Flea medication not working on pets

 To eliminate a flea infestation, it takes patience treating your pet and your environment.

All too often, a pet owner will come in and share their experience in which he or she regularly applies topical flea prevention, yet is frustrated that after several treatments they are still seeing fleas. There are several plausible explanations for persistent flea infestations which may have nothing to do with lack of efficacy of these products.

First, I make sure that the pet owner is correctly applying the flea medication. It is important to completely part the hair and apply the product directly to the skin so that proper skin and hair follicle distribution can occur. This is something that can be somewhat of a challenge for thick haired pets; however, the pet medication will not work properly if only the hair follicles receive the medication – it must be applied to the skin. It’s also important to properly follow product label directions, which may vary depending on the size of your pet. For instance, for large dogs, Advantage II requires the product to be applied on multiple spots down the pet’s back.

While it is tempting to try and save money by using only portions of products labeled for larger pets on smaller animals, it’s a process such as this that can lead to product inefficiency. Another reason for products not working is by not treating your home and yard, where in some cases 80% of the flea life cycle may occur. Read how to control fleas indoors and outdoors.

In cases of heavy flea infestations, some home products such as Richard’s Organics Premise Treatment can dry out or desiccate the various flea life stages. In spite of recent discussion in the veterinary literature, the development of widespread flea resistance is still not believed to be a major factor to clients still finding fleas on their pets.

Have you been battling a flea infestation in your home? What are some of the ways in which you have been trying to get rid of them?

Related Posts


  1. Stop poisoning your pets people. From my experience with SEVERAL flea meds on a dog and 2 cats my opinion is: they DO NOT work. Companies that make topical flea and tick products know this but like the big pharma are here to rip you off. I use Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) in our basement and comb my cat everyday (dog is gone and other cat is outside) and that’s the only thing that’s been working. Does it eliminate fleas 100%? No. But better than poisoning my pet! I comb until i get no fleas. I usually get about 5-6 a day (outside cat comes in to eat and that doesn’t help, when she’s gone we won’t have that problem)

    • Serafina, Please, just don’t let your pets inhale the Diatomaceous Earth; its microscopic cells (diatoms) have razor sharp edges that can literally cut your pets’ lungs to shreds, causing a long, painful death during which they can’t breathe. I lost a cat this way, as did a friend who sprinkled it on a carpet in a room where she kept a cat. Another friend of mine puts a little warm water in her cats’ wet food then mixes the DE in with that so it dissolves. I’m against poisonous stuff on my animals, but have had success with K9 Advantix for the dog, and Revolution on the cats (who don’t go out, so they don’t need tick repellent). I also use a premise spray in the house once a year. While spraying, I put the animals outside and leave them there for an hour after spraying. No one has had any adverse reactions, although I know it’s always a possibility.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing Serafina.

    • Serafina: Your comment is INCORRECT. The treatments do work!

      • Thank you for contribution

      • How is a comment incorrect, tell me? How can a personal experience be incorrect at all? Are you going to elaborate?
        Besides, her point was not about the efficiency of the products but the slow poisoning that animals suffer because of long time exposure to them. And that is not “INCORRECT”!

  2. Fleas will still jump on and bite your pet even after treating. Fleas will get picked up while your pet is outside. This is how topical flea treatments work. A flea needs to bite the animal in order to ingest the poison. The flea dies and the cycle in your house is shortened, but as long as animals go outside you will never be flea free. Vacuum the floors and wash bedding (yours too) regularly to help stop the indoor flea cycle.

  3. I use advantage II on my kitties. Recently I have had problems with fleas returning before the next dose (EVERY 30 DAYS) is due. I read where it works UP TO 30 days. If this is the case, how soon can I re-apply advantage?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm · Reply

      I have applied it every 2 weeks in heavy infestation cases

      • Hi! If I gave my dog a cheap five dollar topical flea medicine two days ago, can I give her the more expensive (and better) topical medicine today? She’s got a really bad (vet diagnosed) flea allergy and it’s breaking my hear seeing her scratch like this. But I don’t want her to get sick or have a bad reaction by me giving her too much topical medicine

        • I would ask your vet about prescription anti itch oral medication i.e antihistamines and/or prednisone, as well as your dog may need oral antibiotics, if secondary infection also present. For now, you could try antihistamine like benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily and add good oral fatty acid like nordic naturals pet omega 3 from 1800petmeds to meals

        • Double dosing on flea meds is never a good idea. Wait 30 days until next anti-flea treatment whatever it may be – bath, gel, oral, collar, etc.

        • Capstars until it’s safe to apply better flea medication

          • Great suggestion. Capstar is excellent product for quick kill of adult fleas within minutes but does not work on immature stages, larvae, etc so always need other products at same time for long term flea control

      • Would this apply to activyl for a cat? It works wonderfully, but wears off before the 30 day mark.

        • Yes I would wait until the 30 day mark before reapplying although some vets will use these products off label every few weeks if needed. I would check with local vet who knows your cat best.

    • Deena, get some capstars!! Works with your current flea medication and kills ALL fleas in a matter of 20 mins to an hour

  4. Pingback: Reachout Wireless

  5. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  6. Hi I applied some frontline on my small dog about the weeks ago. With in this time I realized it was applied wrong so we gave her a bath like two days after we applied it wrong. I’m wondering even I can put more on..

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm · Reply

      I think it is ok to reapply in 2 weeks in this situation from time of first application. You can also consider oral flea meds like comfortis from 1800petmeds.

