Best Flea Prevention and Treatment Medicine For Dogs (OTC)
There are many different options for warding off fleas.
For those looking to avoid synthetic medicines that are full of chemicals and that can come with side effects that are potentially harmful, there are a number of natural remedies that can be quite effective.
These options are especially good if your dogs are going to be around children while they are being treated. Natural methods can be not only effective but much safer for those who come into contact with your dog.
Home Remedies for Fleas
Essential oils and simple ingredients found in most kitchens can be very effective insecticide/ pesticides and have been proven to not only deter but also get rid of pests such as fleas. Many commercial treatments, in fact, use these simple ingredients.
Homemade Flea Collar
For this easy remedy, you will need a collar or bandana, your choice of either cedar oil or lavender oil, several tablespoons of water and an applicator of choice such as an eyedropper.
Dilute the oil into the water, using a ratio of roughly 1 drop of oil per 1 tablespoon of water. Either using the eyedropper or even a small spray bottle, distribute about 5-10 drops worth of the liquid mixture to your dog’s collar or a simple bandana that you will then tie loosely around your dog’s neck.
The treatment can be reapplied to the collar or bandana about once a week for the duration of the treatment.
Both of these oils can also be mixed with olive oil in the ration of 1-2 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of olive oil minimum and applied to the base of your dog’s tail for added effectiveness.
Homemade Flea Spray
This spray also calls for your choice of either cedar oil or lavender oil. You will also need either distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar or you can use a combination of equal parts of both.
In addition, you will need fresh water and a large spray bottle. This spray can be made without the essential oil if you prefer but the addition of the oil helps to give the spray a bit of edge as well as helping it to mask the vinegar smells a bit, making a little bit more pleasant and easy on your nose.
If you opt to use the oil, simply add a few drops to a mixture of one cup of vinegar and one quart of water. Once this is mixed, simply transfer the liquid to your spray bottle. You will use the spray all over your dog, being careful to not get the mixture on their head to avoid it getting into their eyes, nose or ears.
When you are ready to apply it closer to their heads you can simply spray a soft cloth with the vinegar solution and gently wipe around their neck, under their chin, and behind their ears. The solution can also be lightly sprayed on and around their bedding for additional effectiveness.
Homemade Flea Bath
As a once a week treatment for deterring fleas you can give your dog a bath with a homemade flea bath mixture.
For this solution, you will need fresh water, your soap or shampoo of choice formulated for pets and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The size of your dog will determine how much lemon juice you will need, but as a general rule, it is best to mix two parts water with every half cup of lemon juice and a half cup of soap or shampoo.
Simply mix together your half cup of lemon juice, ¼ to ½ cup of shampoo and 1 ½ to 2 cups of water in a bottle, label it clearly and use it to bathe your dog every week to aid in keeping fleas away.
In addition to treating your pet directly, there are natural remedies that can help to eliminate fleas from your house and keep them from reoccurring. Once your dog has had, fleas, if they are allowed any indoor time, it is highly likely that your living space has been infected.
The eggs that are laid by the fleas on your dog can fall off indoors and remain dormant for quite awhile. This can result in a reappearance of the pests, seemingly out of nowhere, even after you have cleaned and treated your surroundings thinking that you had completely eliminated the problem.
Therefore it is important, that even after pet and environmental treatments to not only clean frequently but also to keep an eye out for those pesky fleas.
You can use regular items found in most kitchen pantries to put together natural household treatments. One example is as follows:
Herbal Flea Spray
For this spray, you will need to gather vinegar, water, lemon juice, and witch hazel.
You will also need one unused vacuum bag and a home and garden sprayer that will hold a minimum of 6 to 7 liters. Mix ½ gallon of water with 1 gallon of vinegar, 16 oz of lemon juice, and 8 oz of witch hazel.
Fill the sprayer with this mix and spray a heavy layer on your furniture, carpets, all bedding including your pets bedding, floors, window sills and everywhere it can reach.
