Preventing fleas and ticks is an essential part of pet ownership.
If your pet is itchy, uncomfortable, and crawling with tiny brown insects that are impossible to catch, you need to de-flea your mutt using appropriate medications.
However, how do you find an ideal treatment for fleas?
Don't worry we got your back. In this article, we’ve reviewed top-rated 5 flea treatments that kill a hosts of parasites and remove the threat of harmful infections.
We'll also fill you in on what to look for in an ideal treatment, saving you time and money.
In a hurry? Here is our top 4
Our Top Picks
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Best Dog Flea Treatments
Before we dive into the details of how to choose a dog flea treatment and what to watch out for, we present you the top rated products individually reviewed:
As a tried and tested product that's been killing fleas and tickets for decades, Frontline is a highly reputable brand.
Frontline is a cheaper over-the-counter product that's usually effective.
The product is easy to use, can be applied directly to your pet's skin, and kills ticks, fleas and other harmful biters.
It's mostly safe to administer to canines of all ages and sizes over 2 months old and weighing at least two kilograms.
The product can be used year-round - every month if necessary - to kill a host of parasites, curb infestations, and prevent the onslaught of life-threatening illnesses.
Some claims have been made that it partially removes ticks and fleas temporarily before the jumpers re-emerge prematurely.
However, this may be caused by the product being misapplied, or the rest of your home has fleas.
There were some complaints about the amount of liquid being much less than the same product if you get it from a vet. However, this could be the difference between getting it with or without prescription.
- Fipronil-based flea medication against ticks and fleas
- Three and six dose packs available
- Apply monthly for best results
- Suitable for dogs weighing more than 2 kg, from 8 weeks of age
- Other versions exists for heavier dogs
What we liked
- Easy to use
- Easy to apply
- Use year-round
- Doesn’t stain coat
- Results not guaranteed
Flea treatment is necessary for keeping your pet healthy but becomes an expensive exercise with a pack of dogs at home.
Bob Martin Spot On is an excellent value flea treatment that’s fast working, long-lasting and affordable.
Fipronil is the active ingredient that attacks the nervous system of fleas and ticks. If you administer the correct dosage to your pet, you may notice a difference after 48 hours.
Although Bob Martin is sometimes cheaper and claims to be more effective than expensive products, it’s not fail-proof. Furthermore, it’s better at killing fleas than ticks.
With minimal complaints about making canines sick reported, the product appears safe to use.
But it’s important not to apply too much against your dog’s skin especially if you own a smaller breed or puppy older than two months.
For the safety of your pet, always consult with your vet before dispensing the product.
- Protection against fleas and ticks
- Safe for use on small, medium and large pets. There are separate versions for each size.
- Available in one, three, or six packs of three tubes
- Contains fipronil
What we liked
- Excellent value flea treatment
- Safe to use
- Not fail proof
- Less effective on ticks
Because dogs spend most of their lives outdoors, they’re bound to pick up a barrage of nasty pests, including blood-sucking, disease-causing parasites.
Beaphar is the go-to flea treatment that’s impressively effective in removing fleas from short and long-haired pooches.
This product is great to de-flea your mutt on a budget because it contains the same ingredients as well-known brands but costs less.
If you’re new to the brand or don’t know how to apply the treatment, detailed how-to instructions are found inside the box and other necessary info.
Furthermore, the cardboard packaging is easy to open and user-friendly but tightly sealed to prevent curious canines from ingesting chemicals.
Depression, anxiety, laboured breathing, and a reduced appetite is rarely experienced but may affect some pups.
Read the warning pamphlet and FAQS before you decide to use this on your animal.
Don’t expect to see immediate flea extermination following application as the product takes approximately two days to work.
In that time, you may notice more jumping fleas than before, this is entirely normal and shouldn’t be cause for alarm.
- Topical veterinary treatment for tick, fleas and pests
- Six pack dosage
- Contains fipronil
- Suitable for dogs over 2 months, between 10-20kgs
What we liked
- Affordable product
- Comprehensive instructions included
- Rare, but side effects such as depression and anxiety can occur
If your dog doesn't keep still for longer than a few seconds, it might be challenging to apply standard flea treatments for puppies.
A pill disguised in kibble or your puppy’s favourite treat is an easier, hassle-free, and near-effortless alternative.
Johnson Veterinary Products also reduces the time it takes to exterminate harmful pests from 48 hours to mere hours or several minutes.
You might notice your dog itching more and excessively grooming shortly after swallowing the tablet. These symptoms are usually caused by fleas reacting to the medication, and a temporary discomfort.
