How do Flea treatments work?

Fleas are a pain… not only can they cause discomfort for your pet, they can use us as a 3-course meal also whilst potentially transmitting diseases! Nasty little things!

We all know how to treat a flea infestation with sprays, drops and tablets but, how do they actually work? What do you look out for in a treatment? We hope we can answer without too much science!

It does not matter what flea treatment you use, be it a shampoo, a collar, powder, spray, tablet or drops, it is of utmost importance to always read the instructions and get immediate advice from a vet if your dog or cat shows any worsening signs of health that could be caused by a reaction to the treatment.

Spot on flea treatments

Spot-on treatments (or drops) are applied directly to the skin and can protect your cat or dog for up to 30 days. Applied directly to the skin at the base of the neck, they work by depositing the active ingredient directly into the sebaceous gland. These are glands that produce oils that help protect the coat and once in contact with the flea, the active ingredient will attack it’s nervous system stopping the ability for the flea to feed from your cat or dog (or you), slowly killing the flea. Some also contain insect growth regulators that will help reduce the chance of any eggs hatching.

Flea Collars

Flea collars work in a similar way but act mainly as a preventative method rather than a cure. Collars will last about 6-8 months and work by emitting a gas that deters the flea from choosing your dog or cat as a host. There are some Flea Collars that will also help treat mild infestations which work in the same way as a drop, by allowing an active ingredient to be absorbed by the sebaceous glands.

Flea pills

Pills come in 2 forms but both release an insecticide directly into the bloodstream of your cat and dog which deposits the active ingredient throughout the body and into the skin and glands. They can be designed to target either adults OR eggs.

Flea treatment shampoos

Shampoos work as you’d expect, by killing the fleas on contact. They are a fantastic way to keep an infestation at bay whilst you treat the rest of the house with sprays or powders.