Most people with pets have been faced with the decision of just how to choose the best flea spray for their pet at one time or another. There are many types of flea sprays on the market and all they have some general similarities but also key differences in how they work. Before describing how the different sprays for fleas work, however, it will help to understand the flea life cycle and how different sprays affect it.
The flea goes through four stages in its life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult fleas make up only 5% of the entire flea population and the other three stages (referred to collectively as the immature stages) make up the other 95%. Of the immature stages, eggs comprise 50% of the total with pupae and larvae making up the rest equally. Adult fleas are the only stage seen with the naked eye; the immature stages are microscopic.
An adult female flea can lay 40-50 eggs per day, often in the fur of your pet, and she can live up to two weeks in ideal conditions. The eggs fall off the pet and onto every area where the pet spends time such as beds, furniture, carpets, lawns, kennels, and the like. Within a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae hide deep in the fibers of carpets and furniture as well as in crawlspaces or under organic material in a kennel because they shun light and heat. The larvae form a cocoon and pupate for several weeks, then emerge as adults and the entire process repeats itself. Because eggs comprise the majority of the entire flea infestation and so many can be laid in a short amount of time, it can be incredibly challenging for owners to rid their homes and pets of fleas completely.
Most types of flea spray are made to kill adult fleas and these sprays can be used both on the pet and in the home. The ingredients in these sprays are known as pesticides and are generally safe, though you should always read the instructions carefully. Cats can be particularly sensitive to certain pesticides, especially pyrethrins and permethrins, and any animal can have an individual sensitivity to any flea control on the market. Flea spray for house use and for the pet may contain the same pesticide but those for the home have a much higher concentration of active ingredients and should never be used directly on an animal.
Sprays that only kill adult fleas are acceptable for use in situations where only a few fleas are seen but they are not the best choice when dealing with a significant flea problem. This is because these sprays only target the adults and any eggs that were laid before the female fleas died will continue to hatch and carry on the life cycle. In addition, most commercial sprays for fleas do not last very long on the pet, requiring repeat applications every few days. This becomes not only time consuming but expensive, and you and your pet both may quickly tire of the continual odor of pesticide in your home.
Frontline flea spray offers the excellent solution of not only killing adult fleas but it prevents the eggs from hatching. This is an great choice for heavy flea infestations as well as for those pet owners who want a more complete flea control product regardless of infestation volume. This brand can last up to 30 days per application and is water- resistant. It can be pricey, however, and is only available at your pet’s veterinary clinic or higher-end pet stores.
Flea and tick spray usually contains the same active ingredients as sprays for fleas because the same pesticides that kill and control fleas will also kill and control ticks. Whether you are spraying for fleas, ticks, or both, ensure that your pet does not lick the spray off his fur and keep her away from treated areas of the house or yard until completely dried. All sprays work best when the area being treated is cleaned first and this applies to the pet as well as the home or yard.
The best flea control product for you depends on how much time and money you are willing to invest as well as how severe the infestation is. Treat all exposed animals, clean your home and yard the best you can, and with a little money and a lot of patience, you should be able to get rid of fleas at long last.