Many pet owners will know the following scenario only too well. After bringing up a healthy dog without any issues at all you are suddenly confronted with the infestation of what seems like a never ending barrage of fleas.
You don’t know where they came from but the pesky intruders are everywhere, jumping back and forth from your dog to your furniture at will, and doing so at such a speed it feels like you’re never going to be able to get rid of them.
Luckily, when it comes to combating fleas there are a number of products and prevention tactics you can use. However although this is a good thing, at times there may feel like almost too much choice.
This guide is going to look at the different types of prevention out there, mainly focusing on shampoos, flea collars and oral medication. We will look to explore the key differences between these types of treatment and identify which method is the safest choice for dog owners looking to combat a flea infestation.
The fact there are many types of popular treatment that are so different can cause confusion to begin with. If collars, flea dips or oral treatment work so effectively to fight off fleas why then would we also need a grooming product in the form of a shampoo?
However it is not necessarily as straightforward as this and each product offers different levels of effectiveness depending on the stage at which it is used and the severity of the flea outbreak.
The three most popular ways to fight a flea infestation and protect your pet:
A flea shampoo is considered the most effective product with which to treat an attack of fleas if you’re looking for immediate treatment. A ‘flea bath’ fights these intruders by using a medicated shampoo that cleanses your pet’s skin and coat while at the same time killing fleas.
Any pet owner who has ever given a flea bath will know the immediate impact the best flea shampoo products can have. Not only do they wash your dog in the same way as a regular pet shampoo but they attack fleas in such a way that your bathtub will show just how many have been removed from your pet afterwards.
However just like the other products we will examine in this round up, flea shampoos also have their limitations. This type of treatment is often seen as a short term ‘fix’ and one suitable for dog owners looking for immediate relief from the infestation. Although that isn’t to say that shampoos aren’t an excellent solution when used alongside other tactics, more on this later!
Flea collars work in a slightly different way to the shampoo products already mentioned and in fact there are two types of popular flea collar treatments. The first type of collar acts as a repellent, emitting a toxic gas that repels fleas in the immediate environment.
The second type of flea collar contains a type of medication that seeps into your pet’s fat cells and spreads via their natural skin oils. By doing so this type of collar offers a long lasting treatment against fleas who then come into contact with your pet after the medication has been absorbed into your pet’s skin. This type of treatment can sometimes last up to 8 months and is by the longest lasting of its kind.
Flea collars often contain a number of ingredients that you will need to read twice just to understand but one in particular that should be avoided is Tetrachlorvinphos which can be harmful to both humans and your pet.
Oral medication in the form of flea pills work by disabling the larva emerging from the eggs laid by fleas nesting on your dog. Put simply, this type of medication often contains the blood of animals which when ingested by fleas means the females lay eggs that are unable to hatch.
This makes this type of treatment extremely effective at breaking the life cycle of the fleas infesting on your dog and in your home but does not actually kill the adult fleas themselves. For this you will need a product such as a specialized shampoo as already covered.
Is Just Treating Your Dog Enough?
Some dog owners may become perplexed, when having treated their dog for fleas are then encountered with exactly the same problem a week later. This isn’t a whole new outbreak of fleas and instead the reason your pet is again covered is because you only treated them and not the environment they come into contact with most often.
This is an easy mistake to make at first, new pet owners would be forgiven for thinking that once they have treated their dog with one of the popular methods explored above that their job is over.
However this is not the case and treating your home for fleas is just as important. The reason for this is because fleas move so easily from furniture and other items in your home back and forth from your dog. This means if you only treat them you only kill the fleas that happen to be nesting on your pet at that time.
This doesn’t capture all the eggs that have been laid elsewhere and to completely break the cycle of a flea infestation it is necessary to thoroughly clean your home alongside treating your dog.
So what method is most effective?
Although flea collars and oral medication are longer lasting alternatives to shampoos they contain a much higher concentration of chemical ingredients. All natural flea shampoos are also becoming far more popular and if you can find an organic product of this type that remains effective we highly recommend it.
Although shampoos may be seen as a short term fix, their immediate impact is unrivalled and if used alongside a thorough clean of your home and the environment your pet comes into contact with most frequently you’re onto a winning formula.