As pet owners you will know that unfortunately, fleas are an extremely common and annoying occurrence and it is important to treat your dogs and cats for worms and fleas on a regular basis. However, with 95% of flea and egg larvae living in your environment rather than on your pet, it is equally if not more important to treat your home too, otherwise the infestation will return time and time again.
How do I know if my pet has fleas?
It is not uncommon to be able to spot fleas jumping off and on your pet’s body, but they are very small and very fast. They are flat-bodied, dark brown or black in color (unless they are full of blood in which case they can be lighter) and usually less than an eighth of an inch big. However, typical behavioral symptoms include restlessness, and chewing, scratching or licking certain parts of his body more often than usual. If you suspect that your dog or cat has fleas, you can check his skin and coat for signs of them or ‘flea dirt’ which looks like regular dirt but is actually flea faeces. If you aren’t sure if it is actual dirt rather than flea dirt, put some on a paper towel and add some water. If it is flea dirt, then it will turn a reddish brown as it will contain blood that the flea has ingested and then excreted.
Finding the right treatment
With so many different flea treatments available on the market, finding the right one can be tricky. We have put together this list of some of the best and most effective flea treatments for dogs and cats to get you started, but discovering which works best for you and your pets may require some trial and error.
Frontline® Flea Spray for Dogs and Cats
Frontline® sprays do not contain the potentially toxic insecticides found in many pet store sprays, and this one is a one-stop-shop for any household that has both cats and dogs. It is also safe to use if you have kittens or puppies in your property, and is water-resistant so it is still effective even if you like in an area with a high rainfall.
Frontline® Plus for Dogs and Cats
A topical version of Frontline®, this formula will repel fleas and other pests at all life stages for a full 30 days. This helps to prevent re-infestation and keep your home clear of fleas for a month at a time. Like other Frontline® products, it is free of potentially harmful insecticides and water-resistant.
Seresto™ Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs and Cats
These collars offer a much longer term solution to flea and pest problems. Unlike topical and oral treatments which typically require monthly application, the Seresto™ collars provide protection for up to 8 months. There are multiple varieties available that cater for either dogs or cats.
Capstar® Flea Control for Dogs and Cats
If you prefer to administer your pet’s flea treatment orally then this is a good option. It kills fleas and can be used in conjunction with other popular preventatives to help stop any future infestations. It is also safe for pets that are pregnant or nursing. There are a number of formulas available for dogs and cats. Make sure you select the right one for your pet’s weight.
Advantage® II for Dogs and Cats
This topical treatment uses pesticides to kill and repel a variety of pests including fleas. It is known for being incredibly fast-acting as it kills all adult fleas within 12 hours of the first application. However, some animals find that the solution irritates their skin. It comes in a selection of formulas which are based on weight.
Sentry Fiproguard for Cats
A very popular alternative to Frontline®, Sentry Fiproguard is an economical option for providing basic protection against fleas and other pests, and is often used by people with a large number of pets. It is also water-resistant and so will remain effective even in areas that experience high rainfall.
Effix for Dogs
Another topical treatment, Effix begins to eliminate fleas as quickly as six hours after application and also repels a wide variety of other pests including mosquitos, lice and ticks. It is a good all-round treatment that requires monthly application.