How Effective Are Topical Flea and Tick Treatment for Pets?

As a concerned pet owner, your might be anxious about the best flea and tick treatment for your pets.  As you know, fleas and ticks are hard to control and it requires an integrated pest management to remove them from your environment. 

Topical Flea and Tick Treatment for dog

Topical Flea and Tick Treatment for dog

As fleas and ticks are bloodsucking ectoparasites, (insects living on the surface of pet skins) they require application of topical flea and tick treatment.  In absence of any foolproof data and research backed by evidence for use of oral and traditional remedies (salt, borax, baking soda, etc.), we will concentrate on topical flea and tick treatment generally preferred by pet owners.

It becomes harder to choose from hundreds of flea and tick control treatment available in pet stores, with your vet or online.  The confusion may prevail because of…

  • Products often have similar sounding names but with different ingredients.
  • Some products are available over the counter while many are available only against valid prescriptions.
  • Some work against adult fleas, some against all stages of fleas and some against fleas but not ticks.
  • You may find conflicting views about the pros and cons of a particular treatment in print and digital media.
  • Some treatments have serious adverse effects.

So the question is – how effective are topical flea and tick treatment?

It may be hard to reach a reasoned judgement. The efficacy of topical treatments depends on a number of factors – age, gender, breed, species and medical history of your pets as well as home environment and weather conditions. While a particular treatment may work perfectly on one breed, it may play havoc with another breed prone to allergies.

So what is the answer?

The answer is simple. The only method is through trial and error.  Are we suggesting that you do experimentation with your pets and let them suffer? Not the least.  Rest assured that topical spot-on treatments pass through a variety of laboratory tests before release in the market.  Manufacturers require a number of licenses and government authorizations.

The best flea and tick treatment should be the one that works best for your pets. We suggest you try one product for sufficient period and keep detailed records.  If you could not find results, switch to another product.

Two sound advices in the end: 1) very carefully read the product description label.  It should mention all side effects and contra-indications; and 2) always consult your vet, as she/he is the best person to advice you.