  7. Frontline Tik is worthless I have appled all three tubes on my Dog and he is still invested with fleas. I have no problem getting it to his skin he is a short hair Chihuahua. I am not pleased at what I paid for it and yet he is still covered in Fleas. I have been getting better results by bathing him. At this Point I will be glad when we have a Freeze. After 3 applications in less that a month, I would not waist my money on any frontiline products again. Not Happy.

    • Mary, It’s true that Frontline doesn’t work anymore on many animals, mine included, but PLEASE don’t apply this or any other product so often. 3 applications in less than a month could be poisonous or even fatal for your dog. Try Confortis or Advantix II. I use Advantix on my chihuahua (be sure to get the “small dog” dosage), and she’s been flea and tick-free for a couple of years. You have to treat the house, too, though, or the fleas living there will just keep reproducing and bothering your dog. If you don’t want to use chemical premise treatments, you could use salt and baking soda, which seemed to work for us. Look up online how to do the salt/baking soda routine. Good luck.

      • It said on the Box apply again if necessary I did not do them all at once, I waited about 1 1/2 weeks and Applied Again, poor little guy was covered. We have sand fleas out side it was so dry here and he would not have a flea on him, and as soon as he come back in, covered in them, little itty bitty black sand fleas. I keep the house sprayed haven’t seen them in here. But when I go outside they get on my feet, so I spray my feed with repellent and haven’t had that issue yet. I can not afford to buy something else right now, that cost me $50 and times are hard. I figured it would last me three months. So we are doing the bathing every 3 or 4 days, Haven’t seen as many fleas just a few. Thank you for your Help and the Luck.

      • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm · Reply

        Thanks Pamela for the wonderful and helpful suggestions. I agree focusing on the home and another preventative like comfortis is great idea.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm · Reply

      See Pamela’s excellent response. Definitel no more front line in my opinion. I would go with oral comfortis.

      • He can not take the Comfortis, he has Seizures and as I said can not afford to buy something else right now. I feel Like I should ask for my money back.

        • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm · Reply

          I certainly understand. Consider natural flea control such as food grade diatomaceous earth or possibly the wonderful natural products on http://www.wondercide.com

          • Wondercide works okay for dogs, but it nearly killed my cat. It’s not wise to use Cedar products on cats.
            After it happened to mine, I looked it up and there are thousands of complaints out there from pet owners whose cats had seizures like mine, or whose pets died. 🙁

        • Apparently Money must not be an Issue for you, I spent over 180 dollars of Flea Stuff for my Animals through this Site. I do not have the money to buy anymore thanks to the wonderful greed of this Country. I have mixed my own, with Vinegar and Dawn Dish Soup, one cup Each mixed in a bottle and then I bathed him with it. Haven’t seen a Flea Since and it did not cost much. Thank you. I doubt If I order from here again, I would rather make something myself that i know is safe than to use something else on my Dog. He was miserable for over a month with those Sand Fleas. As I stated before I figured the 3 tubes would last me of the Frontline for 3 months and if it doesn’t work anymore why are you selling it on this Site. Ban it and stop it from being on your Site if you truly care about Animals.

          • Don’t have an animal if you cannot afford proper care and treatment it is estimated that you will spend about the same amount of money raising a young child that you would your chihuahua. Tons of products don’t work, you move on an keep trying for the sake of your fur baby not complain, sounds like you should of invested that $50 in treating your yard or wherever you are putting that poor dog.

  8. Pet are a part of the family and to take care of them in a proper way is lot more important and specially you have enough knowledge about the pet infections to prevent the disease, the best way is to vacuum all home properlly.

    • ADVANTAGE for indoor cats did not work on my two cats. After a week of still getting fleas off them I called the hot-line noted on the box. I followed all their instructions which included re-dose in 2 wks from original dosage, vacuum every day, use pet-friendly flea spray all over house and their beds. NOTHING WORKED; wrote Bayer (the maker) and sent receipt with my note. They never acknowledged it, nor did I get a refund, its been 4 weeks.
      At advise of Vet, I have switched to Revolution and plan to stick with it every 4 weeks even though it costs a little more.

      JOHN, you are right…it’s very important AND I VACUUMED EVERY DAY FOR TWO WEEKS; plus sprayed with an eco-pet-friendly flea spray for carpets. I hope by switching to Revolution my cats can get back on track to not having this south florida flea problem.

      • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 7, 2015 at 6:56 am · Reply

        I have found topical front line and advantage dont work as well as they used to, especially in areas of heavy infestation like Florida year round. While revolution is an excellent product, some clients will even have to use comfortis on top of that in high exposure areas. Treating home also key.

  9. In the classroom of home economics, simple projects can lead
    to aprons and laundry bags. Brother CS6000i Sew Advance Sew
    Affordable 60-Stitch Computerized Free-Arm Sewing Machine Features.

    Once you might have grasped the basic principles of altering a simple shape, you can then produce a garment on your own,
    either adapting an industrial dressmaking pattern, or creating your own pattern which
    will fit you exactly.

  10. ADVANTAGE for indoor cats did not work on my two cats. After a week of still getting fleas off them I called the hot-line noted on the box. I followed all their instructions which included re-dose in 2 wks from original dosage, vacuum every day, use pet-friendly flea spray all over house and their beds. NOTHING WORKED; wrote Bayer (the maker) and sent receipt with my note. They never acknowledged it, nor did I get a refund, its been 4 weeks.
    At advise of Vet, I have switched to Revolution and plan to stick with it every 4 weeks even though it costs a little more.

