Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment How to Know What You Need

BY | September 19 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment
expert or vet photo
vet verified PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian DVM

Thumbnail of K9 Advantix II for Dogs

K9 Advantix II for Dogs

Flea & Tick
{{petcare_price|currency}} Price in Cart w/PetPlus {{petplus_price|currency}} See PetPlus Price in Cart

Where you live plays a big role in what sort of flea and tick protection, like K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus, you should be using on your pets.

Location, location, location! When it comes time to treat your pet during flea and tick season, those three words ring true. Where you live plays a big role in what sort of flea and tick protection you should be using on your pets, like Revolution for dogs, Frontline Plus, or Advantage for cats.

Fleas Like It Hot

Much like retiring grandparents, fleas are attracted to the warmer climates. If your area’s average temperature is below 40 degrees, we classify that as a “Low Flea Alert.” If your area’s average temperature is between 40 and 64 degrees, that’s a “Moderate Flea Alert.” If your area’s average temperature is 65 and above, that’s a “High Flea Alert.”

What does this mean? Simply put, if you live in an area where it stays really hot all year round, you need to take the advice of many veterinarians and provide constant flea protection for your pet.  That means you need a flea treatment solution that keeps your pet pest-free, but also is as low-hassle for you as possible since you will have to apply the treatment to your pet throughout the entire year.

When to Treat for Fleas in the Heat

For instance, if you live in some parts of the Southern United States, you will be dealing with the ideal conditions for fleas: between 65 and 80 degrees and 70 to 85 percent humidity. In this case, it may be easiest to use spot-on flea and tick treatments like K9 Advantix II, Advantage Multi for Cats, or Frontline Plus. Both need to be applied to your pet only once a month and kill existing fleas while also regulating flea growth. K9 Advantix II also kills and repels mosquitoes, which are found in high numbers in hot areas of the country as well.

If you’re worried about missing a spot when you apply spot-on solutions, you can also use oral flea pills like Comfortis or Capstar Flea Killer to give your pet quick pest relief. Some of these treatments begin working within 30 minutes and render all fleas dead within four hours. However, some oral flea pills only last for 24 hours, meaning if you live in a hot region and need protection every single day of the year, it’s probably easier to use the spot-on treatment.

Perhaps the easiest way to provide non-stop protection for your pet is to use a long-lasting flea collar, like Seresto, which releases flea and tick repelling chemicals for 8 months. You can place the collar on your pet, and they'll be protected for months.

When to Treat for Fleas in the Rain

If you live in a cold and wet climate, both K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus are waterproof, meaning they can keep your pet flea-free even during a rain shower. Just apply the spot-on solution once a month, and you’re good to go. That fact is good to know for those living in hot and dry climates as well. Let your dog swim in that lake or jump in front of that garden hose! Your pet will still be protected from fleas afterward.

When to Treat For Fleas in the Cold

Ok, so you live somewhere that can be downright freezing. There’s only a high flea threat during a few months of the year. When should you begin to treat your dog?

If you’re set on not providing your dog with year-round flea protection, we recommend you begin treatment on your dog a few months before the peak flea season for your area. Find out when that will be by looking at the graph at the bottom of our map, which is based on your region’s historical weather data.

Welcome to Tick Country

Sadly, ticks don’t take vacations. Your pet can get bit by a tick year-round, depending on your home state. That means if your pet spends a good amount of time outside, you should seriously consider getting some strong tick protection.

Our map shows the different types of ticks commonly found in the United States, some of which are most associated with certain diseases. Deer ticks can cause Lyme disease; American dog ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as cause tick paralysis; the Brown dog tick can cause Ehrlichiosis, which can become incurable; and Lone Star ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

West Coast Ticks

Using our map, you can see that on the West Coast, you’re likely to find the brown dog tick, American dog tick, and deer tick in different combinations. And if you’re living in California, there’s a chance you might have to deal with all three!

Southern and East Coast Ticks

However, that isn’t even the most crowded tick area in the United States. For that you have to head to the South and the East Coast, where you will find four different types of ticks: the brown dog tick, American dog tick, deer tick, and the Lone Star tick.

Tick Treatment

Fear not! For the best flea and tick medication for dogs, several spot-on medicines that kill fleas also kill ticks, including K9 Advantix II, Frontline Plus, and PetArmor. In hot areas where there are large numbers of both fleas and ticks, these spot-on treatments seem to be the best bet to protect your pet from all those pests out there.

Spot On Flea Control

What is spot-on flea treatment for pets?

With just one dose, spot-on flea and tick treatments for pets provide month-long protection against potentially harmful parasites. Treatment is applied by pouring a small amount of oily fluid directly onto the skin of your pet. Within twelve hours of application, nearly one hundred percent of all present fleas and ticks will be killed, as will any new parasites.

Pet owners choose spot-on treatments because they're easy to use and because they immediately repel harmful fleas and ticks. A parasite-infested cat may show signs of fatigue, a loss of appetite, and chewing at their skin. A cat that eats a flea could even contract intestinal tapeworms, a dangerous parasite.

Spot on flea and tick protection kills fleas at all life stages, which eliminates the risk of both internal and external parasites. Since many parasites can transmit disease with just one bite, veterinarians agree that the only good fleas and ticks are dead fleas and ticks.

