How Do I Choose the Best Flea Medicine?

J. Beam

Fleas represent the greatest pest control problem for pet owners and there are literally dozens of different views on the subject. When it comes to flea control and choosing flea medicine, the best approach depends largely on your personal goals and pet-owner convictions. Likely, the top priority is removing any fleas from your home, which also requires removing them from your dog or cat. Flea medicine is available in a few different forms and sold under several different brands, most of which are very effective at the purpose for which they are manufactured.

Cat with fleas.
Cat with fleas.

Flea medicine can be either topical or oral. Topical flea medicine ranges from sprays and powders to single spot applications that are absorbed subcutaneously. These types of flea medicines are indeed effective at both killing fleas and disrupting their life cycle, but they are pesticides. Pesticides are not looked kindly upon by many people and in some cases, such as pets sharing homes with small children, are not entirely safe.

A flea.
A flea.

While topical flea treatments containing pesticides are similar in active ingredients, inert ingredients may vary widely and are often not disclosed on the product label. If you have any doubt as to their toxicity to dogs, cats, other pets and especially humans, you may want to thoroughly research the product and its potential side effects. In addition, read the warning labels on the product carefully before use.

Another category of flea medicine includes oral flea prevention products, some of which contain neurotoxins. The indications for oral flea meds either kills the adult or fleas, or prevents fleas in the pupae or larvae stage from hatching. Most oral flea meds are given once a month and while you may choose to do further research about the active and inert ingredients, you can be assured there is no residual pesticide for the humans or other pets in your house to come in contact with.

Both types of flea medicines are available in pet stores, in vet offices, and online. Many of the brands were once available by veterinary prescription only, but are now available over the counter. If you have a preference of natural over chemical, you can certainly do research and find plenty of information about natural flea prevention. There are many ways to treat and prevent fleas, though flea medicine tends to be the quickest way of dealing with a present infestation. Talk to your veterinary if you have concerns about your dog’s ability to take flea medicine or if you are in search of holistic options.

Oral flea medications are a type of dog flea treatment.
Oral flea medications are a type of dog flea treatment.

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