  11. What happened to my prior post?

    Bottom line…ADVANTAGE did not work for me, even after calling hot-line and following their instructions which included re-dose after 2 weeks. Bayer, the manuf., did not give me a refund nor did they acknowledge my request. I’m going back to REVOLUTION, even though more expensive.

    • An “all cats” Vet in Jacksonville just told my friend that the best product working NOW in FL for large cats with fleas is ACTIVYL drops; needs Vet Rx or they order it for you. Gonna check into this.

  12. A l’époque, Havers avait empêché les poursuites
    contre Hayman quand l’affaire Elm Guest House a fait
    scandale, en 1982.

  13. AcuGuard is too big to put in the back of my cat’s throat but when I crush into some wet food that she normally dives right into, she won’t touch it. Revolution didn’t work this past month so I traded off for the AcuGuard pill in hopes of seeing a change. How do you get your cat treated with the AcuGuard pill? One of my cats is allergic to flea bites and gets super irritated and licks her back constantly if she gets a bite, I feel bad for her. Wish fleas were a thing of the past but with other neighborhood cats and random possum appearances I know they will never fully disappear. Ugh. Would love some feedback/suggestions!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm · Reply

      I dont have much experience with this product. My personal preference in cats for oral pills is comfortis.

  14. You know what really grinds my gears? Hearing vets say that the problem is not that fleas have gotten immune to the meds, but that you need to vacuum more often! I have 2 cats and 1 dog and never had a problem eradicating fleas using only Advantage II… until summer 2014. Since last summer, I’ve tried Advantage II, Advantix, Frontline, Hartz, Bayer, every topical treatment available. All 3 pets have expensive, supposedly the best, flea collars. We have been giving them all flea baths at least every 3 weeks which is causing one of my cats to have a skin rash. Diatonaceous earth all over yard: no effect. Then tried spraying Sentry all over yard: small reduction in fleas. I have 3 flea traps around the house: they catch fleas, but I still find just as many on my pets. My wife washes all our bedding a few times a week. Heres the kicker: WE DONT HAVE CARPET. Not even rugs… we got rid of all the rugs because of the fleas!!! And we vacuum the hardwood floors with our bad-a$$ Dyson at least twice a week.

    I’m not looking for anyone to give advice because I am convinced there is none that anybody can give. In the past year, 7 houses on my street have gotten tented and each time another house gets fumigated, our flea problem gets worse. I don’t want to fork out a few grand to get tented because I have noticed that 2 of those houses got tented a second time a few months later. Obviously it didn’t work for them.
    I have seriously considered shaving all the fur off of my pets, but I know that is not the correct means to this end. My family and I are just gonna have to accept the fleas and learn to live with all the bites and itchiness until some smart person finds a solution to this ridiculousness. We need a biological weapon like flea-ebola or flea-plague.
    My reason for posting this rant is so others that are as frustrated as myself can see that they are not alone. We are not gross, un-clean, un-caring pet owners! We just don’t stand a chance against fleas from planet Krypton.

    • Dustin, I had the same problem with my cocker spaniel – NOTHING worked, and our poor baby is allergic to flea bites. You’re correct about the fleas becoming immune. We finally shelled out the $100 for a six-months supply of Comfortis pills (crushed easily and put in his food), and it worked beautifully – for a few months. Now it seems it quits being effective a week or two before the next dose. Ugh!!! We may try switching to Trifexis or Nexgard, both of which are more expensive than Comfortis. You do what ya gotta do. Good luck, Dustin.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:07 pm · Reply

      Maybe try the environmental products from http://www.fleabusters.com Have been around a long time.

    • Thank you, Dustin!! You summed up my frustration completely. I wish I had advice for us. I’ve had my cat for 13 years and my dogs for 10 years. Never a flea problem until this summer. I’ve tried Flea Baths, Capstar (which does actually kill live fleas but the eggs remain a problem), Revolution, Frontline, Flea Collars, had my entire home professionally treated. Now I just spent more money on Advantix II. Something has to work. The pets are itching and I have bites all over my feet up to my knees (at last count over 60 bites!!).

      Miserable in Florida.

      • We have the same issue. We have two American Eskimos…both older, and one 2 year old Cattledog. Frontline does not work! We complained to our vet about it. They said call Frontline and get a couple of tubes for free. Um…what? It doesn’t work! We also don’t have capes and I vacuum the hardwood floors a few times a week. Wash the bedding, doesn’t help. The only thing that I remember helping is Vectra. Our previous vet used that and the boys were flea free in no time! We ordered some from Amazon and it just arrived today. Thing is, they had ther last Frontline dose a couple of weeks ago, so when can we apply the Vectra?

      • Did you ever end up getting rid of your flea problem? We are having this problem now and I am going crazy looking for something to get rid of them. HELP!

    • Awesome! I agree, I feel as though I’m a dirty person for having fleas, because everyone just says to vacuum and clean.

    • Dustin, I know it’s been over a year since this post, but where do you live, and has anything improved in the past year?

      Molly, from Georgia

      • Fleas certainly can be tough and become harder to treat over the years, especially as the same pesticides are used over and over again…As with other pests, insects, etc they will eventually mutate and/or become resistant to the flea products of the day, necessitating new products to be developed, etc as any exterminator will tell you in that business, as well as even a good microbiologist can tell you with prolonged antibiotic use. All good reasons to raise a pet’s health holistically through good diet, nutritional supplements and a more health conscious lifestyle, so that pets are healthier and less susceptible to fleas, ticks, parasites and infections

        • I just read all of these comments and my fleas seem to be getting bigger! I gave my cat flea treatment two weeks ago and just caught two on the bed. She RARELY goes on the bed. it’s gross. We also don’t have carpets–only a few rugs and vacuum at least weekly. some of the rugs I wash DAILY. What can I do? I bought Advantage and it doesn’t work!!!

