How often should I flea my pets? A guide to flea treatments for cats and dogs

Peak flea season is upon us and with that comes preparing to treat and prevent fleas in cats and dogs before those persistent pests take over. Summer tends to be the most active time for fleas as the higher temperatures and humidity are the ideal environment for these parasites to thrive and latch onto your beloved pet. Not only can fleas latch onto your pet but they can also infest your home, hide in bedding, furniture and floors, therefore it’s important to take all necessary precautions during flea season to prevent unwanted pests. Keep reading as we walk you through our recommended preventative measures to help keep fleas at bay.

As fleas are most commonly found in warm, moist and shady areas such as long, tall grass, sand, sheds and porches, if your pet is often in areas like this during summer it is important to be extra vigilant in checking them for fleas, in order to prevent illness and infestations.

How do I know if my dog or cat has fleas?

The most common sign that your dog or cat has fleas is itching. Most pets are allergic to the protein that is in flea saliva, therefore, when bitten, your pet will start to itch or scratch their skin excessively. This agitation can also cause red pimples or bumps on your pets belly, legs, groin and tail. Other signs of flea infestation on your pet include, hair loss and dry skin due to scratching.

An easy way to check your cat or dog for fleas is to comb or brush your pet’s coat. When grooming your pet, be on the lookout for any unusual signs of pests, examine the brush carefully and pay particular attention to thinly haired areas such as your pet’s belly for signs of fleas. Adult fleas are easy to spot with the naked eye, they are small and brown yet big enough to notice as being abnormal on your pet.

What may go undetected is the flea dirt left behind by adult fleas, this looks like small grains of black sand that turns red when wet - this can often be confused for normal dirt or mud, but is a clear indication of a flea infestation. We recommend standing your pet on a white surface such as a towel or bath when grooming them so that you can easily spot the flea dirt as it falls.

It’s important to note that if fleas are left untreated, your pet can start to develop lesions which can lead to infections and, in some cases, this may lead to your pets suffering from a more severe disease as a direct result. Therefore, it is vital that you are routinely checking your pets for fleas, especially during the summer. Check out our full range of flea, tick and worming products available on the Direct4Pet website to be prepared for flea season.

How often should cats and dogs be flead?

It is recommended that on top of regularly checking for fleas when grooming your pet that you also provide them with a monthly flea treatment as a way to prevent unwanted pests. If your pet is currently suffering from fleas and being treated for them, simply follow the instructions given on your choice of flea treatment. However, if you are using treatments as a preventative measure, we recommend ensuring your pets are flead once a month from as little as 8 weeks old - this will ensure that your pet is kept flea-free throughout their life.

How do you apply flea treatment?

The type of flea treatment you decide to use on your pet will determine the type of application process you should follow. The most common and easy to use flea treatment that we would recommend is spot-on flea treatment. Below we will talk you through the 4 simple steps of applying a spot-on flea treatment and offer some product suggestions to get you started.

  1. Firstly, read the instructions of your particular spot-on treatment to ensure you have the right one for your pet’s breed, weight and size. Open your spot-on tube and hold it in an upright position, then gently push the treatment out of the tube to the surface.
  2. Find a spot high up on your pet, usually around their neck and down between their shoulder blades - this placement of the treatment is to prevent your pet from licking the treatment off of themselves. Part your pet’s fur in this area with one hand so that you can see the base of their skin.
  3. Using your other hand, apply the spot-on treatment directly onto their exposed skin. On larger dogs who require a higher dose of treatment, apply this in several spots on their neck to cover a larger area. Ensure you only used the instructed dose of flea treatment for your pet’s size and at the right time.
  4. Finally, put your pet’s fur back into place, taking care to not accidentally rub off any flea treatment. Make sure that the treated area is kept clean and dry for at least 24 hours with no grooming or bathing in this time, to ensure the treatment is fully soaked into your pet’s skin.

Remember: Cats and dogs require different types of flea treatments each dependent on their current weight and breed. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are giving the correct one to your pet as these opposing treatments can be harmful to each animal. We would recommend contacting your vet for the most appropriate advice if you’re unsure. 

Spot-on flea treatments for cats and dogs

Advantage Spot On Flea Treatment £13.99 and Ceva Vectra Felis Cat/Kitten Flea Spot On Treatment £18.99 

Advantage Spot On is highly effective and easy-to-use flea treatment for dogs, designed to treat the torso of your pet for fleas, killing 98-100% of fleas within 12 hours of use and 100% of reinfesting fleas within 2 hours. Each pipette provides protection for both your pet and home for 1 month against fleas and flea larvae, however, adding a household flea spray is also recommended for complete flea protection. Unlike other spot on treatments, Advantage has the added benefit of being water resistant, meaning it is still effective even after bathing, swimming, and other exposure to water. 