Be sure to first remove all objects that cannot be vacuumed and wash them thoroughly in the hottest setting available on your washer. Also be sure to first vacuum all floors, upholstery reaching as far into every crevice you can with the help of your vacuum attachments.
Using a fresh bag for this vacuum will help ensure that you pick up as much dirt as possible. Repeat the spraying anywhere from 2 days in a row to a full week depending on how bad your recent flea infestation was.
For those who are not looking for natural remedies but simply want quick, strong and effective treatments, the following options are easy to find and purchase.
With such a wide array of option available on the market currently, it can be somewhat overwhelming to figure out which treatment will be the best and most effective for you and your beloved pet.
Below we will discuss several options that are worthy of recommendation that will hopefully make your job easier and result in quick and effective relief for your pup.
Dogs with Epilepsy
For dogs that deal with epilepsy, there is always the concern of environmental factors increase the chances of seizures.
This is especially true when it comes to medications and pesticides that contain harsh chemicals.
Many of the popular brands that are safe for dogs that don’t suffer from chronic issues, can, in fact, be dangerous for dogs that have epilepsy. These include flea treatments such as Advantage and Program.
Safer options include Filaribits, Interceptor and Frontline Top Spot. More natural medications are also available and it is always best to consult with your veterinary while searching for the right treatment to try on an epileptic dog.
For quick relief from ticks and fleas, many people turn to Frontline plus. Frontline Plus is a topical treatment that is used once a month and is guaranteed to rid your dog or cat of ticks and fleas within 12 hours.
Not only does it kill off 100% of full-grown fleas that have taken over your pet, but it also kills off any and all chewing lice and ticks that may be present within a 48 hour period.
Front Line Plus is formulated with an insect growth regulator called S-methoprene which is guaranteed to dispose of flea larvae and eggs.
Every treatment is effective for killing off common tick types including the brown dog tick, the lone star tick, the American dog tick and the deer tick, in all of their stages of growth.
The applications are waterproof, and each treatment will last an entire month. Front Line also helps to control sarcoptic mange infections.
This Merial Frontline Plus treatment is also safe for pups and is designed to be used on dogs from 45 to 88 pounds and that are 8 weeks of age or older.
This medication comes in an easy to use 3 step application process that gives provides up to 3 months of effective relief from ticks, fleas and eggs and chewing lice.
Virbac provides several effective options for indoor flea and tick treatments for home infestations. Several options are available:
Knockout Area Treatment – This aerosol house spray is effective in quickly killing off fleas and ticks in both the adult and larval stages through the use of synthetic pyrethroids.
It then continues to prevent further flea infestations for up to 4 months following treatment. Designed to reach hard to reach areas such as inside carpets, drapes, bedding, floor cracks, rugs and upholstery to kill all pests.
The spray can be used without fear of it making a mess, causing any staining or leaving an unpleasant odor. One 14 oz can cover about 2000 square feet.
Knockout E.S. Area Treatment – This inverted aerosol spray uses pyrethrins and permethrin to terminate and end tick and flea infestations. Pyriproxyfen, a growth regulator, also prevents the reoccurrence of fleas for up to 4 months. One 14 oz bottle covers up to 2100 sq feet.
Knockout Room and Area Fogger – For quick and thorough treatment of hard to reach areas, this fogger contains pyrethrins and permethrin to terminate and prevent future outbreaks for up to 7 months after treatment. One 6 oz treatment covers up to 6000 cubic feet.
Capstar is a fast-acting flea treatment that is effective within 30 minutes after application.
This treatment comes in the form of a safe oral treatment that is designed to work with just one dose.
However, if for any reason, you feel that more is needed, it is safe to give your pet one additional dose per day.
The effectiveness of the treatment is enhanced through the oral dose because it cannot rub, wear or wash off with time or activity.
As long as your dog or cat is 4 weeks or older and weighs more than 2 lbs, Capstar is an effective option. It is also safe to administer the treatment to pregnant and/or nursing pets.