  15. The fleas ARE becoming immune. When advantage first came on the market back in the 80s I had an infestation in the house that disappeared after I treated my cats. Both it and frontline simply aren’t as effective as they used to be. The drought conditions here in California are not helping. Fleas used to abate during the cold, wet winters but, with a near year-round summer for the past two years that is no longer happening.

  16. When I noticed a few fleas on my cats I got them a flea coller. The fleas got worse. Then I got the powder. ….more fleas. I saw someone online saying dawn dish soap kills fleas. Success!…..kind of. First I use a flea comb knocking the dislodged fleas into a glass of water then I cover my cats head in tear free baby shampoo, the body in dawn dish soap and wait a min. I Use a flea comb again while I wait. Then I hold my poor cats body (not the head!) Underwater for 6 min to down underwater to down more fleas. After I rinse and wrap my very unhappy kitty in towel I scratch my kitty’s head herding the surviving fleas to the nose and mouth were I can pick them off and drop them in water. Flea comb let dry then flea comb again.
    Sadly this does not kill the fleas in the carpet. I put a plate of corn syrup on the ground a few days later it’s covered in fleas. I’m going to try baking soda wish my luck.

  17. I don’t understand why would anyone try to ‘save’ some money, by buying larger and using only portions of products labeled for larger pets on smaller animals? One little mistake and your pet may be ‘over-dosed’ and next time ‘under-dosed’?

    We have small dog, but we apply the product in multiple spots (2-3) down his back .. just in case … and it works …

  18. If someone have a pet with long hair and plan on cutting/trimming dog’s hair – first cut/trim dogs hair, wash your dog and after drying him, apply medications like these. Don’t apply the medication and then trim the dog …

    just my 2c

  19. Hi. I treat my house with a spray product that has IGR in it. It is a combo spray, but safe for pets once it’s dried. It interrupts the fleas growth cycle and the other agent kills live fleas. I only had to treat the house once every 6 months. It’s much cheaper to pick up at tractor supply than your vet. $8 vs$27 a can which treats about 1200sf. You’ve got to treat the animals, th house and the yard. I had great control in CT with animal and Inhouse treatment alone due to the cold winters. Since we’ve moved to MS I can’t get control due to the fact we have a farm and it’s hard to treat a whole farm. We’re going to pick up some farm grade DE and put out that outside. And borax around the house to double up.

  20. Just moved to SC from MI almost 3 months ago, I have never had an issue with fleas until now… even when I lived in NM I never had problem. I only have an indoor cat right now, noticed she was starting to scratch a bit. Thought she might have dry skin, so I gave her a spray bath, and using a flea comb because it works the spray in better. I found 2 fleas on her, bought Advantix II and applied it properly… this was only 3 weeks ago! I HAD to treat her again yesterday because it could not wait another week. So far i have found about 30 half dead fleas just on a white sheet in he bedroom I have her quarantined to for a day or two…. this crap obviously didnt kill the larvea. But since this is only the 2nd dose, we’ll see. I treated the yard this morning. I have yet to find a product safe for children and pets for indoor use on carpet/furniture. They’re all either toxic and need to sit for at least 24hrs, or like Premise was recommended up top… you arent supposed to vacuum for 2-3 weeks!??! Who the heck doesnt vacuum their home for that long?! That is completely out of the question, especially having a toddler who’ll eat cheerios off the floor like a dog, and good luck stopping it… then add FLEAS on top. I need to eradicate these little ba**ards like 3 weeks ago from my home. Any suggestions on a proven effective yard treatment, as well as carpet/furniture product.
    please and thank you!

  21. Rebecca, any luck? I am in a similar situation as you moving from a cold environment to a warmer one. Treated with one medication only to learn that it doesn’t work well in this area. I have been treating with capstar daily and vacuuming every other day. Another week until we try a new medication.

    • Sally, we are also having the same problem. We are in month 4 of treating for fleas. We’ve used frontline, advantix, advantage and seresto flea collar. Nothing is working and I’m losing it!! I recently sprayed the whole house with a igr spray, I vacuum everyday, sometime twice a day. I am still seeing fleas. Do you have any advice? I’m going crazy with these nasty little bugs. HELP!

  22. I think its absolutely ridiculous that you have to go to the vet to get a medication that might work on your animal. That’s like back when you had to go to the doctor to get Monistat now it’s sold over the counter. I am going to try the dawn and vinegar mixed together and see if that works. And to the lady who said that woman can’t have pets because she can’t afford to be spending hundreds of dollars on flea medication you are ridiculous.

  23. Over the last 2 years I have spent a couple of thousand dollars trying to rid my house of fleas two bags of diatomaceous earth on the carpet boric acid all the medications everybody has used in the cats and dogs and finally pulled out all the carpet and got rid of all the dogs because I’m allergic to him anyway still I get a few please and I am NOT looking forward to this summer because I still have 4 cats and they are indoor outdoor cats I hope the vinegar and Dawn works because I’m also allergic to fleas. One of my cats is allergic to fleas and has developed scabs underneath of her neck this is a horror story please or like bed bugs and roaches.

