The Most Effective Way to Kill Fleas

A common complaint this time of year is when clients call or come into the vet clinic complaining about persistence of fleas, despite their diligent use of the tried, tested and effective topical flea and tick medications such as Frontline Plus or Advantage II. Often this is the result of a failure of us as veterinarians in fully educating clients on a complete flea control program.  Before all of the topical spot on flea products came out many years ago, it was taught to us in veterinary school to stress to clients to treat the home environment, given that almost 80% of the flea life cycle occurs in the environment.

Killing flea offspring is key in any flea prevention program

While many of the topical flea products claim they are highly effective against flea eggs, many exterminators and parasitologists I have spoken with have told me that often flea eggs can be resistant to the insecticidal effects of some of these products.  Most of the flea eggs that are laid on the animal do roll off onto the pet’s bedding, carpeting, or furniture in the home. It is therefore important for animal guardians not only to treat their pets topically with flea control medication, which indeed controls and kills flea adults and larvae on the pet, but also to treat the home as well with insect growth regulator compounds such as Virbac Knockout Fogger from 1800petmeds or other products like flea busters, or even employing an exterminator in heavy infestations to help kill flea eggs.

I also find it helpful to treat the yard as well with a yard and kennel flea spray. Many garden stores sell special type of worms called nematodes, which are often effective against fleas when applied in the garden or backyard.   Unless a multi-pronged flea approach is taken, as well as careful attention to application of the topical flea products, according to manufacturer recommendations, clients may find that relying on the topical spot on products alone may fail in their attempts to control these pesky parasites.

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  1. thanks.tried capstar. worked great

  2. I have 2 yorkies and I have been treating them for flees, have bought collars and giving them baths with flee soap.
    I have sprayed them with flee spray and the flles keep coming back. I dont know what else to do. If you could tell me something else to try, I would really be greatful.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I would try oral comfortis from 1800petmeds and consider treating home with flea busters which you can find on line

  4. We have 2 large yorkies..In the 2012 flea season they could hardly rest because of scratching fleas even though they wore flea collars. Now in 2013 I’m trying diatomaceous earth which is natural, non toxic and easy to apply.So far they hardly scratch at all and don’t wear the flea collars.Worth checking out.

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I have long been a fan of diatomaceous earth as natural alternative.

  6. Is there any way to get comfortis without a script. I run a rescue and at this time am taking care of 12 dogs and fleas have started and cant seem to get rid of them. Had a dog at one time that I used this on and was wonderful but cant afford 12 dog visits to the vet.

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 31, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    You do need a script for comfortis.

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  9. I just read about your dog roaming house at night and noticed the date 5,years ago. Just wondered if he had further problems with dementia oe Alzheimer’s type problems. We lost a little one this year. And it began with roaming the house at night, could not even find his way from a corner .Then developing into dementia behavior until he did not know us.

  10. Is there a shot I can give my dog for flea & ticks and heart worm? It is a battle to get her pills down her. I have tried every thing that people have told me. I did the put the pill in peanut butter. Well she licks off the peanut butter and spits out the pill. You name it and I have tried it. I am worried as she is getting older, and she gets upset when we force the pills down. She is 12 and a Yorkie.

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I would ask your vet for a script for topical revolution from 1800petmeds which is as close as it gets to a non pill option.

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  14. Does brewers yeast tablets work against fleas and ticks? My bulldog gets raw skin after using Advantix?

  15. Does brewers yeast work for flea and ticks as I’ve heard? My bulldog gets raw skin from Advantix.

  16. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Brewers yeast may help some dogs, but I would try a stronger natural alternative like food grade diatomaceous earth which you can powder on as needed and also add to food.

  17. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    You could also try product Evolve

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  20. I live in the country and my 3 cats go in and out. I have pergo floors indoors. We do not put insecticide in our yard because it kills too many beneficial bugs and in the end the lawn. Besides it would cost too much and the cats might go across the road into a wooded area anyway. I have years of experience with indoor outdoor pets. Know that fleas will hide in and under thatch where lawn pesticides and foggers won’t work. Dethatch your lawn with a power dethatcher and fleas won’t be a problem for a long time. Indoors I have had excellent results with Raid for Fleas for years. It’s a fogger that doesn’t go above waist height like those horrible whole house foggers that are just unnecessary. Raid kills eggs, hatchlings, all of them and lasts about 8 months. When I had carpets, I cleaned them quarterly, then sprayed with Raid, let dry. No problem with fleas. On my bare floors, I spray every 6 months. I make sure it dries before I damp mop the floors about 6 inches away from the walls. I only concentrate on the baseboard area. Never let anything walk on them until they are dry. I also vacuum daily. That is what really reduces fleas. On my cats, I only use Fipronil Plus because Advantage affected 2 of my cats adversely. I also comb them sitting next to the toilet. That removes 75% of the fleas right after they come in. Natural things that really work. A couple of drops of lavender oil in cat’s water until it builds up in the skin. Or one drop lavender, one drop rosemary oils cut with 10 drop extra virgin olive oil and massage into cats skin. It absorbs quickly, fleas won’t go there for a few days, and cat smells good. It’s OK when they lick at it, actually good for them.

  21. I meant to comment I sit next to the toilet when I flea comb my cats because it’s easy to dump the fleas from the comb into the toilet and flush them away. You can also throw the fleas in a bucket with about 3 inches of water at the bottom and a couple drops of dish soap which acts to drown them.

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