How do I apply the spot-on treatment?

Spot-on the application is easy: just apply the liquid in each dose directly to the skin between your pet's shoulders, applying at several spots for larger dogs. With just twelve applications over the course of a year, you, your pet, and your home are protected from ravenous infestation. After twelve hours the application is waterproof, so your dog can fetch a ball thrown into a pond, have a bath, or just cool off with the hose.

It's important to note that spot-on treatments are tailored specifically for the size and type of your pet. A spot-on treatment designed for a large dog will not work for a smaller dog in any dosage, nor will dog-specific medicines work for a cat--in fact they are dangerous. If your household is home to both dogs and cats, be sure to keep your cats and dogs separate for at least 12 hours.

What are the differences between spot-on flea and tick treatments?

Before choosing the best option for you and your pet, there are some differences to consider among popular spot-on treatments.

K9 Advantix II’s active ingredients attack a tick's nervous system on contact, waging war on a cellular level. The treatment is applied every month and kills fleas and ticks, as well as mosquitoes. K9 Advantix II also controls flea development, giving your pet protection against all sorts of pests.

Frontline Plus does many of the same things as K9 Advantix II: It too is applied every month and kills fleas and ticks, including those that could lead to intestinal parasites. However, Frontline Plus does not repel and kill mosquitoes.

PetArmor is a favorite of some pet owners because it applies in seconds and generally has no side effects. It also protects your pet from the mange mites that can cause severe skin allergies like scabies, as well as chewing lice. However, it does not control flea development or repel and kill mosquitoes.

Farnam Biospot is a cheap solution to your dog’s flea and tick problem, providing protection for less than twenty-five cents per day. The treatment repels black flies and prevents heartworm, as well as Lyme Disease. Again, however, this medicine does not combat mosquitoes.

As for cats, some veterinarians recommend Advantage II or Advantage Multi for Cats for our feline friends, because it prevents the growth of flea larvae and kills blood striking flies. This product does not protect your pet against ticks and mosquitoes, though.

What else do I need to know about spot-on treatment?

Remember: follow directions closely, as doses are specific from cats to dogs, and from smaller dogs to larger dogs. Be sure your pet's weight and the strength of the medication are in agreement. As with all medicines, consult a veterinarian before applying spot-on flea and tick treatments to young and old pets, pets in poor health, or pets who have shown sensitivity to pesticides.

Spot-on treatments are designed for healthy pets that are neither too young nor too old. In severe cases, both fleas and ticks are visible to the naked eye, though it's possible that harmful activity could happen before detection occurs. Ask your veterinarian which spot-on treatment is best for your pet.

Spot-on treatments protect your cats and dogs inside and out. They also protect you as a pet parent and your home. These relatively inexpensive treatments ward off Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tapeworms, and expensive and risky veterinary care. Spot-on treatments ensures the health, comfort, and safety of your pets while providing invaluable peace of mind to a pet's best friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can too much flea medicine hurt a dog?

It is advisable that you do not use too much flea medicine on your dog. Too much flea medicine can hurt your dog. That is because flea medicines have various concentrations of different chemicals. If you put too little, the medication will not work or be as effective as intended by the manufacturers. On the other hand, if you use too much flea medicine, the medication can have an adverse reaction on your dog and might make it sick. Therefore, use appropriate amounts of flea medicine on your dog. Each brand or manufacturer will specify how much flea medicine you have to use on your dog. You can also consult your vet for further clarifications or ask if they want to suggest any modification to the dosage amounts.

Can I split a large dog flea treatment on a small dog?

No, you cannot split a large dog flea treatment on a small dog. That is because small dog flea treatment has a different chemical concentration compared to flea medication for a large dog. These concentrations are not balanced out or divided as you think they are when you split the medication. As a result, you might think you are giving your small dog a small dosage when using a split-up large dog flea medicine, but in reality, you are giving them the same concentration only at a small amount. It will not work and might even make your dog sick.

Can you overdose a dog on a spot-on flea treatment?

You should not overdose your dog on spot-on flea treatment. Doing so can result in nerve discharges or tremors. In many cases, your dog might get depression and diarrhea. Therefore, use only the dosage amount recommended by your vet. In some cases, you can reapply the spot-on treatment after a certain time, but that is only when the flea medication fails to show results. Even in this situation, it is best if you can consult your vet first.

How do you get rid of fleas on a big dog?

You can get rid of fleas on a big dog using flea treatments that are made specifically for big dogs.

Can you mix dog flea treatment?

No, you should not mix dog flea treatments. Each flea treatment has its own chemical composition and working mechanism. By mixing the treatments, you end up tampering with their chemical composition. This can lead to severe side effects.
More Flea and Tick Control Advice

Tapeworms in Dogs: How Fleas Can Be to Blame
What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas for Your Pet?
Be Flea Free: Protect Yourself From Pests

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like

Image for What To Do When Your Cat Gets Fleas
What To Do When Your Cat Gets Fleas

A comprehensive guide on getting rid of fleas for cats

Read More
Image for K9 Advantix FAQs - Everything You Need To Know
K9 Advantix FAQs - Everything You Need To Know

Answering All Your Questions About Bayerโ€™s Popular Flea and Tick Medication

Read More