As we previously discussed, flea and tick populations are on the rise. Climate change has created ever-more hospitable conditions for pests to proliferate. If you’re an animal lover, this means taking increased precautions to keep biting bugs from attacking your precious pet.
In addition to applying preventative measures, you’ll need something on hand in case an infestation is already underway. While it’s true that the topical solutions will kill fleas and ticks on your dog, something a little more versatile may be called for when trying to treat your whole house. You could call an exterminator, or set a fogger bomb, but there is another option.
Much like spray insecticide for outside use, flea sprays kill fleas, ticks, and mites on contact or contains ingredients that repel them. Unlike spray insecticide, however, many flea sprays are meant for use both on the surfaces of your home and directly on your dog. This means that you can provide instant relief to an itchy dog and then use that same bottle to rid your carpets, rugs, and upholstery of eggs, larvae, and adults. Some sprays are like a flea bath for your whole home, while others are strictly for use on the dog.
To help you fight the war on fleas and ticks, we’ve put together a list of the top five best dog flea sprays.
1. Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
This spray covers all the bases. It kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on contact and repels mosquitoes. The key ingredients to this spray are all-natural peppermint oil and clove extract, which means its safe to use around your animals and your kids. It contains no permethrin, so it’s safe to use in a household with cats. For animals over 12 weeks old, spray and massage into the entire coat, repeating as necessary to kill any pests feasting on your dog. This handy spray is safe for all surfaces of your house. Choose this one if you need a natural solution that doesn’t rely on serious chemicals to get the job done.
Price: $9.49 for 32 ounces
- Safe, natural ingredients
- Kills on contact
- Won’t stain
- For use on dogs and household surfaces
- Smell may deter some cats from bedding
- Strong scent (though most describe it as pleasant)
- Some users reported limited effectiveness
2. Frontline Flea and Tick Treatment Dog/Cat Spray
Like the standard topical treatment, this spray bottle version of Frontline uses fiprinol to kill fleas and ticks. This is essentially a spray version of the dosage normally found in tubes, but some users report that this packaging works as a spot treatment and can be very cost effective. While the bottle price is quite a bit more than the others on this list, Frontline is a proven product that many trust to keep control pests. Go with this one if you already trust the Frontline name and don’t need to treat bedding or home fixtures.
Price: $34.99 for 8.5 ounces
- Reliable performance as with Frontline Plus
- Can be less expensive than the normal dosing
- Safe for cats and dogs
- Works for 30 days
- Not effective on bedding, rugs, or furniture
- Doesn’t offer another layer of protection in addition to topical treatments
- Doesn’t kill on contact
3. Virbac Knockout E.S. Flea/Tick Spray
Opposite the Frontline above, this product is not meant for use on animals. This is a heavy-duty spray intended to destroy infestations. If you’ve been struggling with fleas for some time, this might be the solution for you. This is considered an area treatment and is more akin to a can of Raid than the other products on this list. The manufacturer claims that one can is enough to treat 2,100 square feet of space, and prevent the return of ticks for seven months. If you have a cat, though, be warned: this product contains permethrin, which can be lethal to cats. If you’re very careful in your application and your cat never ingests any, it may be fine, but we wouldn’t risk it. This option is for dog-only homes with stubborn flea populations.
Price: $14.99 for 16 ounces (25 percent off MSRP)
- Advanced solution for serious infestations
- Works for seven months
- Does not stain
- No unpleasant odor
- Not for use directly on animals
- Contains permethrin, which is lethal to cats
- Not a natural solution
- Claim of 2,100 square feet of coverage may be generous
4. Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs
Like the Vet’s Best, this product can be sprayed directly on dogs or on furniture. It immediately kills, fleas, flea eggs and larvae, and ticks, while also repelling mosquitoes. It differs from Vet’s Best in that this uses chemical formulations instead of natural oils, which might contribute to better performance but also could be a concern for some buyers. This version of the product removes the permethrin, which means it can be used on both cats and dogs, if you have a mixed household. A few reviews noted that the recommended dosage seems high, so read the instructions and use your best judgement when treating your pet. This is a good all-purpose solution that should get the job done.
Price: $17.09 for 32 ounces
- Kills on contact
- For use on animals and upholstery
- Works for two months
- Repels mosquitoes
- Not a natural product
- Strong smell
- Somewhat oily texture
- New formulation removes permethrin (safer for cats, but could be less effective)
5. Dr. GreenPet All Natural Flea and Tick Spray
If an all-natural product is important to you, consider this option. It’s formulated especially as a repellent using cedar, clove, peppermint, and cinnamon oils to drive off fleas and ticks. This is certainly a safe alternative for your dog and for anyone else who may be living in your home. Since it’s billed to repel, we’re not sure it’s the best choice for knocking down an infestation, so choose this for its natural ingredients rather than its killing power.
Price: $19.97 for 32 ounces
- All natural
- Nice scent
- Can be used on both dogs and furniture
- Kills on contact
- May not be as effective as others
- Some reports of staining light-colored dogs
- Possibly better as a repellent
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