1st Place – Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control

Overall Rating
5
Speed of Results
Application Frequency
Kills Other Insects
Ease of Application

Powerful Protection that’s Easy to Use
Frontline Plus is one of the flea, tick and lice treatments that is recommended by veterinarians due to the fact that is tackles not only fleas, but ticks and lice too. It’s a complete pest treatment for your dogs that will keep them feeling good, even in the summer months when fleas and ticks can be at their worst.


2nd Place – Advantix II K9 Blue Review

 

Overall Rating
5
Speed of Results
Application Frequency
Kills Other Insects
Ease of Application


Get a Jumpstart on Flea Control
Whenever warm weather comes around, fleas are guaranteed to start showing up as well since this is their favorite type of weather. Advantix II K9 Blue for Extra Large Dogs is the perfect product to get control of those fleas BFORE they become a problem.

Flea Treatment for Dogs Comparison

PictureNameResult TimeAge ReqirementRating
Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control
Within 12 hours8 Weeks5
K9 Advantix II
Within 12 hours7 Weeks5
Sentry 6 Count Fiproguard Plus
12-24 Hours8 Weeks4.9
Amber Flea and Tick Collar2-3 WeeksAll ages4.8
Bayer Advantage IIWithin 24 Hours7 Weeks4.7
Bayer Advantage II, Small DogsWithin 24 Hours7 Weeks4.5
Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick CollarWithin 24 Hours7 Weeks4.5
Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus ShampooOn Contact12 Weeks4.3
Vet's Best Natural Flea SprayOn Contact12 Weeks4
Capstar Flea TabletsWithin 30 minutes4 Weeks3.8

 

Flea Treatment Guide for Dogs

Warm weather means a lot of wonderful things for people; cook outs, fire flies, swimming and other enjoyable activities.  Unfortunately it also means fleas.  Anyone who has dogs, knows what it’s like to deal with fleas.  Even the most careful of dog owners have had to take care of a flea problem at one time or another.

Fleas love warm weather and once they get a foothold on your dog and in your home, it can feel like a losing battle to get rid of them.  This guide is dedicated to giving you all the information you need about the best flea treatments for dogs.  You’ll learn everything from what the best products for flea treatment are as well as the best and most effective ways for getting rid of fleas on your dogs, in your home and around your yard.

Where are they Coming From?

You might be surprised to know that there are many things in your yard and around your house that actually encourage fleas to nest.  In this guide we’ll help you identify these potential trouble spots which can reduce the flea population in your yard. Fewer fleas in your yard mean less on your dog and less in your house.  We’ve outlined many of these trouble spots for you below.

Climates that Fleas Love

Best Flea Treatment for Dogs4If you live in a warmer, more humid climate fleas can be a much bigger problem than for someone in a cooler climate.  It’s this preference for warmth and humidity that causes them to become more of a problem during the months of May to October or November depending on how warm your climate is.   Of course regions that are warm year round can have issues all year round as well.  In general, the prime temperature range that seems to increase population is between 70-85 degrees with humidity of around 70-80%.

Even though there is nothing you can do about the temperature and humidity, there are some proactive things you can do to minimize nests and to get yourself ready for when fleas usually start becoming a problem.  Preventing a problem is always going to be more favorable than trying to fix it once an infestation has already occurred.

How to Know if you have a Flea Problem

The first place to check to see if you have a flea problem is your dog.  If your dog has fleas then so does your yard and your house.   Depending on your dog’s coat color and density, it may not always be easy to see them on your pet, especially if they have a dark coat color like dark brown or black.  If the infestation is heavy, you will be able to see them fairly easily, especially on the inside of the dog’s legs, around his face and under his tail.

One way you can check them for fleas is to get a flea comb.  Combing their fur with this specialized comb will enable you to see what’s hiding out in their coat if anything.  The easiest stage of flea to find on your pet is the adult flea but there are also eggs, larvae and pupae to contend with which make up about 95% of the infestations that dogs have.

Another sign to look for is black or brown specks on the dog’s skin or on their bedding. It will look like mini coffee grounds. This flea dust as it is also called is the feces of the adult flea and is the digested blood of the dog. You will notice that if you dampen this dust it will turn red again which can also help you identify what you’re looking at.

Of course there is also the telltale sign of your dog scratching but this isn’t a failsafe method since dogs can be allergic to other things that could cause itching and scratching as well. More than likely if your pet has fleas, finding them won’t be a problem.

