Updated: May 9, 2015
Flea and Tick ControlAs long as there have been animals, there have fleas and ticks and other pests to prey upon them. In nature, most animals don't have any defenses against fleas and ticks, and many animals are constantly infested. When it comes to domestic animals though, pets have a fighting chance now thanks to advanced pesticide medications than can kill and control fleas and ticks. No ones wants fleas bouncing all over the carpets and furniture, leaving bite marks on animal and human skin. And most people scream the first time they find a blood-swollen tick latched on to their dog, or worse, their kids. So keeping pest off our animals and out of our houses is a priority for most households that own cats and dogs.
Flea collars have been around for many decades, and they work OK. They work best if your pet does NOT have any fleas yet. Flea collars also work best for pets that are normally kept indoors to avoid excessive exposure to additional fleas. Ovitrol Plus is one of the main brands available from vets. Some people don't like the smell and the oily residue that gets on pets fur. If you feel you need more than flea collars, check out the info below on the best flea and tick medicines (browse all the best-selling flea and tick control products here).
Getting Rid of Fleas - Frontline vs. AdvantageThe best products for controlling fleas and ticks on your dogs and cats are Frontline and Advantage. Another product, Revolution, also prevents heartworm, thus combining two medications into one. Frontline kills flea eggs and larvae, halting the flea life cycle in its tracks. Frontline Top Spot and Advantage are both liquid products. They come in little plastic tubes, and you squeeze them to place drops of the medication directly on your pets skin. It can sometimes be a challenge to hold your dog and cat while your fingers wade through fur looking for skin, but it is not painful at all and can be done in just a few seconds when you get good at it. The medication is applied monthly, usually on a few spots behind the head so the pet can't lick at the moist fur. Frontline tends to last longer, especially against fleas, where one dose can last for 2 or 3 months. For tick control, Frontline suggests monthly applications. Advantage tends to be a little cheaper than Frontline, while Frontline stands up better to dogs that go in the water a lot. You are not supposed to bathe your dog for 72 hours before or after applying Frontline. You can also get Frontline in a spray bottle, which must be sprayed all over the pets fur - this is cheaper than the drops, but we think messier and less convenient. Another nice thing about both Frontline and Advantage is that they can safely be used on puppies and kittens. Always consult with your veterinarian to make sure you have the proper medicationsa and doses for your pets.
These are both non-prescription drugs, and are normally sold direct to vets by the manufacturers, so you may want to go through your vet to get it.
Program is another popular flea control medication - it comes as a twice a year shot for cats and a once a month pill for dogs. It causes the animals to secrete the insecticide into the oils of their skin, causing female fleas to lay eggs that are sterile -- hence no new fleas after a few weeks. Sentinal combines Program with Interceptor for heartworm control all into one pill. The cost is about the same as buying both products, but you get one pill instead of two.