Advantage II Reviews
As a topical treatment, Advantage II for dogs is an easy monthly treatment that is guaranteed to be effective in killing and preventing new fleas for up to a month.
Designed to be used on adult dogs or pups of 7 weeks or older who weight 3 pounds or more, it kills fleas on contact.
Advantage II works effectively by using an insect growth regulator along with an adulticide to kill off adult fleas and prevent new eggs from hatching.
Furthermore, fleas don’t have to bite in order to be affected by the treatment. The formula eliminates fleas in all stages of life and is even effective in getting rid of lice.
Advantage II is waterproof and guaranteed to kill off existing adult fleas within the first 12 hours after application, and within 2 hours will eliminate reinfesting fleas.
Not enough information?
Seresto Tick Collars Review
For a longer-term approach and an alternative to topical or oral treatments, Serest Tick Collars offer an innovative delivery system that is safe to use on both dogs and cats.
These collars are only for use on cats who are 10 weeks of age or older, small dogs up to 18 lbs who are 7 weeks or older and large dogs over 18 lbs who are also 7 weeks of age or older.
Seresto collars are extremely easy to use and are a great odorless and nongreasy option for effectively treating and repelling fleas and ticks.
The active ingredients in this system are Imidacloprid and Flumethrin which work in conjunction to provide your pet with a double dose of effectiveness. Seresto is the only treatment currently on the market that uses this unique combination of ingredients.
Seresto works by repeatedly releasing a fresh, low concentrated dose of treatment in a timed monthly application. The formula spreads from the application site over the surface of the skin to reach all pests.
Seresto collars are water resistant and convenient to leave your pets at all times. In order to ensure that collars last for the intended 8 month period, be sure to only give our dog one bath a month. If your dog is a swimmer and likes to take a dip more than once per month, expect a lifespan on the collars of closer to 5 months.
When considering treatment options for your pet, several measures should be taken.
First, consult with your veterinarian and find out what they would recommend for your specific pet and situation.
Take into account, age and size of your dog.
Does your pet tend towards any certain sensitivities or stomach issues?
Consider your home environment and your family. Do you have small children and live in a limited space where it might be difficult to keep your dog separate from family members or other pets after a topical application?
Once these types of questions have been answered and you have consulted with your pet’s healthcare provider on their recommendations, head to the store to look over the selections.
While browsing, be sure to carefully read all of the labelings. If you want a treatment that will work double duty to kill off existing pests as well as preventing future infestations, look for phrases that use the word ‘kills’.
These are meant to accomplish both tasks whereas treatments without these clues are often designed for only one or the other.
Also be sure to take note of age and weight requirements on treatments as well as whether or not being safe to use on other pets like cats.
Topical vs Pills
The two most popular forms of flea treatments currently are ‘spot on’ treatments and oral treatments, usually in the form of pills.
Topical treatments are applied once a month and are considered to be quite possibly the easiest treatments to administer to dogs.
The medication is applied directly to your dog’s coat in one small area on their back and then left to spread and absorb into your dogs’ skin. It is generally considered that these medications are the most effective and have the longest lasting effects.
Topical treatments are made for dealing with both ticks and fleas. Some do both and some are designed for only one or the other, so be sure to read labels carefully so that you get exactly what you need.
Commonly used ingredients in a spot on treatments include fipronil, permethrin, pyriproxyfen, imidacloprid, spinosad, selamectin, and metaflumizone.
Permethrins specifically should never be used on cats, so be sure to read labels carefully if you intend to also use the treatments on household cats or if you have cats that might possibly have contact and be exposed to the medications after application.
If you opt to use a topical treatment you can easily reduce the risk of pets and family members being exposed to the medication.
Keep your dog securely separated in a blocked off room or portion of the house for a while after application until the medication has completely absorbed and dried up. This will ensure that the solution is not spread onto hands or clothing or furniture should your pet brush up against anyone or anything.
