coat for maximum efficacy
#2 Frontline Plus for Dogs
In addition to killing fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae, Frontline Plus for Dogs also provides 30 days of protection against re-infestation. There are several formulas for dogs of different sizes and the product receives excellent reviews from customers. It is somewhat more expensive than other flea control options, but it offers an unbeatable level of protection.
Pros: one monthly application, kills fleas and ticks in all life stages, protects against re-infestation, provides 30 days of protection, powerful active ingredients, easy to apply, waterproof
Cons: not for puppies under 8 weeks or dogs under 5 pounds, you shouldn’t bathe your dog within 24 hours of application, may not prevent biting but will kill on contact
#1 Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
The Seresto Flea and Tick Collar features a no-mess, non-greasy formula with a low concentration of chemicals that disperse evenly over your dog’s skin and coat. The continuous release formula kills adult fleas as well as flea eggs and larvae, ticks, and chewing lice. Best of all, the formula kills insects on contact – they don’t have to bite your dog for the product to work.
Pros: provides 8 months of continuous protection, kills on contact without biting, works for adults as well as eggs and larvae, easy to apply and fit, no-mess and non-greasy formula, low concentration of chemicals, continuous release formula
Cons: not for puppies under 7 weeks of age, dogs under 18 pounds need a different dosage, swimming may reduce the effective length to five months
How to Choose a Flea Control Product for Your Dog
Fleas are minuscule little insects, but they can become a big problem if you let an infestation get out of control. What many dog owners don’t realize is that the fleas you can actually see on your dog make up roughly 5% of the entire flea population in your home. Fleas can be found hiding deep in your carpet, your furniture, and even your own bedding!
Handling a flea infestation is no joke. The sooner you take action, the sooner your home will be flea-free. But how do you do it?
There are a number of different options available to kill fleas and to prevent them from coming back. As a dog owner, it is up to you to research the different options and to choose the one that is right for you, your dog, and your household. Keep reading to learn why it is important to tackle a flea problem and which products are the best.
Why Is It Important to Control Fleas?
Most dog owners think of fleas as a minor nuisance. Sure, they may cause your dog to itch and scratch, but they aren’t actually a threat to his health. Or are they?
Fleas have the potential to cause a wide variety of issues that can have a negative impact on your dog’s health and wellness. Beyond the scope of some minor itching and scratching, a flea infestation can cause a condition known as flea bite dermatitis which is an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Flea bite dermatitis can lead to intense itching and scratching which breaks open the skin and leaves your dog susceptible to infection. It most commonly develops on the back or at the base of the tail.
Another problem that can be caused by fleas is tapeworms. Tapeworms are tiny parasites that can be passed to your dog if he accidentally ingests a flea. The tapeworm is technically inside the flea, but they start to grow inside your dog after he swallows the flea. Tapeworms are usually small, around ½ inch long, but they can grow up to 12 inches long. In addition to an itchy rear end, tapeworms can cause weight loss which may become serious.
A third problem that can be caused by fleas is anemia, or more specifically, flea bite anemia. This is most commonly seen in puppies who develop severe flea infestations – the fleas feed so heavily on the puppy’s blood that his red blood cell count drops and he becomes anemic. In severe cases, flea bite anemia can become a medical emergency and may become fatal if left untreated.
Now that you have a better understanding of why it is important to deal with a flea infestation, let’s take a look at some of the most popular flea control products for dogs.
Which Type of Flea Control Product is Best?
Before you attempt to treat a flea infestation yourself, you should ask yourself whether it is a job you are capable of handling yourself or if it might be best left to the professionals. If you catch the first couple of fleas, you might be able to nip the problem in the bud but the chances are good that where you see a handful of fleas, there are hundreds more in hiding.
Even if you do turn to the professionals to deal with a flea infestation, you’ll still need to treat your dog to get rid of any existing fleas and flea eggs. You’ll then need to take steps to prevent future infestations.
So, what kind of flea control products are out there, and which is the best option for your dog?
Here are some of the most common types of flea control products:
- Topical Medications
- Oral Medications
- Flea Sprays
- Flea Powders
- Flea Shampoos
- Flea Dips
- Flea Collars
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these options and what they have to offer.
- Topical Medications – These medications are applied to the dog’s skin at the base of the neck where he can’t lick it off. Topical flea control medications usually last for a month and they are effective against fleas, ticks, and sometimes mosquitoes.
- Oral Medications – For dog owners who prefer not to use topical applications, oral flea control medications do exist. In addition to killing fleas and ticks, they may also kill heartworms and other parasites. There are potential side effects, however, and some dogs develop skin reactions.
- Flea Sprays – One of the most cost-effective options in flea control is a flea spray you apply directly to your dog’s coat. Some flea sprays last for several months as long as you apply them correctly and then keep your dog relatively dry.
- Flea Powders – Flea powder can be dusted over your dog’s body and then rubbed in to make sure it works its way through the coat to the skin. This option is typically not preferred because there is a high risk for side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
- Flea Shampoos – Bathing your dog with flea shampoo will help repel fleas for a short period of time which can be helpful if you are having your home treated for fleas and you want to avoid bringing them back into the house. Flea shampoos typically kill fleas on contact, but you’ll need to work it into your dog’s coat to be sure it reaches his skin.
- Flea Dips – A flea dip is a more concentrated liquid than flea shampoo and you can either sponge it onto your dog’s body or pour it over him. After applying a flea dip, you don’t rinse it off – you simply let it dry onto your dog’s coat.
- Flea Collars – A flea collar is typically a rubber or plastic collar that has been treated with a concentrated flea-control chemical. When you put the collar on, the chemical is dispersed all over your dog’s body, providing multiple months of protection. Most flea collars also protect against ticks.
When it comes to choosing a flea control product, you need to make your choice based on your individual situation. If your dog is already infested, you may need to treat him with a flea dip or shampoo to kill the existing fleas. From there, you’ll want to use a monthly medication or a flea collar to prevent the problem from recurring.
If you need help choosing the best flea control product for your dog, take a look at our top ten recommendations and select the one that best fits your needs. Good luck!