Check Your Home…What to Look for

If your dog has fleas, you can count on your home having them as well. Fleas jump a lot so if they ride into the house on your pet, chances are they will take a leap off of him or her and end up in the pet’s bedding, the couch or even your bed if your dog is allowed to sleep there.  Inside your home is actually very conducive to fleas thriving because the humidity and temperature is fairly steady and usually on the warmer side.

Fleas can easily live in your carpets, curtains, bed spreads and comforters, mattresses and even in the cracks and crevices of your sofas and chairs.  Don’t think that if you have wood floors you’re safe but it IS a lot easier to get rid of them if you don’t have carpeting to contend with.  Another place not to overlook is the laundry room.  Many homes have laundry rooms with the ever present piles of laundry that need to be washed.  These can also be places fleas will hang out, especially if the piles are left for any length of time.

Basements are usually damp, darker places which makes them a favorite spot, especially if you have any kind of moisture problem in your basement.  Make sure that there are not piles of newspapers, clothing or anything else that can be a home not only to fleas but roaches as well.

Check Your Yard…What to Look for

Your yard can unwittingly hold many places for fleas to congregate. The best thing to do is to take a walk around you yard and see if any of the following spots or situations is present in your own yard. If there are spots that match what we describe, there are things you can start doing to get rid of these potential nesting places.

Moist, shady areas – Anywhere in your yard that doesn’t get a lot of sun can hold moisture and that is one of the prime spots for fleas to inhabit. A lot of organic matter is usually found in these areas. It can be under trees, under the porch or deck, in and around the dog’s house if he has one, under a shed, and even under bushes.  Pay attention to where your dog likes to go when it’s hot out and chances are it’s a great spot for fleas to breed.  Don’t forget to check inside the sheds or outbuildings, especially in the dark corners.

Tall grasses and weeded areas – If you have spots in your yard that the grasses are tall or that there are a lot of tall weeds, this is another spot that fleas will be more populated.  Some typical spots will include wood piles, piles of leaves, around barns or outbuildings and even outdoor furniture or planters.

Standing water – Aside from mosquitoes loving standing water, it can also be a place that fleas will reside.  If there is spots in your yard that flood when it rains, this can be a haven for fleas, mosquitoes and ticks.

While you’re doing your walkthrough of the yard, take a notebook and jot down where all these spots are that you have identified. These are going to be the places you will need to do some concentrated treating when it comes to managing the flea population in your yard.  If you have piles of wood or leaves lying around, get rid of them.  Keep grass and weeds trimmed and cut down, and that includes around your lawn furniture and deck posts and the foundations of any shed or outbuildings you have.

Understanding Fleas… Why You DIDN’T Get rid of them Like You Thought You Did

If you’ve ever had to treat your dog or home for fleas before, you may have done a few things like giving them a flea bath and even spraying your home.  You saw a lot of dead fleas and your dog may have even stopped scratching…for awhile. A week or so later, you notice they’re scratching again and sure enough, the fleas are back.

The problem wasn’t that you didn’t kill them the first time, the problem is that you only killed a certain stage of them and there are several stages to the life of a flea. Understanding this cycle will help you understand just what is involved in getting rid of them and keeping them gone.

The Life Cycle of the Flea

The flea has many stages in its life cycle:

  • Egg
  • Larvae – caterpillar stage
  • Pupae – cocoon stage
  • Adult

There are many factors involved that determine how long it takes to complete this entire cycle.  These are:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Availability of host for feeding

The host for a flea can be your dog, a cat if you have one or even yourself or your family members. They don’t discriminate and stick with pets only, which is why you will notice flea bites on your body and the kids’ bodies when you have an infestation.  Any warm-blooded “animal” will do for them.

A Flea’s Life

Best Flea Treatment for Dogs1Here is the typical life of a flea…

The adult female flea will usually hang around on your dog for several weeks as long as nothing is done to get rid of it. For the sake of this explanation, we will assume that treatment has not been started yet.  During the time that she is on the dog, she will sick the dog’s blood for nutrients two to three times a day and lay eggs every day as well; typically 20 to 30 eggs each day. Over the course of her lifespan, she can possibly lay hundreds of eggs on the pet.

