Get Ahead of the Scratching With These 9 Best Flea Treatments for Dogs
Who needs a human life partner when your dog is well-socialized and loves to travel? Well, there’s one thing that a human has over even the sweetest and smartest canine: They don’t get fleas come the first summer heat wave like our dog does. Take care of your pooch’s one little pest problem with the right flea treatment, and you two can walk right off into the sunset together.
1. K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, 21-55 lbs, 4-month supply
A few dabs of this liquid along the ridge of your dog’s back, and within 12 hours, the formula kills ticks, fleas, chewing lice and mosquitos. It’s waterproof, too, so even a web-footed, surf-diving pet can use it without issue. Pet owners recommend buying multiple months’ supply at once, so that you don’t let a few days lapse between monthly applications, allowing some breakthrough infestation to happen.
2. TropiClean Maximum Strength Natural Flea & Tick Dog Shampoo
If your pet’s been tromping through some areas where the wild things are, even with an oral or topical anti-pest treatment, you’ll want to use a pet wash that also has some anti-flea power. This all-natural wash not only smells fresh thanks to essential oils, it also contains cocoa to soothe your dog’s skin (because heat rashes can cause itching too, poor things). The formula’s anti-flea properties are active for up to a week, but the clean smell lasts even longer.
3. NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs, 24.1-60 lbs
“We’ve been using Nexgard seasonally for the last 6 years as advised by our vet,” says one die-hard user. “Our dog is very dark with lots of hair and is loooow to the ground. (Low Rider lol) so she’s hard to check for ticks. We have not once found a tick on her, dead or alive.” Indeed, these bite-sized meat-flavored chewables are favored by pet owners who have had bad luck with topical pesticides, or who don’t want their indoor cats (or toddlers) to come into contact with pesticides.
4. Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs, over 18 lbs
It’s not always convenient to reapply topicals or give your pet a chew tablet once a month, so a multi-month solution like this flea collar, which repels fleas for up to eight months, is a good alternative. The two active ingredients (imidacloprid to control flea infestations, and flumethrin to repel and kill ticks, larvae and nymphs) are time-released to work their way across your pet’s skin to repel fleas on contact. Note—if your pet has especially long or thick hair, a nice summer hair trimming will help this product get to their skin to work best.
5. Flea Away Natural Flea, Tick & Mosquito Repellent for Dogs & Cats, 100 Chewable Tablets
Like the sound of an oral flea treatment that is more like a daily vitamin than a long-acting chemical edible? That’s the value proposition of this pill, which you feed to your pet according to two criteria: species (once daily for cats) and weight (one pill for every 50 pounds of dog, daily). The active ingredient is a form of Vitamin E that suppresses the smell of carbon dioxide that your pet is giving off; since CO2 is what prompts fleas to bite, the pill naturally repels the little biters. And the pills are liver-flavored, so you’ll be able to just tuck them in Rover’s food, no problem.
6. Wondercide Yard & Garden Flea & Tick Spray, 32-oz bottle
Lucky enough to have a yard for your pup, but unlucky enough to find it crawling with fleas, come the warm weather? Opt for this treatment, a spray that uses active ingredients cedarwood oil and sesame oil. You just attach the bottle to your garden hose and spritz it around, lessening the amount of fleas they are exposed to right at the source. “We had a bad flea infestation over our back patio after a 100+ degree heat wave. I knew I couldn't let our pets out without doing something about it,” one reviewer says. “It took a couple sprays over a few days because of the eggs hatching, but in just a week they were pretty much gone. The smell was also pleasant.”
7. Flea Away Diatomaceaous Earth for Dogs & Cats, 12 Oz Jar
We like this natural pesticide, which is actually a dust made of fossilized sea creatures, as a way to prevent fleas from laying in wait for our pets in their favorite resting areas indoor and out. You just sprinkle it in the area around where the pet lies—or even a teaspoon full along their back—and when a flea comes in contact with it, the tiny silica particles puncture the flea’s exoskeleton, killing it. This particular diatomaceous earth is labeled “food-grade,” an important attribute since non-food grade DE has larger particles which can cause severe lung irritation. Oh, and it’s also effective against a veritable who’s who of other home and garden pests: Ants, Bedbugs, Silverfish, Flour Beetles, Cockroaches, Slugs, Earwigs, Centipedes, Millipedes, Sowbugs, Pillbugs, Carpet Beetles, Spiders, Crickets, Colorado Potato Beetles and Caterpillars.
8. Wondercide Topical & Indoor Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats
A natural alternative to flea and tick collars as well as chemical topical treatments, this spray has cedarwood, lemongrass and sesame oil as active ingredients, so when you spray it on your pet (cats as well as dogs, for multi-species families), the aroma evokes more of a high-end counter spray than a chemical soup. “We had a dog who had a reaction to traditional flea/tick meds and our vet recommended we try this instead,” says one reviewer. “Now all of our babies use this and the lemongrass scent is our favorite.” The makers recommend spraying on your hands and rubbing together, then wiping around your pet’s mouth and eyes so it gets an even application without stinging.
9. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
Want to control your dog’s flea and tick problems with a powerful potion? This shampoo does the trick with pyrethins—a naturally occurring chemical compound found in chrysanthemums that attacks insects’ nervous systems. And though the formula is made to kill fleas, eggs and larvae for up to 28 days, it’s enriched with moisturizing oatmeal, coconut extract, lanolin and aloe to help condition the skin and coat. (So bonus, you won’t need canine dandruff shampoo on top of this.) “We use this once on month on our household of 5 cats and 1 dog, which are all indoor/outdoor, and fleas haven't appeared since,” reports one satisfied user, who likes the sweet, faint scent of oatmeal it leaves on fur.