Caitlin UltimoFlea & Tick / Health

How to Apply Spot-On Flea Treatments

You probably already know your pet can catch fleas through contact with other animals. But that’s not the only way pets can contract these pests.

Pets can also get fleas and ticks simply by being outside, where the pests can jump onto your pet as they play. A pet with fleas will scratch, have redness and may bleed. Flea bites on dogs and flea bites on cats can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet—causing itching and hair loss—and can sometimes lead to more serious side effects like high fevers, loss of appetite, pain, lethargy or depression. If your pet is allergic to flea bites, they can have a severe allergic reaction.

To detect fleas on your pet, look for “flea dirt”—which looks like specks of pepper scattered on the skin’s surface. The best places to spot fleas are on your pet’s belly and inner thighs.

If your pet is suffering from a flea infestation, there are several flea treatment options for you to consider. A popular flea treatment for dogs and cats is a spot-on treatment.

What Are Spot-on Flea Treatments?

Spot-on flea treatments can be applied in seconds, and provide month-long protection against blood-hungry parasites like fleas and ticks. A spot-on treatment is conveniently packaged in doses of liquid that can be applied by pouring the liquid onto your pet’s back, between the shoulders.

How to Apply Spot-on Treatments for Fleas and Ticks

When applying a spot-on treatment, it’s important to make your pet feel relaxed and comfortable. You don’t want to wrestle or struggle with your pet during application, because then they may associate the medicine with a traumatic experience. Once your pet is comfortable, apply the treatment directly to your pet’s skin, at the nape of the neck. You will likely need a larger dose for larger animals, with several spots along the back. Follow the directions on the package, and consult a veterinarian if you have any questions about the instructions.

“For application of spot-on treatments, I recommend to part the hair so that you can get all the way down to the skin,” says Angela Crudington, DVM at Plaza Del Amo Animal Hospital in Torrance, California. “Apply the spot-on treatment to the base of the neck area so that the pet cannot lick the product.”

Bathing your pet too soon after treatment can prevent absorption.

“Do not bathe your pet for at least two days after application, so that the product has enough time to absorb appropriately,” Crudington says.

If you have a multi-pet household, veterinarians recommend keeping treated pets apart for 24 hours while the spot-on treatment absorbs. Monitor your pet, and keep them from rolling around. Your pet will feel the treatment on their skin, and may want to rub it off, so it’s important to keep a watchful eye on them.

How Spot-On Flea and Tick Treatments Work

Once applied to your pet’s skin, the medication is carried through the circulatory system. Any flea or tick that bites your pet will ingest the pesticide. Some spot-on treatments work to prevent flea eggs from hatching, and some prevent development of existing parasites. Popular among pup parents, the K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for dogs offers a broad spectrum of flea control and protection—and fights against ticks and mosquitoes as well. K9 Advantix II repels and kills ticks of all types, including deer ticks, American dog ticks, brown dog ticks and Lone Star ticks.

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Treatment for small dogs and puppies is formulated for pups up to 22 pounds. In addition to fleas, the treatment kills ticks, including those that may transmit Lyme disease. If you own a larger breed, try K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for large dogs between 21-55 pounds.

Fleas on cats can be just as aggressive. Consider Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Treatment for your cats or kittens. Frontline Plus is formulated to kill both adult fleas and ticks, and next generation flea eggs and larvae. It contains two killing agents—fipronil and (S)-methoprene. Fipronil kills adult fleas and ticks, while (S)-methoprene attacks flea eggs and larvae. The cat flea and tick treatment works non-stop for 30 days on cats.

Spot-on Flea Treatment Cautions

While spot-on treatments are effective and safe if used correctly, they can cause side effects if not used properly. Consult your veterinarian prior to applying spot-on flea and tick treatments, and read accompanying literature to make sure you’re using the product correctly.

“Seek veterinary advice prior to application or use spot-on treatments, especially for pets who have seizures or skin sensitivities, as some treatments can cause these conditions to worsen,” Crudington says.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Spot-on flea and tick products can be effective treatments, and many people use the products with no harmful effects to their pets.” The EPA does not advise pet owners to stop using spot-on treatments, but asks them to use caution and make informed decisions when selecting treatment methods.

Posted By: Chewy Editorial