  24. Over the last 2 years I have spent a couple of thousand dollars trying to rid my house of fleas two bags of diatomaceous earth on the carpet boric acid all the medications everybody has used in the cats and dogs and finally pulled out all the carpet and got rid of all the dogs because I’m allergic to him anyway still I get a few please and I am NOT looking forward to this summer because I still have 4 cats and they are indoor outdoor cats I hope the vinegar and Dawn works because I’m also allergic to fleas. One of my cats is allergic to fleas and has developed scabs underneath of her neck this is a horror story please or like bed bugs and roaches.

  25. Cristina Milian GanzFebruary 28, 2016 at 7:34 am · Reply

    Years ago my roommate had a dog that infested our apartment. Fleas were everywhere. I wouldn’t go barefoot in the house. After several failed attempts, we were told to sprinkle Borax detergent all over the carpets and leave it there for a day or two then vacuum. Worked like a charm. Just thought I would share another remedy.

  26. My vet put my kitty on Advantix Multi for mites, every 2 weeks for 4 doses, he seems to be doing better and I have been diligently vacuuming and washing everything in the house and treating myself, but I am still being bitten. I want to switch him over to Revolution, because I have read it specifically kills mites, does anyone know if I can apply it 2 weeks after the advantix multi?

  27. 2 week waiting period is off label use, but should be ok. check with your local vet for approval and monitoring. I would rather have you change to oral comfortis which may be stronger alternative if still active fleas around Remember you also need to treat home as well, where much of flea life cycle occurs

  28. Apple cider vinegar is the best….i lived in Florida for awhile and the flea problem was awful…i started spraying my dogs down once a day and when i bathed them after i rinsed them i poured full strengh vinegar over their body (DO NOT RINSE IT OFF) toweled dry then blew them dry…….my poms (all with huge coates ) never had another flea…flea’s hate the acidity and the plus……beautiful shiny coats…TRY IT…IT WORKS…

  29. Nancy, Try rubbing coconut oil into the skin for any irritated spots from fleas bites. (I warm it up so it’s easier to soak into the skin). Even if the pet wants to lick it off it will not hurt them. It’s actually good for them! (Coconut oil will also kill the fleas.).

  30. Excuse me, but I have had 1-3 dogs over the past 13 years, c 1-2 in door cats. The home is in a wooded rural area. All the dogs were indoor/outdoor, and the youngest is a larger dog who needed more activity and spent much time in woods with me(he is the only one still alive, and 1 cat is still alive). I always treated the dogs with frontline or advantage, or front line plus. The cats needed no treatment. True to the label, up until about 2 years ago, those products kept my animals and my house flea free. About 2 years ago or so, that stopped working, and absolutely nothing that is promoted is working, not the cheap ones like Hartz, nor the top of the line products. And be careful with natural remedies, as someone posted, there can be hazardous consequences- you really have to think about it! The manufacturers cont to swear their products work, and are happy to blame their products lack of effectiveness on consumer error, but seriously, the fleas are barely affected now, most of the products do give some releif in the 1st week after application, but into 2nd or 3rd week, depending on the product, it is like he was never treated-In 2 years I haven’t seen 1 application of any brand of topical that has lasted more than 2 weeks as far as fleas. I think the ticks are still affected for the 4 weeks, but thats harder to judge, and I say that because my dog is a pit bull c very short hair, and I easily spot ticks- over past 2 years , like I said , in 2 weeks he has fleas , but I don’t seem to ever find ticks . In the past if I was latte treating him, maybe went over due a week, I might find a tick, but never were there fleas. That seems true of both the “natural” products and the chemical products, drops, sprays, powders. It is frustrating that the manufacturers will not get real and admit their products have been defeated somehow, rather than try to dupe the public into wasting money on them.

  31. Thank you for your comments Rana

  32. Another good way to get rid of fleas is a lint roller..sticky paper ones. Easy way to grab fleas & they can’t escape. A magnifying glass shows them stuck on the paper…ugly things!

  33. I’ve had 2 dogs who mainly stay inside & 2 cats who are indoors only for over 15 years, only using flea & tick topicals sporadically because they never had any & I didn’t like using pesticides on them (of course I used heartworm preventative every month though). Last year suddenly we were infested, nothing seemed to work & my poor kids were miserable. I had 3 dogs & 2 cats at the time, I had tried Frontline once before but it was like flushing $ down the toilet so I always used Advantix (Advantage II on the cats), then switched to Advantage Multi since it has heartworm preventative too. I was searching for something safer that would work and ran across http://wondercide.refr.cc/D5G3XX8. What a godsend! It is strong smell-wise, but it’s all natural & they have a multitude of products for inside, outside, humans, and pets AND if for some reason you don’t like it or it doesn’t work, you can return it within 30 days! I started out just buying a 16oz bottle to see if it worked (+ I didn’t know how the cats would like being treated with a spray but I just sprayed it into my hands & rubbed it into their fur), but after trying once, I was reordering & buying one of the kits. I love that my kiddos no longer have fleas and I’m not putting poison on them to kill/prevent them! Apparently there’s an epidemic that started last year, I’ve talked to several pet parents who suddenly had a problem, had never had any before, and nothing else worked. Hopefully this can help someone else. I even had ants suddenly invade my kitchen & sprayed where I saw them one time, never saw another one.

