There are several types of flea pills
for dogs available that work to treat fleas—some pills
target the flea eggs and others work by attacking adult fleas.
In many cases, your pet will require several pills in order to
destroy the life cycle.
Pills are generally not suitable for very young pets and can
cause side effects. Some pills may require a trip to the
veterinarian, too. If it’s a struggle to get your pet to
swallow pills, even when they are given with food, pills might
not be a workable option, though there are products like Pill
Pockets that make giving pills easier. Some oral flea
treatments, like Comfortis,
come in chewable form too.
While pills are one of the more effective ways to eradicate
fleas, the potential side effects and visit to the veterinarian
for prescription versions may be marks against this option.
Flea shampoos are very effective when used in conjunction with
pills or other treatments. On their own, however, shampoos are
not a lasting method and only destroy adult fleas for about a
Cats and dogs can both be shampooed, but different shampoo
varieties are used for each animal. One important factor for
deciding if the shampoo is the right method for your pet is the
amount of distaste your cat or dog has for bath time. Since the
shampoo has to sit on your pet for around 10 minutes, it won’t
be a quick dunk in the tub for your cat or dog.
Choose flea collars carefully.
Collars can work in two different
ways, but the most effective variety releases chemicals
into your cat or dog's skin. Flea collars kill adult fleas and
ticks. Some pets will develop a rash by the collar.
Sometimes, fleas will continue to bite pets, just not near
their heads. Flea collars like Seresto, which
distribute active ingredients through the pet's skin, are more
effective at full-body treatment. Flea collars are mainly
effective as a preventative, and less effective as a treatment
method. Collars cannot be used on puppies and kittens.
Lasting for two to three weeks, flea dips are a strong chemical
treatment. Because dips linger on your pet’s skin, they have
fallen out of favor as a preferred treatment for many pet
parents, since cats and dogs may lick their skin and ingest
These treatments last for up to a week and can kill adult fleas
as well as repel them. Sprays and powders are suitable for both
cats and dogs. To apply the treatment, pets will have to be
held still while their eyes are covered. Note that the odor may
Lasting about a month, spot-on
treatments are applied to your pet's back between the
shoulder blades. Spot on
flea treatments is capable of disrupting the flea's life
cycle, although they have to be reapplied on a monthly basis.
When applied regularly and on schedule, this treatment method
is quite effective.
While it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of
non-chemical solutions, flea combs are definitely effective at
removing the fleas living on your pet. Note that many
essential oils are quite dangerous for pets, so steer away from
using them unless a veterinarian or trusted medical resource
okays the usage.
Natural Flea Treatment for Your Home and Pet
For some, alternative or “green” flea and tick treatments are
a no-brainer. Fewer chemicals in our environment - both
personal and global - are a great thing. It’s also nice to
support companies who work to meet the growing needs of a
more ecologically aware citizenry. For some, choosing the
greener alternative is already a way of life. For others,
circumstances demand alternatives.
When To Use Alternative Flea & Tick Methods
If, for example, you have a toddler who’s very handsy with
your pet, or if your pet has debilitating allergic reactions
to common flea and tick treatments, other options may be
necessary. Happily, there are several treatments that, when
used properly and in conjunction with one another, can be
both effective and safe. Across the board, alternative
treatments require more time and diligence than
set-it-and-forget-it once monthly spot-on treatments.
Consider Your Options
When utilizing non-chemical flea and tick treatments, the
benefits need to be weighed. Using only natural insect repellents may
make for a safer pet and home in some ways. However, if an
infestation does occur, you may find yourself in a position
where you must delouse your home. Preventative treatments are
less toxic and less pervasive than post-infestation
treatments like, say, fumigation. You may find yourself in an
ultimately more toxic situation, so take care when making
decisions about preventative flea and tick treatments.
Look for an herbal flea & tick shampoo that contains any
combination of natural insect
repellents like pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary,
clove oil, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper, or
geranium. When shampooing your pet, use lots of the shampoo -
more than you ordinarily may, especially when dealing with an
existing infestation. Take care to get deep into your pet’s
fur, and allow the shampoo to sit for 10-15 minutes before
Shop now for an herbal
flea & tick shampoo
Another ingredient to look for: Pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are
known as nature’s insecticide. The chemical was found in the
extract of chrysanthemum flowers more than a hundred years
ago. Synthetic derivatives have been reproduced to mimic the
effects of Pyrethrins (those are called Pyrethroids) but the
original remains true and trustworthy. Some argue that
Pyrethrins, though “natural," are still toxic. Others choose
it as a lower impact option. You should decide for yourself.
Shop now for Pyrethrins
based flea & tick shampoos
Some shampoos come in spray form and do not need to be rinsed
Shop now for natural,
spray-on, no-rinse flea & tick shampoos
Sprays for Home
If you’ve ever zested a lemon into a cake batter, you know
how much stronger the flavor of that fruit becomes in
whatever you’re making. d-Limonine is an extract taken from
the skin of any citrus you might want to zest. In labs, the
extracts become chemical grade, and those extracts are then
used in a variety of “green” household cleaners. The natural
chemical’s insecticidal prowess is widely lauded, and
d-Limonine is used in many household fleas and tick sprays.
Shop now for d-Limonine
based flea & tick household sprays
Other home flea & tick sprays, as with some natural flea &
tick shampoos, prefer to use the proven effects of the right
essential oils. Some are targeted to deter fleas, but not
ticks, so make sure all your bases are covered.
Shop now for flea
household sprays made with essential oils
This multi-use Neem Oil comes from well-regarded, 25 year
veteran of natural pet care, Richards Organics. It’s
considered a “multi-use” product because you can add it to a
spray bottle with water and use it as a house pest deterrent.
You can apply it as a spot-on, directly to your pet, right
between their shoulder blades. You can also add it to a
gentle shampoo base, and use it as a flea and tick shampoo.
Supplemental Internal Treatments
Fleas and vampires have more than one thing in common - they
loathe garlic. No one has yet marketed a garlic necklace for
dogs, but adding garlic supplements to your pet’s diet can
work as a natural insect repellent. Another proven dietary
insect repellent is Brewers Yeast. Many natural supplements
are packed with both. Some are doled out as yummy flavored
treats. Others come in powder form, which may be added to
your dog’s food. However, remember that garlic, as well
as onions, can be toxic to your pets in large quantities.
Shop for anti-pest
supplements with brewers yeast and garlic
Final Notes of Caution
Remember, just because it says “natural," “green,” or “eco”
on it, does not automatically make a product safe or
non-toxic. The word “organic” is heading in the right
direction, but even that isn’t foolproof. If keeping your pet
and their environment "natural" is important to you, you must
be diligent in understanding all of the ingredients in each
product you use.
More Flea and Tick Control Advice
What Temperature Do Fleas Flourish
How to Kill Fleas in the
Five Must-See Flea
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.