Choosing a Flea Preventative


What is the most effective flea med available? BG, Texas

Dear BG,
Unfortunately, there’s not really “one” most effective flea product. Because different products contain different active ingredients, they all work a little differently. It’s up to you and your veterinarian to determine which product might be most effective in your particular situation, then it’s up to you to administer the product properly and at the correct intervals.

Here are some questions to help you figure out which product might be best for you and your pet:

  1. Do you have a dog or a cat (or both)? Some products, such as K9 Advantix II, are toxic to cats.
  2. Do you have one pet or several? While it may be tempting to only use a product on the pet that seems most irritated by the fleas, you will only interrupt the flea life cycle if all pets are treated.
  3. Are your pets adults or kittens/puppies? Some products can be used in animals as young as six weeks while others should not be given until the animal is at least six months old.
  4. Are you trying to control other parasites? Some products only work on fleas, while others also control ticks, mites, mosquitoes and heartworms. NOTE: Any product that prevents heartworms requires a prescription from your veterinarian. These include Advantage Multi and Revolution.
  5. What is your pet’s lifestyle? If it includes frequent baths or swimming, Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Plus might be your best choices as they are waterproof.

As you can see, selecting the most effective flea product can be quite a challenge! The most important thing is to read the label carefully of any product you select to make sure you’re giving it to the right animal in the right way.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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2 comments on “Choosing a Flea Preventative
  1. michelle says:

    the problem I am finding . I have a small nine pound dog. he touches the grass . so he has all sorts of bugs . needs a lot of baths to remove them and there is nothing out there for this. only flea products. any help would be so greatly nice.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Michelle, As small dog owners ourselves, we feel your pain! While smaller dogs have an easy time hopping in the car for a ride, they can have a tough time avoiding the unwanted pests who are hopping on them! Regular checking and grooming are big parts of preventing the risks that can come from outdoor pests and it sounds like you’re doing a great job managing this.
      Outdoor pests can thrive in a variety of different environments. Some live in particular forages while others adapt well to more wooded areas. Consulting with your dog’s veterinarian could help identify the particular pests associated with your pet and the risks associated with them. This will help in developing a strategy to minimize risks as best you can. The prevention plan could range from avoiding particular kinds of plant life or a more specific type of grooming technique.
      Just like with flea and tick control, the best pest prevention strategy for each dog is a challenging process. Working with your dog’s vet will help you in designing the best solution and manage any unwanted pests! – SmartPaker James

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