    • Thanks for sharing. I have also had good success with the wondercide products, particularly in my holistic clients who prefer not to use pesticides or chemicals. Thanks for your feedback

  34. Hi, I have a question and I would call my vet but it’s Sunday and a holiday weekend. I have a unique situation…. We live in West Virginia in one of the towns that just got entirely flooded, including our home. We were able to escape our home the night of the flood (just barely) with our 2 kittens and have been living surrounded by deplorable conditions (our house is ok upstairs but funk coming up from the basement)  for the past week with mud, debris, mold, no clean running water etc.. I was concerned about my kittens health with all this going on because they’re young, new rescues, and had only had their first shots so I took them to the mobile vet clinic yesterday that the humane society has set up. They received shots, wormers and advantage flea treatment. One of the kittens has been scratching and flattening her ear and shaking her head for a few days and I assumed she has ear mites. The vet agreed with me and had me come back today to pick up ear mite medicine. Here’s my concern…… They put the medication in an unmarked Syringe measured by her weight and told me to put it on the back on her neck in the same place she had advantage yesterday and they didn’t even tell me what it was.  (I didn’t realize it wasn’t labeled until I got home, please don’t chastise me for this ppl, we’re in a major disaster zone here and there’s ppl and noise and emergency vehicles and craziness everywhere) So I looked up ear mite medicine and there are apparently two that are used on the neck, Revolution and Advantage Multi and I don’t think it’s safe to use either one since she just had advantage for cats yesterday. I even asked the vet assistant when she told me to put it on her neck “you mean in the same place she had flea treatment yesterday?” and she said yes. I don’t feel comfortable at all that she knew what she was talking about and the vet wasn’t at the mobile clinic yet. Sorry to be so long winded but wanted to cover all the details. The kitten is 5 months old and weighs 4.8 lbs. Please let me know what you think I should do, keeping in mind I don’t have access to get mineral oil or running to pet smart for ear drops or something. We lost my purse, husband’s wallet, any access to money at all in the flood and are awaiting assistance from FEMA and flood insurance to get back on our feet but I am trying to do everything I can to take care of my kitties. So many others are in shelters because their owners lost their homes and can’t have pets at the shelters. So sad. 

    • I know this post was a couple of months ago but incasea little vasoline on a qtip in the ears (rub well after) will help.

  35. Given that a topical pesticide was definitely applied yesterday, and we dont know for sure which one, i would NOT apply any further topical pesticides for AT LEAST one week. The cat wont die from ear mites. Cleaning ears with a bit of dilute hydrogen peroxide and/or a few drops of apple cidar vinegar in small of of water should be fine for now.

  36. I applied advantage to my indoor cats two weeks ago. And have been vacuuming every day. I’ve washed everything in hot water multiple times. I’m still finding fleas. The advantage seems to be working on the smaller cat but the larger cat has more fleas. And today I found flea dirt on him. I applied another dose of advantage to him. Was that a wise decision? I don’t want to make him sick. I’m also pregnant so I’m trying to do everything without chemicals. I found about five fleas on him today but a lot of flea dirt. Yesterday he had about ten.

    • House may need to be professionally exterminated as much of flea life cycle occurs in home. Exterminators are used to working around pregnant women, etc. Also you can consider oral pill like comfortis but this will require a script from your veterinarian.

  37. Revolution. PERIOD. Advantage and Frontline are worthless in CA and probably other warm states where people use the treatments over and over again. The fleas that survive make resistant babies and you keep using the same meds and generations upon generations of the tough bugs get more and more immune. It is suggested that people alternate months or switch every other year with a different given product. Advantage was only working one to one and a half weeks. I wrote the company, BAYER, and called them twice and they apparently will not even take the time to acknowledge your letter, offer coupons or anything. The R and D lady argued with me for 20 minutes even though I told her I had been an Advantage user for over 20 years and know how to use the product with both indoor and outdoor cats. They don’t want to admit their product is losing potency. I told them even VETS and other animal owners are saying it is no longer effective. It is nothing to be offended about. Go back to the drawing board. Finally, spray your carpet with Adams, Sentry, or Zodiac spray anywhere from $15 to $19 a can. Move your kits out of the environment and spray each room and all upholstered furniture. You may need two cans. But that stuff WORKS. Vacuum frequently. You must treat the indoor environment. Air your place out for 2 hours or so with windows open after you spray.

  38. Try Borax- not on pets, but in carpeting,pet beds, upholstery and in dark areas of the house where fleas breed! You can buy “specialty” borax from pet stores for about 16 times the price of a box of 20 Mule team Borax, that our grandmothers used for stains and other laundry cleaning, but if you sprinkle it and massage it / brush it into carpets, upholstery, etc. it will dry out flea eggs and young fleas! It also controls roaches, ants, etc…. Cheap, easy, effective!

  39. Christopher PhillipsAugust 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm · Reply

    I have had dogs for over 35 years and have always been able to treat them for fleas. I have lived in the south (Alabama) for the past 20 years and this year is the first that I have not been able to find a definitive cure for fleas. We started out in the spring as we usually do by applying Advantix II to both dogs as well as a flea collar on both. That usually does the trick for the whole season, changing flea collars as recommended and re-applying topical as required.
    However, this year has been a mystery. We started out as usual, but still noticed some fleas. Our dogs stay outside most of the time but we let them inside when we are home. They usually stay in our kitchen as it is tiled and is kept very clean. They have, over the years, come into the living area which is carpeted but we have never had any fleas in our carpet. And we don’t now either. We tried several “natural” remedies, flea baths, essential oils, DE in there bedding and the yard where they lie, lemon oil sprays, etc. Still some fleas. Treated the yard with chemicals as well as cedar bedding and DE. Still some fleas. Went with the Seresto flea collars, high dollar and supposed to be the best. Still some fleas. My wife flea combs them a couple times a day and before we bring them in, which we have never had to do before, but makes us feel safer bringing them inside. And we always find a few fleas when we comb them. We are at our wits end. Wife wants to try Nexgard next but I am very leery of that. Everyone I talk to tells me they use a different method of flea protection. I just am not sue which way to go at this point.

