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How flea treatments work

How flea treatments work

Posted by Pet Direct on 30th Sep 2020

It’s one of the most important roles of a pet parent, to make sure our animals are treated for fleas all year round. Now, there are more flea treatment options available than ever, and it can be hard to know which one is right - or how they even work. In this article we will cover the basics of how each flea product does its job and what makes them so good at keeping your pets scratch free.

It’s always important to keep in mind that if your pet has a more severe flea infestation, they may require more than one treatment and a trip to the vet. Some products will only target one portion of the flea life cycle. They may offer immediate relief to your pet or they may break the life cycle of the fleas by targeting eggs and larvae development. Your vet will always be able to provide you with a plan of attack for the best flea treatment for your pet depending on their age and health status.

Always follow the directions provided on your chosen flea treatments and never use dog flea treatment on cats and vice versa.

Flea shampoos and repellents

Flea shampoos contain additional ingredients that help to repel or kill fleas. Shampoos such as Dermaleen Medicated Dog Shampoo help relieve the itching and discomfort that fleas cause, as well as any other skin conditions that may irritate your dog. There are also natural flea repellents available such as the WashBar Flea Repellent, which is made with non-toxic and 100% natural ingredients known to repel fleas. In general, flea shampoos and repellents don’t provide the same protection against these nasty parasites as a medicated product. But they are perfect for use in between your pets flea treatments to help with any stray, pesky fleas that they may come in contact with.

Spot-on treatments

Spot-on treatments are the most commonly used flea treatment, and are available in both over-the-counter and with a prescription from your vet. These treatments are applied directly to your dog or cats skin, usually at the back of their neck so they cannot lick it off. Always check the instructions as some brands have different methods. Once applied, the ingredients will be absorbed into the oil glands of your pet’s skin. It will then spread out and kill fleas all over your pet’s body. Spot-on treatments have the advantage of becoming active quickly, and they will stay active for a specific period of time. Bravecto Spot On Dog will provide your pooch with 6 months protection against fleas and 4 months protection against ticks. Bravecto Spot On PLUS for Cats provide your cat with 3 months of protection against fleas, ticks, roundworm and lungworm.

Oral products

Another popular choice for treating pets against fleas, oral treatments can work in different ways. These are extremely effective because many brands will include an insecticide, which kills adult fleas, as well as a hormone growth regulator which targets eggs and larvae. Some brands may only contain one or the other, so it always important to do your homework to make sure your are treating your pet completely of both adult and developing fleas. Hormone growth regulators will kill fleas over long periods of time by disrupting the flea’s exoskeletal development; they can be effective for all growth stages of fleas by preventing the hatching of eggs and interfering with the melting process - and in effect, the growth of flea larvae. Not all oral treatments will kill adult fleas, and may need to be used with another flea product. Bravecto chewable tablets for dogs breaks the flea life cycle by killing fleas before they can lay viable eggs, providing excellent control of flea infestations. It provides 3 months flea and tick protection for dogs in one chew and kills 98.7% of newly arriving fleas within 24 hours.

Flea collars

Some pet parents choose to go with the option of a flea collar, which goes around your pet’s neck (like a normal collar) and usually lasts longer than oral or spot-on treatments. Flea collars work by emitting a pesticide in the area, or by releasing one that is absorbed directly into your pet’s skin. Seresto flea collar for dogs and cats provide 8 months of protection and kills both fleas and flea larvae. These collars are water resistant and odour free, so once you put them on your cat or dog you shouldn’t need to take them off until their 8 months is up.

Flea combs

Flea combs are available for both cats and dogs and are a natural, chemical free way of removing fleas from your pet’s coat. Many pet parents will choose to use this method alongside a flea treatment to remove any fleas, eggs or larvae from their cat or dog’s coat.

Flea bombs

If a flea infestation occurs in your pet, your home may also require treatment. Fleas can live on surfaces and in carpets which can cause reoccurring infestations in your pets. Flea bombs such as the Virbac Indorex House Pack can be purchased from your vet, and contain an insect killing aerosol. These are very effective at removing any fleas, eggs or larvae that may be living in your home. You will need to evacuate your home for at least several hours during the process, and any food or cooking surfaces will need to be covered to avoid contamination.

If you have any questions about which flea treatment is best for your pet, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of Pet Direct’s Customer Service Experts on 0800 200 240.


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