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How Do I Choose the Best Flea Repellent?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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When choosing the best flea repellent, it is important to match the purchase with your pet's features. Most flea products are made specifically for either dogs or cats, and the repellent's dosage is typically based on the animal's weight. Price is another factor to consider, as flea repellent products run the gamut from inexpensive to pricey. Most flea repellents can be applied by pet owners at home.

Deciding what type of product you are comfortable applying to your pet is the first step in choosing a flea repellent. While sprays are effective and often economical for households with multiple pets, they are harder to control when being applied. During application, over-spray can drift onto floors and rugs in your home. Sprays typically require the user to wear protective gloves, and sprays are also not suggested for use by pet owners suffering from respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.

Powder flea repellent can also leave a residue when applied, and pets may shake or rub the substance onto furniture and rugs in an effort to remove the powder from their fur. Topical treatments are usually applied to the shoulder blade area behind the neck and need to be applied directly to the skin, not on top of your pet's fur. Topical treatments typically require re-application every 30 to 90 days. Some flea repellents are also available in tablet form, which are flavored to be appealing to your pet so they are swallowed rather than having to be force fed.

Know the weight and age of your pet before selecting a flea repellent. Typically, flea repellents are classified by the type of pet, such as dog or cat, puppy or kitten, and then by the weight and age. Choose a flea repellent specifically for your pet's weight and age range. Usually, it is not recommended to apply flea repellents to puppies and kittens younger than 6 weeks of age.

Some flea repellents can serve more than one function, such as those combining flea and tick repellent and control with a heart-worm, hookworm or roundworm preventative medication. These added benefits can drive up the cost of the flea repellent, but it may ultimately prove to be the most economical option if the other products do not need to be purchased separately.

Some flea repellents require veterinarian approval prior to use or purchase, especially those which feature heart-worm preventative. Without a heart-worm test, you may not know whether your pet already has heart-worms before you begin giving him the preventative. After choosing the best flea repellent, it is important to carefully follow the manufacturer's dosing instructions issued on the container.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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