Trusted topical treatment brands include Advantage II, Bio Spot Defense for Dogs, Frontline Top Spot, Advantix II, Comfortis, Revolution and Vectra 3D.
Oral treatments come in the form of tablets, both hard and chewable that are to be administered once per month. Some tablets are even flavored to help the application process go a little bit more smoothly.
Some pills are designed only for preventing eggs from hatching and therefore preventing future additional infestations. However, they won’t kill already existing adult fleas.
Other treatments will kill off adult fleas but will only do so within a limited amount of time from the application. Sometimes these are highly useful for specific situations like in preparation for surgeries, grooming or time spent away in a boarding facility.
For treatments that only last up to 24 hours in your pet’s system, it will usually be necessary to follow up with a product that has a longer life and that is designed to treat both immature fleas as well as adult fleas.
For anyone that is worried that a topical treatment could leave any areas of your dog’s body untreated and unprotected, an oral treatment can provide the comfort of knowing that it will provide complete protection for every inch of your pet’s body.
Oral treatments can oftentimes begin working as fast as 30 minutes after administration, leaving all existing fleas dead within as little as four hours from application. Female fleas are capable of laying up to 50 eggs in a single day and 500 hundred within an entire lifespan. Aggressive and quick acting treatment is important in halting this invasive reproduction cycle.
Oral treatment options can also provide assurance that family members, other pets, and household objects will not be subject to accidental exposure from potentially messy or greasy topical medications. Pills and tablets are usually best given on a full stomach. Be sure to read all labels carefully to ensure proper dosage and use of the oral treatment you have selected.
Tips for Long Haired Dogs
With long-haired dogs, it can often be difficult to treat flea infestations. Methods, like combing and bathing your dog, can prove to be trickier with longer coats and even application of topical treatments can become a much bigger mess than they are intended to be.
When beginning flea control treatments on your long-haired dog, the best initial course of action is to give your dog a haircut. This allows combing, shampooing and treating to be done much more easily. For those who don’t care for a hairless look, many groomers know how to give an attractive cut that will keep your dog looking great during the hot and flea seasons.
Along with a thorough combing to loosen and remove fleas and a rich flea shampoo lather to kill off the fleas that are left, an oral pill might be a good option for long-haired dogs. This will eliminate a potentially messy application.
Safe Treatments for Puppies
Most chemical flea treatments are designed to be used for dog’s that are at least 6 weeks of age. It is not safe to use chemicals on puppies younger than 6 weeks old.
The best option for treating fleas on young pups is to go with a natural treatment. For very young pups, a nice warm bath with some Dawn dish soap. Dawn is effective at killing off fleas quickly and is used by many breeders.
Make sure to rinse your pup thoroughly after their scrub down and then take the time to go over your pup’s coat with a fine flea comb. This will effectively catch any fleas that hung on through the bath.
As you comb out the fleas drop them into a nearby cup of boiling water that has a few drops of Dawn dish liquid in it. This will cause the fleas to sink to the bottom and die every time. Cold water is not as effective because a flea can survive and jump out of the cup to escape.
Vaseline is also useful to have on hand and can be used a couple of different ways to capture fleas. If you see a flea on your pup, dab some vaseline on it to slow it down and prevent it from escaping so that you can reach it with a comb. You can also place some vaseline directly on the comb, at the base of the teeth, so that fleas stick to it and can’t escape as they are picked up.
Once your pup reaches the age of 8 weeks, you can begin to use otc treatments on them. Always consult with your vet to find which options they recommend. Also, remember to always read labeling carefully and closely follow all dosing recommendations.
Merial Frontline Control for Puppies is a good option for treating dogs that are between 5 and 22 lbs in weight. The medicated ointment is guaranteed to kill 98-100% of all existing fleas, larvae, and eggs as well as ticks. It is waterproof and gives up to 3 months of protection with 3 monthly applications.