It’s important to remember that with this spot on treatment, the weight of your pet plays a big role in the type of treatment you should purchase for your pet. Here at Direct4Pet we provide you with a quick and easy form to fill out the species, age, weight and sex of your dog or cat in order to determine which Advantage spot on treatment is best for you. For pets weighing 4kg and below, Advantage 40 will be needed, over 4kg, Advantage 80 and for those between 4-10kg, Advantage 100 and so forth. 

We suggest weighing your pet at home to ensure that you are choosing the right treatment for them. One of the easiest ways to do this is with your classic at-home scale that you would use for yourself. Simply step on the scale and weigh yourself, record the weight shown then pick up your pet (if possible) and subtract your weight from the combined weight. This will give you an accurate reading of how much your pet weighs so that you can ensure you are giving them the correct flea treatment they require. If your pet is too big to pick up we would recommend taking them to their local vets to get weighed accurately.

Ceva’s Vectra Felis is a spot on flea treatments for cats designed to protect your cat and your home from infestation. The unique applicator allows you to reach your cat’s skin easily, to ensure successful treatment. One treatment can protect your home against flea eggs and larvae for up to 3 months from use and can be safely used on kittens as young as 7 weeks old.

Flea tablets for cats and dogs

Johnsons 4fleas Kitten/Cat Tablets 6 Pack £8.89 and Bob Martin Clear Flea Tablets For Cats & Dogs £8.59 

If a spot on treatment isn’t for you, an oral flea tablet may be preferred to treat infestation quickly. 4Fleas tablets by Johnsons are powerful, and quick acting treatments that have been shown to kill 4 times as many fleas in the first 3 hours, than other flea treatments. Johnsons 4Fleas is given orally or can be mixed with food for fussy felines. With up to 95% efficiency observed within the first 6 hours after use, these flea tablets are also suitable for use in conjunction with other flea treatments. They have no side effects and are suitable for kittens over 4 weeks old.

Bob Martin Clear Flea Tablets for dogs help to rid your pet from all of the discomforts caused by fleas by killing them quickly and efficiently. Whether you give the tablet to your pet orally or hidden in their favourite food, these tablets are an effective method to treat fleas within 24 hours. However, as most fleas reside in the house, it is important to eliminate the problem using household fleas sprays in conjunction with this tablet.

Household flea sprays and flea bombs

Bob Martin Clear Flea Tick Spray For Cats And Home 300ml £10.89

Bob Martin’s Clear Flea Tick Spray for cats and home works in a unique way to immobilise fleas. This pesticide free spray is safe to use both on a cat's coat and in the home, when used as directed. Creating a unique sticky trap to work against fleas at all stages of the flea life cycle, from larvae to eggs and adult fleas, helping to stop flea infestation in your feline and home.

For a dog-friendly flea spray to use in your home, TropiClean Flea & Tick Spray for dogs is guaranteed to kill fleas and ticks after use. This unique blend of natural, essential oils contains some of nature’s most powerful pest fighting ingredients including, lemongrass, clove, cedarwood and cinnamon, for long lasting effects. Powerful and effective, this flea spray is safe to use on dogs and puppies 12 weeks or older, but is not safe to use around cats.

Bob Martin Home Flea Bomb Fumigation Pack - Kills Fleas Dead £8.39 and Beaphar Household Flea Fumigator 3.5g £7.19 

Similar to the flea spray, Bob Martin’s Home Flea Bomb is a pesticide bomb that works in a unique way by immobilising fleas using a ‘sticky trap’ to get fleas at all stages of their lifecycle. As with all household flea control products, it is still very important that you kill the fleas first on your pet before tackling your home environment.

Beaphar also offers a Flea Fumigator that is a smoke generator designed to get rid of fleas, flies and bed bugs in the home. For best results follow the instructions on the box and try to use it in the late afternoon, ensuring you and your pet leave the house for a minimum of 2 hours to stay protected against the smoking effects of the flea bomb. 

How quickly does flea treatment work?

When used according to the instructions on each treatment, most topical flea treatments work to kill fleas within 12 hours and eradicate 98% of fleas within 24 hours. Oral flea treatments have been known to work within 2-4 hours from ingestion. Both types of treatments, when used regularly, keep fleas at bay for up to 6 weeks. For consistent flea protection, we recommend using a flea treatment once per month.

Keep your pet flea-free this summer with the help of Direct4Pet

With our step-by-step guide to fleaing pets and our recommendations for the best flea treatments for you cats and dogs, you’re ready to tackle flea season. Browse through the full collection of flea, tick and worming treatments available here at Direct4Pet to protect your pet and keep persistent pests at bay.