What Are the Best Topical Flea Treatments for Dogs and Cats?

Updated on July 22, 2019
Kaitlin N-M Bell profile image

Kaitlin is an animal lover who puts lots of research into pet-related products.

Sentry Natural Defense contains no chemicals.
Sentry Natural Defense contains no chemicals. | Source

As all owners know, it is important to keep our pets healthy and safe. In this article, I have made a list of topical flea treatments for your use in deciding the best product for your pet. However, you may notice that I did not include prices in my list. This is because prices vary between locations. Only products that can be found at Petco, Petsmart, and Walmart are included.

Note: I have done my best to make the table as little as possible, so many words are abbreviated or missing entirely. A legend is included below the table.

Flea Product Table

(click column header to sort results)
F T Mo
No D; ? C
Egg/Larv; 8day reapply D
Advantage 2
F (L D)
7wk D; 8wk C
No bite; Egg/Larv
Advantix 2 (D)
F Mo (T L limit)
Pet Armor
F T L (Mo D)
Yes breed
No expire D
Pet Balance
F T L Mo
12wk D; 8wk/1.5lb C
Bath C
No D; Yes C
Eggs/Larv; 3wk reapply D; F6wk C; 30day reapply C
Bio Spot
F T Mo
Egg/Larv; No expire; Edible
Certifect (D)
F T L Mi
Yes breed
Egg/Larv; F3month
Dog MD (D)
No bite; No expire
Hartz First Defense
8wk; 3lb C
Yes breed D; No C
Hartz Ultraguard Pro
F T Mo
12wk; 5lb D
No C
Parastar (D)
F T L Mi
Yes breed
F T Mo
Reapply; Mixable; Edible
Vet Guard+
F T L Mo (Mi D)
12wk/5lb D; 8wk C
Water C
No D; No other C
No bite; Egg/Larvae; 3wk reapply
F T Mo (Dog and Cat+)
Egg; No expire; Edible
Parastar+ (D)
F T L Mi
I hope this table assists you in choosing the right prevention for your pet!

Legend and Notes

The "+" sign stands for Plus, obviously. I haven't included the entire name of every product in the table. I abbreviated dog, cat, flea, tick, lice, mite, mosquito, and week with the letters D, C, F, T, L, Mi, Mo, and wk respectively.

"?" means I could not find information on the subject on their websites. If you wish to know this information, you will have to consult with buyers on public forums.

Under the Name row, products followed by (D) mean they only treat dogs. Otherwise, the product can treat dogs and cats. You may notice some products are listed more than once with a different extension. This is because different versions of the same product may do different things and I found more than one version to be beneficial.

Under the Pest row, products with () indicate whether an additional pest is treated under a different version of the product or a different species. Advantix has "T L limit" because its ingredients don't fully protect pets from ticks and lice.

Some products listed age and weight minimums on their websites. D or C indicates if the age and/or weight applies to a certain species.

Most products claim to be waterproof but some people need to bathe their pet more than once a month. Under the Proofs row, I have listed whether a product is water or bath proof. But please note that bath proof doesn't necessarily mean detergent proof. D or C indicates if the proof applies to a certain species.

The Safe row addresses what type of conditions are safe to have the product applied to. The following conditions apply: sick, old, overweight, medicated, breeding, nursing, and pregnant animals. "Yes" means the product is safe in all cases; "No" means it isn't. "Yes/No breed" means the safety applies to nursing, pregnant, and breeding pets. "Yes/No other" means whether the safety applies to sick, old, and overweight pets. Any missing information, again, means it was not stated on the product website. D or C indicates if the safety applies to a certain species.

The Notes row lists the special features of a product. Egg/Larv means that the product kills/inhibits additional life stages of fleas/ticks. "No expire" obviously means the product does not expire, but it is recommended to use the product before it's two years old for best results. Some products are relatively safe if ingested and are indicated by the word "edible". Some products have ingredients that don't require your pet to be bitten to work. Consider "no bite" products if you know your pet has an allergy to fleas/ticks.

Sentry Natural Defense claims their products can be used at the same time without causing injury to your pet, unless they are allergic to any of the ingredients. Some products can be reapplied in cases of extreme infestation or product impotence. In the Notes row, I have indicated the minimum time needed between reapplications for your pet's safety. Adams is the only product I found in this list that said not to reapply more than once a month. D or C indicates if the note applies to a certain species.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2014 Kaitlin N-M Bell


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