Choosing a Flea Product for your Pet

(Photo by Olu Eletu)
 A Note From Dr. Ed: 

Let’s talk about choosing the best flea product for your pet.  First, we need to answer a few basic questions that will direct us towards the appropriate product. Most people searching for flea products are looking for flea products because their pets already have fleas.  So, although a preventative is the best option, most of us don’t pursue prevention but rather treatment.  

So let’s assume for a moment that you fit into the “I’ve already got a flea problem” category.  If this is the case, the first order of business is to eliminate the adult fleas.  A really good and effective adulticide for fleas is Capstar.  Capstar is an oral pill that starts killing fleas within 30 minutes.  You can give this product to both dogs and cats, it works very quickly, and it is relatively safe and inexpensive.  The only downside?  Capstar only kills adult fleas and it only stays active for 24 hours (just long enough to eliminate the fleas currently on your pet).  So what about the eggs and larvae?  And what will work for an extended period of time?

This is where the number of choices becomes a bit overwhelming.  Let’s simplify by asking if you want a pill or a topical solution.  I personally like pills- they eliminate all of the mess associated with topical products.  Here are some great options:

  1. Bravecto– comes in a pill form, takes care of fleas and ticks, and remains effective for three months
  2. Nexgard – comes in a pill form, takes care of fleas and ticks, remains effective for one month
  3. Sentinel– comes in a pill form, takes care of fleas (not ticks), includes heartworm medication, remains effective for one month
  4. Sentinel Spectrum– comes in a pill form, takes care of fleas (not ticks), includes heartworm medication, remains effective for one month

The only downside to the above listed products is that all four require a prescription from your veterinarian.  

Now, if you fit into the most frequently encountered group of people, (which consists of those of us that don’t consistently apply or administer flea preventative until you have seen fleas), topical products are your best option.  There is a whole list of really effective topical flea control products designed for your situation.  My advice is to stick with name brand and veterinary approved options.  In my experience, those products are more reliable and much more predictable.  Topical flea medicines are typically applied monthly and work really well.  Below are my personal favorites. All of these work extremely well, but each product prioritizes differently. 

  1. Frontline Plus– for fleas and ticks on dogs and cats
  2. Advantage II– for fleas only on dogs and cats
  3. Advantix– for fleas and ticks on dogs only
  4. Advantage Multi– for fleas, intestinal worms, and prevention of heartworm disease in dogs and cats.  

Rarely do these products seem to last four full weeks.  I frequently suggest that clients apply Frontline Plus or Advantage II every two weeks, especially with tick or flea infestations.  Your veterinarian may also suggest more frequent application of topical flea products if you have a pet with a flea allergy.

I hope you find this information somewhat helpful.  I strongly suggest that you talk to your veterinary professional about what he or she finds to be most effective. Your veterinarian will be more than willing to discuss flea and tick control as it is such a common issue. 

Check out our very affordable selection of flea and tick medications at
Our information is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.  Do not use this information for diagnostic purposes. Always take your pet to your veterinarian to obtain a diagnosis and course of treatment.