Top Flea Products
Killing fleas requires some knowledge of their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Out of those 4 stages, only the adult stage is found on your pet. The other stages are usually hidden in some cool, dark nook or crevice of your house. Not to mention, pupated fleas (fleas in cocoons) are resistant to insecticides and desiccation (drying out). Consequently, most flea infestation treatments target adult fleas.
Adult fleas live on the host (your dog or cat), which makes them easy to find. Therefore, most treatments are directed at the host (usually as a topical liquid or as an ingested tablet). The top flea killers use both an adulticide and a compound to prevent egg or larvae development (ovicides, insect growth regulators, or insect development inhibitors). This allows the top flea killing products to kill the existing adult fleas and prevent the developing fleas from becoming adults. Regardless of how they work, the flea life cycle is stopped there.
The major drugs used in top flea control methods include: fipronil (Frontline), imidocloprid (Advantage), selamectin (Revolution), spinosad (Comfortis), milbemycin oxime/lufenuron (Sentinel), and nitepyram (Capstar). Frontline is a topical flea killer approved for dogs and cats 8 weeks of age and older. It kills adult fleas, ticks, and some mites and lice. A related product, Frontline Plus, contains the additional compound S-Methoprene, an insect growth regulator, that kills flea eggs and flea larvae as well. Advantage is a topical flea killer approved for dogs and cats 7 weeks of age and older. It kills adult fleas, flea larvae, and some lice. Other related products such as K9 Advantix and Advantage Multi are effective against ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, heart worms, and intestinal parasites. Revolution is a topical flea killer approved for dogs 6 weeks of age or older and cats 8 weeks of age or older. It kills adult fleas, heartworms, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, and some ticks, and prevents flea eggs from hatching. Comfortis is an oral flea killer that comes as a chewable flavored tablet. It is approved for dogs 14 weeks of age or older. It kills adult fleas only. Sentinel is an oral flavored tab that is approved for dogs 4 weeks of age or older. It prevents flea egg and larvae development, and kills heartworms and some intestinal parasites. Capstar is an oral flea killer approved for dogs and cats 4 weeks of age or older. An important note is that it does not have continuing action like the other products mentioned here.
Other drugs that can be used as part of an effective flea control program (likely used in conjunction with some of the top flea killer/control methods above) include: carbaryl, chlorfenvinphos, chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, fipronil, imidocloprid, phosmet, propoxur, pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and insect growth regulators (such as methoprene and lufenuron). These compounds can be found in stores as flea sprays, flea dips, flea dab-ons, flea collars, etc. Caution needs to be used when applying these products to your pets. It is extremely important to read the labels carefully and to use the products exactly as directed on the species they are intended for.