Flea control can be a controversial topic.

This is because within the veterinary industry, there are so many flea products available, and all of them work in different ways. It can be difficult to identify which products cover which stages of a fleas life cycle and It can be very confusing for consumers, who naturally want the best product for their pet(s).

The most common source of fleas in your home is from larval stages that have developed into adult fleas. Adult fleas live and feed on animals, but the female lays eggs, which will fall off your pet, and into the environment. Under favourable conditions, these eggs develop into larvae and then into pupae. The pupae contain adult fleas that lie and wait for a suitable host. Modern carpeted and centrally heated homes provide ideal conditions for the development of fleas. The highest number of flea eggs, larvae and pupae will be found in areas in the house where pets spend most of their time, such as their beds. If you have fleas developing in your home environment, you probably wont see them: the eggs are too small to see without magnification and the larvae which are just visible will migrate deep down into carpets, floorboards, furniture or cracks in floors away from the light. The flea life cycle is most active in the warm humid months, so fleas are worst in late Spring, Summer and early Autumn.

There are several options available when it comes to choosing a product for flea control. These include the following:

1. “Advantage” and “Frontline”

“Advantage” (Imidacloprid) and “Frontline” (Fipronil) are topical products that control adult fleas as well as the larval stages of the flea. These products can be used for both cats and dogs and aim to keep fleas from breeding by breaking their life cycle. These agents will kill the adult fleas not long after they have been in contact with it (approx 6-8 hours). ‘Frontline’ also comes in a spray pump pack, which gives added coverage and is particularly useful for large dogs, and animals that may have flea allergies, or flea allergy dermatitis. ‘Frontline’ is also recommended for deterring paralysis ticks.


2. “Revolution”

‘Revolution’ (Selamectin) is another topical product used for both cats and dogs. It has added agents combined with the flea product, which for cats will control Ear mites, Heartworms, Hookworms and Roundworms. For dogs, it controls Heartworms, Ear mites and Sarcoptic mites.


3. “Advocate” 

‘Advocate’ is a new product on the market for dogs and cats. The two active ingredients, Imadacloprid and Moxidectin, are effective against adult and larval flea stages, and in addition Advocate is also effective against heartworm, most intestinal worms and ear mites in both dogs and cats. In dogs it also covers lice and sarcoptic mites. Like ‘Advantage’, ‘Frontline’ and ‘Revolution’, ‘Advocate is an easy to apply topical product.


4. “Sentinel”

‘Sentinel’ is a monthly tablet available for dogs (only) and this product aims to halt the breeding cycle by sterilising the flea after it has bitten the dog and ingested the product from the animals blood stream. ‘Sentinel’ also covers Heartworm and ALL intestinal worms, and hence can be given as a convenient all-in-one monthly treatment.


5. “Program”

‘Program’ works in a similar way to ‘Sentinel’ in that it works to sterilise the adult flea. It does not however include the worming extras, working only on fleas. It is a useful product in the event of a serious adult flea infestation and is available for both dogs and cats.

With a topical product such as ‘Advantage’ or ‘Frontline’ (killing fleas on contact), combined with Program (sterilising the flea if it bites), your pet should have some of the best flea control around. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL FOR APPLICATION AND THE INTERVALS STATED. For any advice regarding what product is best for you and your pet, feel free to contact us and we will help you assess what product will be best for your situation.

In order to maximise elimination of larval stages from the environment, flea bombs are usually a necessary part of the flea control program. Flea bombs are readily available from veterinary surgeries, pet shops and supermarkets. Flea bombs aim to kill the developing stages of the flea in your home. It is important to note that you follow up with a second flea bomb, approximately 7-10 days after the first. This will catch any of the pupal stage not killed by the first bomb, effectively breaking the cycle as there will be no pupae to develop into adults. Once again it is very important to read the labels very carefully as most of the cheaper bombs only cover one stage of the flea cycle and may need to be repeated many times in comparison to the more expensive or recommended bombs. Always use as directed and ensure you have an adequate number of bombs to appropriately cover your home. The average home will use four bombs at one time, larger homes may need six.

Once again, if you need advice or have any questions regarding fleas or flea control please don’t hesitate to contact us.