The big news regarding flea and tick medications for dogs and cats is that the patent has expired on fipronil. It is one of the active ingredients in Frontline Plus, a leading brand, which opens up the market to competitors.

In May we found two flea and tick medications that were new to the market: Sentry FiproGuard Plus at Petco and PetArmor Plus at Walmart. The savings can be sizable. PetArmor Plus was the best deal we saw: A three-month supply cost $28, compared with $50 for FiproGuard Plus and $62 for Frontline Plus at Petco.

When you choose a flea treatment, keep in mind the importance of killing not just adult fleas but also the eggs or larvae, suggests Mike Merchant, Ph.D., a professor and entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Service at Dallas.

Top 10 Flea And Tick Treatment For Dogs

Bestseller No. 1
Frontline Plus for Dogs 4588 lbs Purple, 6 Month
2067 Reviews
Frontline Plus for Dogs 4588 lbs Purple, 6 Month
  • WATERPROOF FLEA AND TICK TREATMENT FOR DOGS: Frontline Plus for Dogs provides waterproof, fast-acting,...
  • BREAK THE FLEA LIFE CYCLE WITH FRONTLINE: Frontline flea and tick treatment for dogs kills adult fleas plus...
Bestseller No. 2
Frontline Plus for Dogs 4588 lbs Purple, 3 Month
2438 Reviews
Frontline Plus for Dogs 4588 lbs Purple, 3 Month
  • WATERPROOF FLEA AND TICK TREATMENT FOR DOGS: Frontline Plus for Dogs provides waterproof, fast-acting,...
  • BREAK THE FLEA LIFE CYCLE WITH FRONTLINE: Frontline flea and tick treatment for dogs kills adult fleas plus...
Bestseller No. 3
Flea and tick prevention for dogs, dog flea and tick treatment, 2 doses for dogs over 55 lbs, K9...
3204 Reviews
Flea and tick prevention for dogs, dog flea and tick treatment, 2 doses for dogs over 55 lbs, K9...
  • Veterinarian-recommended flea and tick prevention for dogs and mosquito repellent for dogs
  • Kills through contact. No biting required
Bestseller No. 4
Seresto flea collar for dogs, 8-month flea and tick prevention for dogs over 18 lbs
9700 Reviews
Seresto flea collar for dogs, 8-month flea and tick prevention for dogs over 18 lbs
  • Seresto large dog flea and tick collar provides 8 months of continuous flea and tick prevention
  • Bayer Seresto collar works through contact, killing and repelling fleas and ticks, so they don't have to bite...
Bestseller No. 5
Frontline Plus for Dogs 022 lbs Orange, 3 Month
3226 Reviews
Frontline Plus for Dogs 022 lbs Orange, 3 Month
  • Guaranteed US EPA approved
  • Over-The-Counter topical kills fleas & ticks in under 48 hours
Bestseller No. 6
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention for Medium Dogs, 11 - 20 lb, 2 doses
1742 Reviews
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention for Medium Dogs, 11 - 20 lb, 2 doses
  • Veterinarian-recommended flea and tick prevention for dogs and mosquito repellent for dogs
  • Kills through contact. No biting required
Bestseller No. 7
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray | Flea Treatment for Dogs and Home | Flea Killer with Certified...
5927 Reviews
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray | Flea Treatment for Dogs and Home | Flea Killer with Certified...
  • NO HARSH CHEMICALS - Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray kills fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, ticks and...
  • PROVEN EFFECTIVE - Whether facing an active infestation or are applying for routine prevention, our spray is...
Bestseller No. 8
Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Small Dogs and Cats, 6 Doses, 11.4 mg (2-25 lbs)
4281 Reviews
Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Small Dogs and Cats, 6 Doses, 11.4 mg (2-25 lbs)
  • Kills adult fleas before they can start an infestation.
  • One convenient tablet starts killing fleas within 30 minutes.
Bestseller No. 9
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention for Large Dogs, 21 - 55 lb, 4 doses
2207 Reviews
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention for Large Dogs, 21 - 55 lb, 4 doses
  • Veterinarian-recommended flea and tick prevention for dogs and mosquito repellent for dogs
  • Kills through contact. No biting required
Bestseller No. 10
Bayer Advantage II Topical Flea Treatment Dogs
701 Reviews
Bayer Advantage II Topical Flea Treatment Dogs
  • Kills all flea life stages
  • Prevents fleas on a treated dog from infesting your home

Topical and oral flea control treatments are most effective

Fleas are more than an annoyance — they can affect the health of their host dog or cat. A flea’s saliva could trigger allergies, and the itching and scratching that ensues can lead to a more serious skin infection. Infected fleas can also transmit tapeworms and bacteria — including bacteria that are harmful to humans. A large enough number of fleas can even cause life-threatening blood loss.

Unfortunately, fleas are not a problem that will go away on its own. In fact, ignoring a few fleas can quickly lead to an infestation. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day, many of which fall off and land in carpets, bedding and furniture. Once the larvae hatch, they remain inactive in cocoons for weeks or even months.

Types of Flea Control

Topical TreatmentsAlso known as spot-on products, topical treatments are squeezed out of a tube and applied to the pet’s neck or back. One advantage of these products is that they generally contain insect growth regulators (IGRs), which prevent eggs from hatching and larvae from maturing into adult fleas. This means that a single application can completely eliminate fleas for up to a month. However, these products have drawbacks as well.

Flea CollarsUntil recently, experts have said that flea collars are generally ineffective; some are toxic to pets and people as well. There is one exception, however, Seresto, which uses the same active ingredient as a well-rated topical treatment, Advantage, but in a slow-release formulation. Seresto also has a tick-killing ingredient. Seresto is pricey, so other options are more cost effective if your pet is indoors most or all of the time, but for pets that spend lots of time out of doors, it can make sense

Oral MedicationsFlea control medications pose no risk to humans, and they don’t leave any messy residue. Oral flea treatments tend to kill adult fleas very quickly, but most of them don’t contain an IGR to deal with the eggs and larvae. This means that pet owners must either combine the tablet with a second treatment that contains an IGR, such as a spot-on product or keep repeating the dose until no new fleas are hatching. Another problem is getting a pet to take the pill.

Do other remedies work?

Flea shampoos can provide immediate relief by killing adult fleas on the pet, but they don’t leave enough residue behind to kill new fleas as they hatch. As for flea dips, bombs, powders, and most sprays (see below for more information), many of them contain chemicals called pyrethroids, such as permethrin. Experts warn that these chemicals are highly toxic, especially to cats. Some vets say that products containing permethrin can be safe if you only have dogs in your household, but all warn to not use such products on cats or even on dogs if one is likely to come in contact with a cat.

Advantage II stands out for safety and effectiveness

The top two topical flea treatments for both dogs and cats are Advantage II and Frontline Plus. They use different active ingredients, imidacloprid, and fipronil, respectively, to eradicate infestations. The two insecticides work differently, but experts say that when used correctly, they are both safe and effective.

A flea collar to consider

In general, flea collars get a thumbs down from experts as being both ineffective and often toxic. One that breaks from the pack, however, is the¬†Seresto Flea and Tick Collar Adverse reactions seem to be relatively rare. However, since this flea collar uses the same active ingredient as Advantage, if your pet has had a reaction to Advantage, or has otherwise not done well with the product, Seresto also won’t be a good choice.

Some complaints are seen about the cost, a concern that Kearns echoes as well, especially for those with multiple pets, but keep in mind that a single collar is the equivalent of eight monthly doses of Advantage. Versions are available for both dogs and cats.

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