The eggs fall off of the dog anywhere they may be…the yard, your bed, the furniture, the carpeting, the floor, the car…you get the idea. Anywhere your dog spends time, can be a potential landing place for these flea eggs.  Once the eggs land wherever they have fallen off, they proceed to develop.  A flea egg is miniscule; usually only 1/12th the size of the adult flea herself, so these eggs can easily fall into cracks in the floor or in the pile of carpeting or wherever else they have fallen.

Once developed, the eggs hatch into flea larvae. These are tiny and worm like little creatures that live in your carpeting, cracks in the flooring, crevices in your furniture cushions or mattresses and anywhere else, including outside if that is where they have fallen off the dog.  Flea larvae feed on organic matter (why those dark, moist places in the yard we mentioned earlier are so popular) dead skin, and even the feces of the adult fleas.  The flea larvae go through some growth stages of their own, molting twice and then they form a cocoon and enter the pupae stage.

These pupae are incredibly resilient and protected.  They can last a surprisingly long time, just waiting for the right environmental conditions and an available host animal.  When they detect a viable host nearby, which they do through heat, vibrations and carbon dioxide that is exhaled, they will emerge as new adults and immediately jump onto the host that they detected.  Then the whole frustrating cycle begins again.  This whole life cycle can be completed in just 14 days when the conditions are right (humidity, temperature and a host) It’s easy to see why infestations can get so out of control so quickly.

This can also explain to you why giving that flea bath and using a flea collar or spray may kill the adults but unless you have treated your home and yard and have a flea killing agent that gets the eggs, larvae and pupae as well, you can be fighting a losing battle.

We will show you just how to fight this battle and come out ahead of the game.  You can’t do just one thing in one area and expect any results and you can’t just do it once.  It is a process and there is a trio of areas you must be ready to tackle: the dog itself, the home and the outside environment.

The Danger of Leaving Fleas on Your Dog

While people may readily admit that fleas are a nuisance what you may not know is that they can be terribly dangerous to the health of your dog as well. It is extremely important to get rid of fleas when your pet has them and do what you can to stay on top of the situation so they don’t return.  There are several things that fleas can cause in your pet:

FAD, also known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis – Sometimes you may notice that your dog is having a much more serious reaction to having fleas than just scratching. This is called flea allergy dermatitis. It is usually more severe during the climates where the fleas are more active which is the warm/humid weather but any dog can suffer from it whenever they have fleas.

You will notice that your dog might bite, lick or chew excessively on themselves until the area is itchy, red, inflamed and very tender and sore.  They can do this until hot spots form, which are lesions on their skin that will ooze. The most common places for these hot spots are the rear legs, the rear end and the tail but it is not exclusive to those spots only and can affect other areas as well.  Here is a list of common signs of FAD:

  • Hair loss that can present in a Christmas tree pattern along the base of the tail
  • Scabs and sores that are crusted over (aka hot spots)
  • Inflamed skin anywhere on the body that the dog continues to “fuss” over
  • Thickening of affected skin
  • Darkening of affected skin
  • Bad odor which can be a result of a secondary skin infection
  • Black debris at the base of the fur

FAD is extremely painful for the dog and must be treated with care.  If you notice that your dog has this allergy, consult your veterinarian before treating them with any flea remedies due to the open sores that the flea treatments can irritate them further.

Flea Anemia – This can be seen sometimes in bad flea infestations on puppies and small dogs.  When the infestation is severe, that is a lot of blood that is being sucked from your pet. Flea anemia means that your pet is losing blood faster due to the fleas than they can make new blood.  This is a potentially life threatening illness if it is not treated by your veterinarian and while it is not common among larger breeds, puppies and small dogs can get it and be affected quite fast.

Tape Worms – Tapeworms are the little rice looking worms that can show up in your dog’s stool. All fleas carry tapeworms…all of them. When your dog chews himself and eats the adult fleas they are also eating tapeworms.  Tapeworms reside in your pet’s intestinal tract and can block nutrient absorption.  This can cause weight loss regardless of how much the dog may be eating due to the tapeworms taking all the nutrients.

Getting Started with Your Plan for Flea Removal

We’re going to outline several different processes for you in this section. First you will learn the process for getting rid of the fleas on your dog. We will go over the different types of treatment available for your dog and help you decide which the best flea treatment is. Next we will outline how to get rid of fleas in your home and in your yard.  It is important stress the fact that you will need to commit to addressing all three areas: dog, home and yard, to truly get rid of the problem and keep it under control.

