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How Do I Choose the Best Flea Drops?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The best flea drops will target the full life cycle of the flea, and will also protect animals against additional harmful insect predators in their environment. Fleas move through four phases of development which include egg, larva, pupa, and adult forms. At any given time, all four forms may be found living on an animal's skin and within its fur. Drops must be able to kill fleas in every phase of development to be completely effective. Animals that are prone to explore in overgrown, dense forested areas should also be treated with a medication that addresses the more common threat of ticks.

Pet owners who live in an area chronically infested by fleas will benefit from purchasing flea drops that are poisonous to the adult, juvenile, and egg forms of this insect. When animals are initially exposed to a colony, they are immediately infested with adult aged insects. These adults bite an animal's skin, irritating it through a chemical present in the saliva, and nest in the fur, laying eggs.

One adult female flea can leg as many as 20 eggs every day. Once a pet has become infested by fleas, more than 90% of the flea population living on the animal is comprised of eggs and juvenile aged insects. Only flea drops which are designed to target the full life cycle of the flea can adequately eliminate any insects already present as well as those that have yet to hatch.

Pets who frequent heavily wooded areas should be treated with flea drops that are also effective against a variety of tick species. Ticks typically inhabit the cooler, more densely grown areas of a forest. They come in contact with animals when they brush past tree branches and walk through tall grass. The tick can fix its head into the outer skin layer of a pet immediately and begin feeding on blood and transmitting any diseases it may carry, such as Lyme's disease, which is harmful to humans. Ticks that feed on animals treated with preventative medicines ingest the poison while feeding, causing them to die and fall off naturally.

The application of the flea drops should be given according to the manufacturer's directions for the weight of the animal being treated. Most brands sell individual applicator tubes of medication that are pre-measured and pre-packaged for each weight class. Pet owners of animals with thick, coarse hair may wish to purchase applicator tubes that are made with a pointed tip to facilitate placing the medicine directly on the animal's skin for complete absorption.

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