Few things are more annoying to pet owners than flea and tick infestations on their pets. There are several flea control products available in the market today. Not all of them work in the same way; some are even downright dangerous and toxic to the pets as well as humans. Hence, it is best to consult a veterinarian regarding the right flea control product in case your pet is suffering from fleas. Additionally, we shall also review and compare the top flea products in order to determine the ones that have a better success rate in killing and preventing these pests.
Top 3 flea control products
- Frontline Plus for Dogs
- Advantage II for Dogs
- Capstar for Dogs and Cats
Let us review and compare each of these.
Manufactured by Merial, Frontline Plus is the most popular (though not the most effective) product for fleas and ticks. The active ingredient in this product is Fipronil. Unlike Permethrin, a commonly used flea insecticide, Fipronil is a relatively new synthetic insecticide that works by targeting and blocking the passage of chlorine through the fleas’ nervous systems causing instant paralysis. Fipronil accumulates in the sebaceous glands of the pet’s body from where it is released in a controlled manner. As a result, Frontline plus is water resistant and works wonders even after exposure to rain, swimming and bathing etc.
- Safe on dogs 8 weeks or older
- Available without prescription
- Lower side effects in dogs
- Might be harmful in large doses to humans
- Does not kill larvae and eggs of fleas
- It is messy and awkward to apply
Advantage II for dogs
The manufacturer (Bayer) has a separate product for Cats called Advantage II cats. The products for cats should not be on dogs and vice a versa. This is a once-a-month topical treatment containing Imidacloprid and Pyriproxyfen. It remains effective for at least 3 weeks, but many pet-owners have complained that the product loses its efficacy before 30 days are over. That being said; most have been very pleased with the product. The manufacturer also claims that Advantage ensures preventing re-infestation by killing every new flea the animal encounters within 2 hours. This means that you do not have to treat the animal’s environment.
- Available in pre-measured doses for dogs over 55 Lbs
- Remains effective even after swimming and bathing
- Kills fleas, adults, larvae and eggs
- Re-treatment required within 30 days
- Does not kill ticks
- Messier than most topical applications in its category
Capstar Flea Tablets for Cats and Dogs
As the name suggest, this product is used for systemic/oral intake and is recommended by vets and experts for flea control in dogs and cats on account of fewer side effects. (The manufacturers also make another product specifically for dogs only – so make sure you know which one to use). Novartis manufactured Capstar comes with the active ingredient Nitenpyram. The drug begins working within 30 minutes of ingestion and kills all fleas on the animal within 4 hours. The drug can also be administered repeatedly in one day to ensure that all fleas are exterminated.
- Works rapidly to wipe out existing infestation
- It is effective on dogs over 25 pounds
- No messy application like topical flea control medicines mentioned above
- It is not preventive in nature. This means that; if the fleas come back you need to re-administer the product
- You need to keep your pet indoors when using the medicine. This is because; many pets get agitated as the fleas start to bite them as they die from the action of the drug
- Capstar is not effective against ticks, flea eggs and flea larvae
- If your dog/cat is a reluctant pill-taker, you will need to crush the pill in its food
- Repeated administration may be the only solution in case of a large flea infestation
As can be seen, the different flea remedies have several advantages and disadvantages. Spot on applications are preventive, but they may be toxic and can sometimes cause adverse skin reactions in pets. Oral drugs and chew tablets are safer however you need to re-administer them and they are also non preventive in nature.
Hence, it is best to consult a vet regarding the right flea product to use. Additionally, you might also need to combine your chosen treatment with effective flea shampoos/powders/sprays as well as environmental flea control products to eliminate fleas from the pet as well as its surroundings.