Pet Flea Treatments – Prevent or Cure

Friday 1st October, 2010 by Compare Pet Care.


There’s a wide variety of flea prevention products available on the market today, so it can be confusing know which is best for your pet, and your home, and which will be the most effective with fleas. Products available range in applications from collars to shampoos, spot-on treatments to sprays, all with different active ingredients and different safety implications.

Whilst the treatments can be very effective, the guidelines for application are not always specific on exactly how much you should be using, which can lead to problems with people believing ‘the more, the better’. With big flea infestations, this is not true, and in extreme cases over use could be toxic for your pets, so it’s always wise to be conservative with the treatments, rather than the opposite. The same applies to mixing flea treatments, one is all that is needed for it to work effectively, not a shampoo followed by a spot on treatment followed by a collar, as this could lead to an overdose. Giving a cat a dog treatment can also result in death in extreme cases even if is for a small dog, the products have different ingredients and are species specific.

Don’t use Dog Flea Treatments on your Cats

Unfortunately Vets often see cats after their owners have given them a dog spot-on flea treatment. If you accidentally give your cat, a dog flea treatment, you should wash off the product to prevent any more of the drug entering their system, and then get them to your Vets immediately. Symptons will include salivating, and fits, and the only way to reverse the damage is with immediate Veterinary assistance. Dog treatments include a drug called Permethrin, which is toxic to cats, and once in the cats system can cause severe damage.

A breakdown of Flea Treatments available:

Flea Shampoos – They kill the fleas on the animal well but don’t stay on the skin very long so are not good long term. They take 10 minutes to soak in and some parts of the animal can be missed when applying.

Flea Dips – Again good whilst they are on the skin and coat of the animal but do not last for a long period of time.

Flea Collars – Last longer than the previous two and work well if your pet keeps the collar on, but they can risk losing it without the owner realising. The collar can be applied too tight or too loose and will have different durations of effectiveness. Slight risk of irritation from the collar to the pet if fitted incorrectly or your pet has sensitive skin.

Flea Sprays – Can be given too much or not enough as spray amounts will vary with owners interpretation. Salivation can occur if the animal tries to wash itself immediately after application. Can be flammable if not used correctly in a well ventilated area.

Spot-On Treatments – Last well usually 5-8 weeks depending if used on a cat or dog. Normally last the longest of all treatments and are easy and quick to apply.

Once an application of a flea treatment has been given it is normal to see fleas for a short time after as they need to come into contact with the insecticide first. Once they absorb it they will die, but this isn’t always immediate so you will need to be patient with this. Regular treatments will kill all fleas in the home, at all life cycles, which is the main aim but again this may not happen straight away if new fleas are just developing. Remember prevention is always better than cure when it comes to fleas, as they will never get a chance to start breeding in the home if the treatments are already in use.