There are numerous products that will kill adult fleas on your dog. However, they vary in the duration of their effects. Most products will kill any fleas present on your dog, at the time of application but many have no lasting effect. Your dog may have more fleas within 24 hours of being treated.
1. Flea shampoos
When using a flea shampoo, always begin on the dog’s head, face, and ears so the fleas won’t run for cover in those hard to reach areas. Also be extra careful not to drip any solution in your pet’s eyes. Applying the solution with a sponge or face cloth is helpful. Once applied make sure all the shampoo is rinsed out thoroughly from the coat.
2. Flea Sprays
Some of the newer, more effective sprays can be a valuable part of the overall treatment plan. They kill adult fleas rapidly and are safe enough to use daily, should that be necessary. Flea sprays containing insect growth regulators (IGR’s) are helpful in managing the overall problem because they help to break the flea life cycle. Make sure you read the label when using any of these products. This is because they might be recommended as a once a week application, instead of a daily application.
3. Flea Powders.
Flea powders are really easy to use. I suggest brushing your dogs’ fur first and then brushing it in the opposite direction so that the powder can land on and make contact with the skin easier. Once you’ve done that, then sprinkle the flea powder along your dogs spine. Starting at the head and working your way along the body and down to the tail on your dog’s coat. Making sure you avoid your dog’s eyes and your dog’s nose.
4. Flea Rinses or Dips.
Flea rinses or dips may be effective for four to five days, depending on the product. The rinse is applied after the dog has been shampooed and not rinsed out and left to dry on the dog’s coat. You need to dip the entire dog from nose to tail. Follow directions carefully regarding frequency throughout the flea season.
Pet shops and supermarkets sell a huge variety of flea dips and shampoos for your pet. If your dog has only a few fleas, there’s no reason why you can’t treat him yourself. Make sure to follow the label instructions on whatever product you buy, and pay close attention to age restrictions. Many products are not suitable for young puppies. Never use cat products on dogs.
As with flea shampoos, when using a flea dip, always begin on the dog’s head, face, and ears so the fleas won’t run for shelter in those hard to reach areas. Be extra careful not to drip any solution in your pet’s eyes. Applying the solution with a sponge is helpful.
You might want to take your dog to the veterinarian where either an assistant or a groomer on staff will dip your pet, or take your dog to a grooming shop for flea treatment.
Sprays contain flea growth regulators which are called IGR’s. These sprays are usually applied weekly and the growth regulators help break the flea’s life cycle. As with the flea powder above, brush your dogs’ fur and then brush it in the opposite direction so that the spay can land on and make contact easier with the skin.
6. Flea collars.
Flea collars are an easy, economical, and useful method of flea control when used BEFORE you see fleas. They aren’t very effective though if you already a flea problem.
Flea collars are on the dog and working 24 hours per day. Many people don’t like the smell of insecticidal flea collars or the smell and oily feeling the insecticide leaves on their hands after petting a dog wearing one. But, they are a lot better than nothing!
Many flea collars kill adult fleas and also make flea eggs sterile. These are generally called Egg-Stopper Collars and contain insect growth regulating ingredients, which prevents eggs from hatching.
Some dogs are sensitive to flea collars and can develop a skin irritation under the collar, so if this happens, you should remove the collar and use another method of flea control.
Also available are high tech electronic flea collars emit powerful ultrasonic pulses. They are supposed to be inaudible and harmless to pets and humans but, fleas go crazy!
7. Spot-on products.
Advantage® and Frontline® are two brand name products that are applied topically to a small area of the dog’s skin and they effectively kill fleas for at least a month. They come in small vials that contain one dose for various sizes of dogs. You need to snap or twist off the top and then part the dogs fur along the spine and apply direct to the skin. They kill adult fleas, usually before the flea has the opportunity to bite your dog.
Multi-parasitic tablets/pills prevent flea eggs from hatching when administered orally to pets once a month at mealtime. Dogs are given the dose in tablet form. Different tablet/pill sizes and suspension doses are prescribed according to the animal’s weight.
When an adult female flea then bites a treated dog, the flea ingests the active ingredient (lufenuron) which then passes into her eggs and prevents them from hatching thereby breaking the flea life cycle of the next generation of flea eggs. In effect, it kills the next generation of fleas. There are other similar products which contain both the flea control ingredient and heartworm medication all in one dose.
9. Natural methods
Natural methods include essential herbal oils, essential fatty acids, garlic, and/or B vitamins which tend to make the animal less tasty to fleas. You can also supplement with garlic or brewers yeast tablets. Some animals are allergic to brewers yeast, so watch closely the first week or so to make sure the itching doesn’t get worse.
10. Flea Combs.
Run the comb through your pet’s hair and gather a bit of hair and “flea dirt”. Daily flea combing may seem like a tedious process, but you can trap some of them in the comb. Make sure to drown them in soapy water though because fleas can jump out of plain water.