Are Flea Dips Effective?


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If you own a cat or a dog, you’re sure to experience a flea problem sooner or later. Now, when it comes to fleas, there are a dozen solutions claiming to fix the issue. Flea dips happen to be one of them. However, not many pet owners know much about flea dips, and that’s the issue that this write-up aims to address. So, let’s start by figuring out what flea dips are.

What Are Flea Dips?

Flea dips are said to have originated sometime in the 1870s. It is believed that they were used by farmers to treat sheep and cattle. The dip was used as an all-purpose solution to treat everything from fleas to ticks. At least, that’s what newspapers from that era tell us. The dip became popular among pet owners after they learned about its effectiveness on cattle and sheep. However, flea dips went through several changes over the years. Most of the stuff you get now comes with Pyrethrin, a concentrated version of Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is a naturally processed insecticide derived from the flowers of the chrysanthemum plant. The Pyrethrin shuts down the parasite’s nervous system, which results in death. That’s how flea dips help get rid of fleas. You can buy flea dips for as little as $12, which is one of the reasons they remain a popular option for pet owners. Once you buy the dip, all you have to do is apply the dip to the pet’s fur using a sponge. The other option is to pour it over the pet’s body. The dip stays on the animal’s body and doesn’t get washed off for quite a while. This gives the Pyrethrin enough time to eliminate the fleas. So, to answer your question directly, flea dips are effective. However, you need to be careful. There are considerations to make.


There are issues concerning the safety of flea dips. In fact, some veterinarians are against their use. However, you can prevent harm from coming to your pet by administering a flea dip the right way. For starters, keep an eye on the dosage. Talk to your vet about how much flea dip needs to be administered. If you are careless, you could end up causing your pet’s death. Certain studies have shown that many pet deaths are linked to the use of Pyrethrin. Also, avoid the “more is better” approach. This is a horrible approach to follow, especially when dealing with chemicals. Follow the vet’s instructions concerning the dosage. Also, learn whether the dip is specifically concocted for cats or dogs. This is more important than you think. Cats are known to be sensitive, and a flea dip for dogs could be too strong for them.

You can find information about the techniques that are not so effective in the next section.

Household Tick and Flea Treatments That Do Not Actually Work

Fleas and ticks are a well-known problem for every pet owner. Everyone seems to have heard of some method to get rid of them, but it's not easy to differentiate real solutions from fake ones. This is doubly true if you get your advice from online sources. To help you care for your pet better, here are a few common myths busted about getting rid of fleas and ticks:

  • Myth: Keeping your pet indoors - While there is a slightly lower chance of tick infestation if you keep your pet indoors, fleas are a problem regardless. Fleas can travel through multiple means, including pant legs, shoes, clothes, etc. This means they can make themselves at home and start breeding inside your house. It only takes about 2 weeks before 2 fleas turn into 2000. It is highly recommended that preventative medication be given to your pets throughout the year.

  • Myth: Feed garlic to your pets - For some reason, many online sources suggest adding garlic to your pets' meals, either raw or in powder form, or administering it orally. The origin of this myth is unknown but it's a myth regardless. Garlic has no effect on fleas and ticks. Moreover, it can cause serious harm to your pets, especially cats. Stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, and in more serious cases, anemia are all a result of excessive garlic consumption.

  • Myth: Apply orange to your pets - Many people believe that oranges and other citrus fruits repel fleas if rubbed on their pets. While oranges tend to have an effect on insects, fleas and ticks are not insects. For it to have any effect on fleas, it will have to be chemically extracted and concentrated to toxic levels that will harm your pets.

  • Myth: Human lice shampoos work on pets - The jury is still out on this solution. Sometimes, human shampoos could work, but they contain ingredients like pyrethrins that are harmful to pets. Any vet will tell you to choose shampoos that have safer compounds. While it might be tempting to save a buck, it is simpler to buy flea and tick shampoos that are specifically for pets. They will get rid of fleas without causing any skin damage or more serious illnesses.

  • Myth: Plant Fleabane in your yard - There is no proven research that repels fleas. Some say that the plant, also known as Pennyroyal, will repel fleas naturally while others claim that you have to burn it to release flea-repellent scents. Either way, this is unlikely to work as you have to plant it or burn it in very large amounts. It also does not protect the indoors where, as stated before, fleas and ticks can be present.

Flea Treatments That Work

Instead of opting for unproven flea treatment methods, you should consider the ones that have been scientifically proven to be effective.

When it comes to flea treatment for cats, you can use the Capstar for Cats flea medicine. For a spot-on treatment option, there’s the Zodiac Spot On Plus for cats. 

For dog flea medicine, try the Capstar for Dogs. These dog flea pills will only kill adult fleas but will do so effectively. To kill fleas in larval and adult stages, try the PetArmor Plus spot treatment. 

Never use flea meds for dogs on cats. Flea treatment for dogs is different from that of cats. Using the two interchangeably can lead to serious health issues.

You can also opt for flea prevention measures. Using the Seresto Flea Collar for Cats or the Seresto Dog Collar will allow you to keep fleas away from your pets. 

Other than these, you can also use a flea shampoo for dogs or cats, alongside a flea comb. That way, you can gently remove the fleas from your pet’s coat while giving them a bath. 

Flea meds are designed to treat fleas and other pests that can infest your dog or cat. They're easy to administer, and they work quickly.

Flea meds are made up of two parts: the medicine itself and a chemical carrier called an excipient. The carrier is what makes the medicine go into your pet's bloodstream—it's designed to dissolve in their blood, so it can get their body where it needs to go.

The active ingredient in these medications is an insecticide (either Pyrethrin or Permethrin) which kills adult fleas on contact. The insecticide also inhibits the growth of larvae and eggs, so as long as your pet stays on a regular treatment schedule, you can keep them free of infestation for weeks or months at a time.

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