Remember to bathe your pet after the treatment has taken effect; otherwise, you may find dead fleas and flea dirt in your pet's hair for days.
Worse still, innumerable flea eggs might still be trapped in dog coats, increasing the possibility of re-infestation.
Although an obvious choice for some canine owners, Johnsons and most other oral medications are limited in what can be treated. You'll have to use another product if ticks are the prevailing problem.
- Fast-acting flea protection and management
- Contains Nitenpyram
- Available in tablet form only
What we liked
- Works within hours
- Zero mess and fuss
- Can be disguised in food
- Oral medications only remove fleas
Buying anti-flea medication is usually a hit-and-miss experience. Some products work like magic, while others have zero effect on preventing flea infestations and enforcing parasite evictions.
RSPCA Flea Away is fipronil-based, a vet-approved compound that is effective against certain flea and tick strains.
That said, it may be necessary to rotate this anti-flea product with another frequently. One common complaint by users is that the treatments stop working after a few tries, which may be due to the fleas building up an immunity.
The product smells less potent than similar items on the market and can be applied to your animal without mess, fuss, or complications.
This product is an excellent preventative measure but may not work as well on dogs riddled with fleas.
If you have more than one pet, keep them from licking each other until the residue has dried. RSPCA Flea Away is safe for external use but may cause health issues, like vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy if ingested.
- Fast-acting Fipronil solution
- For flea and tick management
- Pack of three pipettes
What we liked
- Excellent preventative measure
- Mild smell
- Effective against certain flea and tick strains
- Becomes less effective over time
Guide To Flea Treatments
Choosing the best dog flea treatment can be difficult because you need to protect your pet from unwanted and dangerous parasites without risking their health in the process.
Like most medications, side effects and adverse reactions can occur in some animals, while specific treatments may be more or less effective than others.
What anti-flea meds you give your dog depends on these factors:
Before administering the best flea treatment for dogs, look at your pet’s health records and pre-existing health conditions.
Does he or she currently take medication, and if so, will this put your dog at risk of adverse drug interactions?
Your vet can prescribe the best course of treatment based on your dog’s health.
Nearly all anti-flea products are inappropriate for use on puppies under a certain age.
Read the label to find out when the item may be applied to your young dog.
The effectiveness of a flea and tick treatment for dogs may depend on the breed of your canine.
For example, topical medications may work better on short-haired than long-haired dogs.
Where you live determines which pests are common in your area and whether these crawlers have developed a resistance to certain flea meds.
For this and other reasons, some veterinarians recommend prescribed medications instead of over-the-counter treatments that work to varying degrees on fleas and ticks that are immune to their effects.
How to get rid of dog fleas?
Topical or spot-on flea treatments, flea and tick collars and oral medications can be used to kill fleas, ticks, lice and tapeworms and more.
How to get rid of fleas
- Don't panic, you can manage it
- Check with your vet if it's safe to use any medication
- Use a topical or oral medication to kill fleas on your dog
- 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment
- Use a household flea powder or spray to clean fleas in the environment
- Nothing kills larvae in their cocoon. So encourage them to come out by heating environment
- Don't forget to treat darker corners. Larvae don't like light
- Regularly vacuum your carpets and wash your dog's bedding
- Wash your pet with flea shampoo
Topical or spot on flea treatments
Use topical, or spot-on flea products remove fleas or as a preventative measure against possible infestation.
Topical or spot on are liquid medications that can be administered monthly. Apply directly to your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades, neck or other areas your pet can’t reach and lick off.
The liquid, absorbed by the oil glands of your dog’s skin, spreads throughout the body to kill off hosts of uninvited squatters.
Keep fur siblings away from each other for 30 minutes after the application until the solution has dried. If ingestion occurs, seek out medical assistance immediately.
Oral medications against fleas
Oral medications are chewables or pills that are ingested by your pet, not applied to the skin.
In households with curious small children or younger dogs, oral medications are safe to use.
These don’t leave behind messy residue and are fast-acting, with some products removing parasites (fleas, not ticks) within hours.
Flea and tick collars
Unlike other medications, flea and tick collars are said to be effective for up to eight months if water exposure is kept to a minimum.
However, the jury’s out on whether these collars actually work to remove tiny pests in the long haul, since fleas can develop a resistance to the released chemicals over time.
It’s also not the safest to use around human offspring who haven’t yet learned how to wash their hands after petting the dog.
Dog flea shampoo
These flea shampoos only kill the fleas at the time of washing and cannot prevent redevelopment.
As such, they can provide the much needed relief to your pet but are not long lasting.