    • I have heard of this frustrating issue occasionally Christopher. I would try one of the oral product alternatives such as comfortis or NExguard to name two available. A different approach may work for you. Also make sure you are treating home for fleas as well.

    • Tile, UGH. My daughter brought an infested cat home from college — I have never had an excess flea problem until after she left. I didn’t know that they were lying in wait upstairs (carpeted area where the dogs are not allowed unless we are with them). They kept finding their way down and a couple of times, I guess, the dogs got past the gate and must have been up because they were ATTACKED — like with 500 at a time! I freaked and ran them up to the only bathtub and when we came back down, WE WERE ALL COVERED!! Well, they were on the TILE in that bathroom (and, all other rooms, of course), but the TILE was ALIVE!! I brought one down and put her on a clean bed straight from a hot wash/dry and within minutes, IT WAS ALIVE! I ran them back up (not knowing) and good God, looked down and the bathmat was alive, as was the floor. Back to the kitchen sink.

      I bombed (I know, I know!), sprayed an upholstery spray, used Frontline Plus, rubbing alcohol to kill the ones I see on them (kills and I can pick it off — every 1 – 2 hours), I have sprayed the yard (front and back) and have DE all over the carpet upstairs (they are not there), all down the stairs (carpet) and in the windows (all), I have lights hanging over dish liquid water upstairs, and I guess need to steam clean, etc. But, I THOUGHT we had gotten it under control (downstairs, anyway) . . 48 hours later, one of the dogs has gotten about 10 on his rump area and they have already bitten and pooped (so that means they have hatched, fed, and are lying in wait . . .) HELP!!!! He was outside today, so I guess he could have picked up a few, but would they have already eaten and pooped in less than 24 hours?

  40. Hello Veterinarian,

    I applied Revolution to my 15 month old kitten, but he stuggled and I didn’t get it on his skin. Will it be effective?

    Thank you,

    • Hard to say. I would wait two weeks and then have then consider having someone help you if needed to reapply. I would not reapply until the earliest 2 to 4 weeks from now

  41. Thank you so much, Michael. I appreciate your response. He seems to be scratching less. I will reassess him and follow your advice.

    He has thick fur, but I believe I applied it to his undercoat at least. I will have an assistant next time. It’s embarrassing as an RN.


    • I have the same issue with my cat. Her fur is so thick and fine that its hard to get it on her skin. So a couple of times a day I part her fur and stroke the area where I intend to apply the frontline so she is conditioned to the procedure and does not move around so much when I apply the meds which are kept at room temperature and not out of the cold refrigerator.

  42. Good old Dawn dish detergent and a bath! Killed them all. Sprayed the house,furniture and changed all linens. Gone!

  43. Good morning Mr. Dym!

    I have a Shih tzu who for the first time in 9yrs has attracted fleas. I had him bathed in a flea shampoo and cut short 9/8/16. He was also given a Capstar pill. I was told to give him a topical/oral treatment and opted for the topical. My sister has a Shih tzu as well and when she got fleas she used Hartz Ultra Guard Pro triple action flea drops. It ended her flea adventure. I put this on my dog 9/10, but am not sure if I put it on right. It states to put it between shoulders down to the tail bone.I did this, but I didn’t do a straight line. Do you know if the intended purpose is to get it on the spine or is it just to have it on a place where my dog can’t reach it? Also i’ve heard about using table salt for carpets (which I did) and spraying my dog with vinegar. Is it safe to combine these remedies? Also I’m in an apartment so I can’t treat the outside as some have suggested 🙁

    • Spraying with very dilute vinegar is fine, but I would NOT use table salt for the carpets. Consider approved products from an exterminator to service your home, or products like knock out, etc from 1800petmeds. As for applying product, I would follow directions on label. Most of these are supposed to be applied in one or more spots directly on skin, by parting fur over the spine. If any questions, then call the company if in doubt

  44. I put frontline plus on my dogs three weeks ago and I might as well have just thrown my money out the window. Is it ok to go ahead and give them nexguard now or is it too soon?

    • So sorry to hear of that Amy. Yes using NExguard now should be fine. I would also consider having your home treated as well, as much of flea life cycle does occur in the home as well

  45. I want to thank all the participants on this blog for sharing their stories and concerns. It seems for 2 years everybody has been ranting about the lack of an effective remedy here. While I feel I am now educated to the flea issues all over the country, I still have yet to hear what is being done. Have we lost the battle, Have the parasites won? Are fleas becoming resistant to treatments as have many anti-biotic resistant viruses and diseases?
    All of the suggestions and advice from consumers to Vet docs here have yielded NO for sure fix.
    My Story is similar to everyone else, I guess I will resort to training my new housemates to start up a Flea Circus, rather than fork out my money to all of the drug companies fraudulently claiming their products work.

    • Yes Rick. Flea control challenges are always emerging, as well as changing as fleas do become resistant to continued, same treatments over many years, which is what exterminators find in their business as well. If you look back over twenty fiver years of veterinary products, new and improved ones are always coming out, as better and more effective ones are found

  46. If I could recommend coconut oil. Directly or in a bath. It suffocates the fleas and since it is an all natural product does not hinder medications. If applied directly the pet can look and feel a little oily for a few days, but the antibiotic qualities of it help to soothe and heal bites. It also separates the hair to make it easier to find the fleas.

