Different types of flea treatment for dogs

Different types of flea treatment for dogs

One of the more unpleasant sides of dog ownership is dealing with fleas, and even if you never see fleas on your dog, it is important that you set up and maintain a good flea prevention routine to protect them. Not only are fleas an irritating annoyance for your dog, but they can also of course infest your home, and be passed on with ease to other dogs and a wide range of other animals such as cats, small pets, and people.

There are many different methods of treating and preventing fleas, and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. In some cases it is necessary or desirable to tackle flea prevention or eradication using a combined approach, using more than one method of flea treatment regularly or at the same time.

Read on to learn more about the different methods of preventing and treating fleas on dogs, and their pros and cons.

Flea collars

Flea collars for dogs are simple collars that are impregnated with anti-parasitic chemicals that both repel fleas and kill any fleas that are present. Some of the chemical compound is also absorbed into the skin of the neck, to further repel fleas. Flea collars should be used alongside of the dog’s normal collar, and are not designed for attaching to a lead.

Flea collars are generally inexpensive to buy and easy to find, but they need replacing regularly, as they lose their effectiveness with time. Some dogs are sensitive to the chemicals contained within flea collars, and so they may not be suitable for all dogs.

Flea shampoo

Flea shampoo is a dog grooming product to use when you bathe your dog, to help to kill fleas and wash them out of the coat. It is often used in the case of flea infestations, and generally in combination with additional methods of flea control. Bathing your dog with a flea shampoo does not generally offer protection against later infestations, and so is not usually recommended as a preventative or standalone flea treatment method.

Flea sprays

Flea sprays to use directly on dogs are non-aerosol sprays of an anti-parasitic solution that is applied directly to the coat. Fleas are killed on contact, and regular re-applications are required to remain effective. Flea sprays do not provide a great deal of preventative protection after application, but do remain on the coat for some time where they may be licked or ingested by the dog. While this shouldn’t generally have an adverse affect on health, it should be prevented if possible.

Flea tablets

Flea tablets are given to the dog to eat, and will kill fleas on the body by means of the active ingredient in the product being released through the skin. This should then kill fleas on contact, and remain effective for around a day.

Flea tablets do not provide any ongoing prevention or protection for the dog, and some dogs are very sensitive to certain types of flea tablets, and may become ill from them. The efficacy of flea tablets is something that is open to debate, with many veterinary practices advising against their usage due to feeling that they are either ineffective, or may cause sickness in the treated dog.

Spot-on treatments

Spot-on flea treatments are small disposable pipettes of liquid that are applied to the skin on the back of the dog’s neck. Once it has got to work, the liquid kills fleas on the body, and continues to repel fleas for a month following treatment.

There are a great many different brands and types of spot-on flea treatments, and not all of them are the same. It is generally advised to steer clear of inexpensive supermarket spot-on flea treatment brands, as these are not considered to be particularly effective or of a very good quality. Some of the spot-on flea treatments towards the top end of the scale are only available from veterinary practices, and can prove rather expensive to buy. However, these are generally considered to be the best flea treatment and prevention products available, and may have multiple additional benefits as well.

Products such as Advantix treat and prevent not only fleas but a wide variety of other parasites, such as sand flies and ticks, while some other spot-on flea treatments will also offer protection against some common intestinal worms as well.

Household flea treatments

All of the above products are designed to be used directly on the dog in question, which is the most effective and direct approach to dealing with fleas on your dog. However, if your dog is severely infested or if there are fleas within the home as well, you may need to treat your house and soft furnishings too.

Flea bombs and/or household flea sprays can be used to do this, and it is always important to check whether any spray-on flea product is designed for application to the dog or to the house. You can also use a canine flea shampoo to hand-wash soft bedding or blankets that might also be harbouring fleas, to keep them from jumping back and forth onto your dog!

Whatever method of flea prevention or treatment you choose, it is wise to run it past your dog’s own vet first, and get their input if you find that your current flea treatment protocol is losing its effectiveness or causing any problems.



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