Treating Your Dog

Best Flea Treatment for Dogs3Getting rid of the fleas on your dog is going to make them feel much better.  Imagine tens or hundreds of tiny bites all over your body and imagine how much that would make you crazy. This is why you will observe your dog whining and crying and seeming to run from nothing.  It is not pleasant in any way.  There are several options you have to choose from that will work to help get rid of the fleas and bring them some much needed relief.

Monthly Spot Treatments – These popular flea treatments are given as a series of dots of the liquid that is in the vial. These dots are done down the dog’s spine along the skin and not on top of the hair.  The liquid combines with the natural oils that reside in the dog’s fur coat to give them complete coverage.  Most of these spot treatments take care of fleas and ticks too.  They are safe for the dog or puppy providing the correct weight is given when getting the dose.  There are waterproof formulas as well if your dog gets wet a lot.

Flea Collars – Flea collars are a way to provide long term protection against fleas and most take care of ticks as well. They are worn on the dog’s neck like a collar and can be worn along with their regular collar. Flea collars can last 1-3 months and a good quality one can provide great ongoing protection. If you’re treating a puppy, be sure to get a collar that is designed for puppies as an adult dog collar can be too strong.

Flea Shampoos and Flea Sprays – A good quality flea shampoo or spray is good for killing existing adult fleas instantly and is a good method to use n conjunction with any of the others listed above. It is a good idea to shampoo and/or spray the dog before adding a collar and the spot treatments (after the fur is dry) some shampoos can provide ongoing protection against eggs and larvae or pupae as well.

Flea Dips – This is a treatment that is commonly given in grooming establishments and vets offices, but you can do it at home if you follow the instructions and wear gloves as well as it is a chemical.  As long as you’re using a flea dip that is designed for your dog (based on age usually) there is no danger or pain involved as long as you are careful to avoid the mouth and eye area and the dog doesn’t have open lesions from FAD.  Dips are poured along the dog’s coat and not rinsed out and can be a good extended protection against re-infestation when others measures are taken.

Flea Powders – A flea powder is just what it sounds like; a powdery substance that is sprinkled on the coat of the dog and not rinsed or washed out.  It’s best to use a powder outdoors so the residue doesn’t leave a cloud over your counters and furniture.

Oral Flea Treatments – There are a few great ingestible flea treatments on the market that involve giving the dog a pill once a month. They are easy to give and work well to get rid of fleas and ticks by sterilizing the female so eggs can’t be laid.  The oral treatments don’t kill the adult fleas and they will usually jump off to find a better tasting host, so if you choose this method, you will need to couple it with a flea bath and treat the yard and house also.

Dog Anti-Itch Treatments – this is more of a soothing treatment for a dog that has been suffering from a bad flea infestation that you have gotten rid of.  It is perfect for use after a flea bath or after you’ve used a flea spray. It will provide immediate relief to your dog from the effects of being bitten a lot by the fleas. It is often used on rescue dogs that have suffered for extended periods of time with flea infestations.

How to Give Your Dog a Flea Bath

Since giving your dog a flea bath is one of the first steps in helping to get rid of fleas, we’re outlining just how to do that right here for your convenience.  It’s easy and even though dogs may not like having baths, they will love getting rid of the persistent biting that the fleas are doing.

  • Get a good quality flea shampoo
  • Make sure that you read the directions and only use it on the age animal the bottle intended. Puppies under a certain age cannot e treated by regular flea treatment methods.  Make sure they are old enough.
  • Use tepid to cool water but not cold or hot. Dogs overheat easily and do not need a bath as warm as we do.
  • Wet the dog’s neck first, using a handheld shower nozzle or a cup if you have nothing else. Make sure they are wet all the way down to the skin.
  • Apply the flea shampoo and later thoroughly around the neck where you have wet. This will keep the fleas from gathering at the dog’s ears, eyes and face where it is extremely hard to shampoo safely.
  • Now get the rest of their body wet down to the skin and soap them up well. Once the shampoo is applied and lathered, let it sit for a few minutes to kill as many fleas as possible.
  • Rinse the body thoroughly; making sure all traces of flea shampoo is gone. These types of shampoos can be drying so making sure it is all rinsed away can prevent skin irritation.
  • Follow up with a flea conditioner to further moisturize the dog’s skin and add protection. Rinse that out also unless it calls for it to be left in and then towel dry your dog.  Keep them inside for a few hours after their bath and make sure that the yard is treated before they are let out to play again.