  47. I have a set of kittens (well they are actually cats now) who have severe flea allergies. It is worse on the male than the female and I also have 5 other grown cats. We had a severe flea infestation and my male kitten was covered in scabs from head to tail. The female isn’t as bad but she would get huge open sores on her neck from the flea bites. Anyhow, I bought 8 doses of Advantage on eBay. It was the dose for dogs 55 pounds and over and I would break it down in 0.8 doses for the cats. This has always worked in the past and I’ve never had any problem like this with fleas before. Anyhow, the medication from eBay was not working. Within a few days my cats were covered in fleas yet again. I was applying this to my male cat every 14 days and he was still covered in fleas and scabs. I thought that maybe the product I bought on eBay was counterfeit. So I’m wondering has that ever been an issue with Advantage? People making counterfeit Advantage or are these fleas just immune to this stuff or something? I did eventually buy Advantage II for 1800 Pet Meds and as of last night (6 hours after applying the Advantage from 1800 Pet Meds) my cats still had live fleas on them. So my 3 questions are 1. Is it possible that someone could sell either fake or water downed Advantage and make it look real? 2. Could these fleas be immune to Advantage and if so then what am I supposed to do now? And 3. How long does it actually take to kill all the fleas because I put this stuff on my cats at 11 AM and at 5 PM they still had live fleas. Thank you.

    • Hi Jenn. Sorry about your trouble. You may need to have a professional exterminator come into your home to treat with strong meds for home. Also you can try Knockout from 1800petmeds, as well as flea busters http://www.fleabusters.com I would recommend a stronger quick kill flea product like oral comfortis or Nexguard from 1800petmeds, but you will need script from your vet

  48. It’s not the last stuff you bought that worked. It’s not the last thing you did that worked.
    When dealing with a flea infestation, It’s the 1st thing you did AND the last. It’s 6 to 12 weeks of battle is what wins this war.
    Yes, it’s a war. And going to war with a tank isn’t going to win.
    By the time you see a few fleas on your pet, or a few in the house? It’s already too late. Where there’s one, there’s hundreds.
    Most people are trying to rid a few fleas that they have discovered on their pet. While right behind them, thousands are hiding and multiplying every MINUTE.
    There are not a bunch of fleas that lay some eggs that hatch two weeks later.
    There ARE a bunch of fleas laying eggs 24/7 that are hatching around the clock…repeat….repeat…repeat.

    Topicals such as Frontline, Advantage, etc. They do work, but, not as advertised. (within an hour is bs). Topicals must be applied and given time to work/spread into the pets skin. One application is somewhat diluted and not super effective. A month later, the 2nd application strengthens the diluted 1st application. By three months, it’s working.
    You will still see NEW fleas on your pet, but, they should be of no concern. They will die.
    For something more immediate. Use Capstar or several baths along with a topical. Best to isolate the pet if possible while working on the environment (house/yard).
    Method 1) For the house: Go online and order a case of PT Ultracide in spray cans. While you are waiting for that to arrive..
    Day one VACUUM. Then bomb or spray with something you found locally to kill fleas in your house. Vacuum again several hours later.
    Take some plates/dishes and fill with soapy water. Place these around the walls/corners and pet hangout areas. These are traps and won’t solve anything, but, they will tell you where the worse places are. AND, they are a good indicator of progress. Move them around every few days to check other areas.
    Vacuum everything, every day. OR, at the very least, every other day.
    When your PT Ultracide arrives, vacuum, spray, and vacuum again later that day or the next day.
    Repeat this daily vacuuming, and weekly spraying for 6 to 12 weeks. (one week of no fleas in your traps means you’ve won).
    During all the free time you’ll have in between vacuuming, wash all bedding and everything else you can find…several times.
    ALTERNATIVE LESS CHEMICAL METHOD (or to maybe shorten the 12 weeks). This is an AND/OR method.
    Mix equal part of food grade DE, Borax, Baking Soda. Sprinkle LIBERALLY into carpets (especially thick around walls/corners/baseboards). Scrub it in with a push broom. Leave it as long as you can stand it. This must remain for it to work. It’s not going to do anything if you vacuum it all up the next day. HOWEVER, you will not be able to vacuum it all up out of carpets anyway. (some will always remain…which is a good thing).
    This makes one hell of a mess though. There won’t be a single thing in your house that doesn’t have a layer of dust on it after scrubbing this stuff into carpet with a broom. (and I mean floor to ceiling and everything in between will be dusty!!).

    During all this, treat your yard once a week with Demon WP and add some insect growth regulator (IGR) to the mix for good measure. SATURATE against your house.

    There is no “most important” step. There is no miracle quick cure. It’s 6-12 weeks of non-stop battle with the 1st thing you do just as important as the last.
    Once finished: Keep your pets treated like clockwork and don’t skip a month. And fog or spray at least every 6 months to prevent this from happening again.

  49. One thing that helps, but does not totally eliminate fleas is to put a dish or shallow bowl of water with dawn dish soap under a desk lamp. the fleas jump towards the light and heat from the bulb (25 watts is fine) and bounce off the bulb and land in the soapy water. I lived in an infested trailer and used this, and the bottom of the bowl was solid fleas the next morning.
    It took about 4 days, and finally I was only catching about a half dozen a night.
    This combined with the frontline, and a vacuum cleaner made life much better for my 4 cats and me.

Leave a Comment