A pro tip is to use the flea shampoo about 2 days before you use the topical solution. It gives enough time for fleas to emerge after the wash.
Dog flea powders
Once again dog flea powders that can be used on pets directly are not a long lasting solution as they provide relief as long as the powder stays on your dog's coat. Additionally it only kills adult flea and not the larvae.
However, you could use flea powders that are suitable for household areas such as carpets, bedding and rugs as you are using other remedies for your pet.
Mind that flea powder for household areas are generally not suitable for direct use on your pet.
How Are Parasites Killed Using Flea Products?
Several different active ingredients are found in anti-flea products that kill parasites. Some only killing flea larvae to fend off future pest invasions.
In contrast, others remove just adult fleas or both larvae and fully grown insects. Often flea products may also kill tapeworms that infect flea larvae, and hookworms and lice.
You may find that some products are more effective on fleas than ticks. What you choose depends on how you need to use the product.
Fipronil is commonly used in topical medications, which removes fleas by slowly attacking their nervous system.
Fipronil-based products approximately take 48 hours to work, so don’t be disheartened if you see more fleas hopping about than usual.
These parasites react to the medication by going into a state of hyperactivity or overdrive, before becoming paralysed and eventually dying.
Traces of spinosad are contained in oral medications, an active chemical that works similar to fipronil by overstimulating a flea’s nervous system, resulting in its death.
How Can I Keep Fleas Out Away For Good?
On average, fleas live for approximately three weeks, laying approximately 1500 eggs in her lifetime.
This explains why flea infestations are common and the need for regular anti-flea treatments essential.
Unfortunately, medicating and cleaning your canine friend isn’t enough to remove the threat entirely because 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment and can survive without a host for months.
To prevent your living spaces from teeming with microscopic parasites clean bedding regularly and vacuum often to destroy fleas at all stages of the life cycle.
How Often Should I Be Changing Flea Medications?
Rarely do pet owners find an anti-flea product that’s effective forever.
Over time, you may have to switch to another brand that uses different active ingredients to exterminate pests because parasites become drug-resistant over time.
Once you’ve started a new treatment, monitor your animal closely for adverse reactions and be patient, the medicine may work slowly.
During this transitional phase, continue with other anti-parasite practices such as household chores and performing tick checks on your hound before entering the home.
Unfortunately, despite flea treatments being essential, they do pose health risks.
Dogs may not be tolerant of all flea treatments. Watch out for side effects, such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhoea, and head to the veterinary immediately.
Fleas live on several different hosts, including other mammals and birds. However, although fleas do bite our skin, they rarely live in human hair.
Flea treatments contain different active chemicals that target fleas at different stages of their lifespan.
These are the symptoms of flea-infested pets:
● Itchiness and scratching
● Redness and irritation
● Bald patches
● Thickened skin in areas
● Tiny specks in the fur
We're amazed at the efficacy of Johnsons Veterinary Products as an oral medication option, considering it works faster than any of the products we've reviewed.
Knowing your pet has a flea problem is deeply concerning and achieving same-day results is a comfort.
As a topical solution, FRONTLINE Spot On for dogs is a globally recognised product that has been combatting nasty critters for decades and still works reasonably well.
Haven't decided yet? Here is our top 5:
Our Top Picks
- KILLS FLEAS - Fleas jumping onto your treated dog are killed within 24...
- KILLS TICKS - Ticks latching onto your treated dog are killed within 48...
- TRIED AND TRUSTED - FRONTLINE's original vet-strength formula has an...
- KILLS FLEAS & TICKS - Effective Spot-On treatment, simply apply directly on...
- MEDIUM DOGS (10-20KG) - Suitable for medium dogs over 8 weeks old, weighing...
- HOW TO USE - Simply part your dog's coat until the skin is visible, place...
- KILLS FLEAS AND TICKS: Beaphar FIPROtec Spot-On for Medium Dogs is an...
- MONTHLY TREATMENT: Effective against fleas for up to five weeks. Prevention...
- EASY TO APPLY: Simply part the coat between the shoulder blades until the...
- Puppies and dogs over 4weeks
- Up to 11k dogs
- Starts killing in 15mins
- Controls fleas for up to 8 weeks
- Controls ticks for up to 4 weeks
- Easy to use spot on application
So, which one is your favourite?
Flea infestation can make life unpleasant for our pets and us. Fur-tanely, there are a number of great solutions such as topical or oral medications we reviewed.
If you already made your decision or looking to use a different one, let us know why in the comments section below.
Sharing is caring
Go on then, be a dear aunty and share this article with your friends. That poor terrier is not going to de-flea itself!