That’s all there is to a flea bath. Once this is done, follow up with your chosen flea treatment, whether it is the monthly spot treatment, a collar or powder

 Treating Your Home

Next on the list to be treated is your home. Treating the dog and not treating the home and the yard they play in makes their treatment futile so remember that while it is a bit of a task, it is one well worth it in terms of really getting rid of them.  There are several methods used to treat the interior of your home for fleas.

Flea Foggers – Foggers, also called flea bombs, are a type of flea control that is used inside the home. Care must be taken when using these foggers and no animal of any kind or human can be in the house while the foggers are going off.  When looking for the right fogger, look for one that states that is “searches” for the fleas and not just remains on the surfaces.

How to Use Flea Foggers Correctly

Best Flea Treatment for Dogs2It is important to use flea foggers properly to avoid any problems with family members and other pets in the home.  Used correctly, they can be a good way to get rid of fleas in the home.

  1. Choose a good quality flea fogger brand and get several cans to set off in the house. Make sure you read the instructions on the can so you know how many to get for your square footage.
  2. Get the house ready to be fogged by clearing out all animals that reside in the house including small animals, birds, etc. If you have fish tanks and can’t move them out of the house safely, turn off the filters and cover them with blankets and secure tightly
  3. Open all the cabinets and drawers throughout the house including dresser drawers and closet doors too. Remove any utensils, food, small appliances and dishes.  It is much easier to remove these items rather than washing them after the fogger is done.
  4. Cover your electronic equipment and cover tabletops, any special furniture that can be damaged and countertops. Using old sheets or tarps is fine. Try to leave fabric furniture uncovered if they aren’t special antiques since this is a common place for fleas to hide.
  5. Turn off all the lights and electrical appliances and devices in your home including the AC or heater and the pilot light of the stove or hot water tank if applicable. Turn off all fans as well.
  6. Close out exterior windows and leave all interior doors open.
  7. Set the foggers on sheets of newspaper to protect the floor from any spilling. Once you set the foggers off leave the house immediately.
  8. Leave the house with all family members and pets out of the house as well and stay out for at least 4-6 hours or as recommended on the fogger cans. Do not go back into the house for any reason once the foggers have been set off until the allotted time has gone by.
  9. Once the time has gone by, go into the house and open the windows in the rooms so he house can air out. After he foggers have gone off you may notice dead fleas, chemical residue or dust coatings on your thing.  Vacuum and mop your floors to get all of the residue up.  Clean countertops and table tops even though you had them covered.
  10. Turn the fish tank back on and turn on the interior fans and turn the electrical items back on that need to be.
  11. Wear gloves when cleaning up after the foggers and throw the gloves away when you’re done. Don’t forget to wash all the sheets and clothing and wipe down all surfaces.
  12. For extremely serious infestations, you will want to do this again in 2-3 weeks to take care of new adults.

Electronic Flea Traps – These ingenious little devices can be used to attract fleas into the trap where they can be disposed of.  They work by luring the flea in with heat and light from the flea trap’s light bulb along with a sweet odor from the bait. This bait is inserted in the special sticky glued disk which the fleas stick to and can’t get away.  These traps can lure fleas from as far as 30 feet away so if you’re using them in a home, you will need to get more than one, especially if you’re treating two stories.  Since they are non-poisonous they can be used around children and pets with no worries.  No assembly is required and you can get refills for the traps as well.

Flea Sprays – A faster alternative than foggers, a flea spray can be sprayed around the home under furniture cushions, in corners, closets, under beds and any other place you can think of.  Some formulas can be sprayed on the dog’s bedding but be sure to read the can first before using since some cannot come in contact with the pet at all.

Flea Powders – There are flea powders that can be used in the home as well but these can e quite messy.  They might be a good choice for out of the way areas such as under counters, stoves, refrigerators and other places the pet or a child can’t get to.

The main goal is consistency and making sure that when you treat the dog, the yard and the home, you do it all at the same time to give the fleas a triple whammy that will effectively get rid of them.   Once you have gotten rid of them, continue to treat the home, the yard and the dog regularly (as recommended) to stay on top of the problem so re-infestation won’t reoccur.

There are a lot of flea treatments on the market and finding the one that is the best for your needs and your pet’s needs can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for.  This guide can provide that information for you so you won’t be in the dark about what methods you have to choose from and how to use them.