If you want to get rid of fleas, you have a number of strategies you can follow. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of commercially available products whose sole purpose is to get rid of fleas. The biggest issue is finding out which methods and products work the best and cost the least. Your job is to get rid of the fleas for good, and in the most cost effective manner. That is why you’re here. You want to get rid of fleas.
You’ve come to the right place. As an owner of two dogs in a state with an abundance of fleas, I have faced the same issues you are. I’ve tried it all: shampoos, bug bombs, carpet powders, dryer sheets, commercial dog flea medications, and countless other methods. I plan to review each method in detail, providing concise and objective reviews and cost-to-benefit analysis of each method I have tried to get rid of fleas.
Get Rid of Fleas – A Quick Synopsis
The problem people encounter in getting rid of fleas is isolation. If you only eliminate one source of the flea problem, the fleas will keep finding their way back into your life. To completely get rid of fleas, you need to cut off all entry points of fleas. If you have two dogs and a cat, and only treat the dogs, the cat will likely still be a flea carrier. If you only attempt to get rid of fleas halfheartedly, you probably won’t succeed.
The second biggest problem with flea elimination is the constant marketing efforts from companies drooling over your hard earned money. (Get it?) There is typically an assumption that because a product costs more, it will work better. This is not true. I have found that some of the cheaper, old fashioned methods are most effective in treating fleas. The most important factor to consider once again, is the execution of your plan to get rid of fleas. You can spend all of the money in the world, but if you only treat 2 out of 5 sources of fleas, you won’t really get rid of fleas.
Finally, the largest issue you should worry about is safety. In every review, the risks will be disclosed. Your ultimate goal is not to get rid of your flea problem, it is to get rid of your flea problem safely. Your pets are a member of the family, so their safety should be more important than killing every single flea. If your pet has any existing conditions, has a change in behavior after treatment, or has symptoms such as vomiting or persistent diarrhea, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. There is a full list of symptoms to watch for on manufacturer’s websites, but it will also be provided in the product review area, just to ensure your pet doesn’t get sick while you are trying to get rid of fleas, for good.
With the record hot summer this year and there also being the Midwest drought, I figured to update the site on new ways to get rid of fleas.
How to Get Rid of Fleas – Organically
While I was speaking to someone at the dog park recently, they had a unique, organic way on how to get rid of fleas– Diatomaceous Earth. What? It is hard enough to say, and it seems like it could be a dangerous chemical; but Diatomaceous Earth is actually a food grade powder that is finely ground prehistoric algae. But wait, how does algae kill fleas? According to RichSoil.com, Diatomaceous Earth (I’m calling it DE from now on to save time) features a crystalline structure, similar to glass, that has razor sharp microscopic edges. When a flea, ant, or other insect walks, jumps, or crawls through the DE, it gets into their crevices and punctures their skin, causing them to dry up and die.
I bought a 20lb bag of DE at Tractor Supply for $13, and proceeded to treat the back yard with it. It is a very fine powder that is relatively easy to apply as long as it isn’t windy outside. I applied it rather liberally, coating bushes, trees, and the entire yard, roughly 800 square feet with one bag. I chose not to apply the DE to the interior of the house, but you can sprinkle it on the carpet and hardwood floors, allowing it to sit for an hour or so, then vacuum it up. Since there isn’t an issue with fleas in the carpet, I chose to address the flea situation outside. If you do use DE inside, don’t worry too much about the safety issue, as long as you get food grade DE, it won’t hurt you or your pets unless consumed in large quantities. This means if you have a known flea corridor located, you can simply put down some DE and leave it, and any pest that tries to cross that route, will get killed in the process. (From my research, it typically takes less than an hour from initial contact with DE for the flea/insect to die.)
DE does have its drawbacks, though. Because the fleas, or insects, must move/step in the DE powder, it is only effective on adult fleas, so it won’t kill flea larvae or pupae, or the eggs. You can get rid of fleas in those stages by bathing your pet with a recommended soap and vacuuming any suspect areas. In addition to the stage limitations, DE’s biggest drawback is the fact water renders it virtually useless. So in situations such as this summer, when there have been stretches of no rain for 2+ weeks, DE is a cost effective, SAFE way to eliminate not just fleas, but also other types of insects in your yard and house.
How to Get Rid of Fleas – For Free/Cheap?
I’m always weary of marketing claims and suspect of organizations’ profit motives, so I’m highly interested in free ways to get rid of fleas. There are a number of methods to test, but their efficacy may be limited, due to the size of your infestation or even the quality of the method.
Homemade Flea Trap: Fill a plate with soapy water, and put it directly underneath of a light bulb, ideally less than 18″ away. Fleas are drawn to light, so they will jump towards the light, and the soap in the water will prevent them from escaping, so they will drown.
Vacuuming: The easiest, and best way to get rid of fleas in all stages of their life. Vacuum, then change out the bag on the vacuum cleaner, so the flea eggs can’t hatch in the bag.
Citrus Treatment: I haven’t personally tested this method, but folklore says that mixing citrus, such as a lime or lemon, with boiling water, then using a spray bottle to treat the flea-friendly areas will eliminate fleas. While I love the smell of lemon, this seems like a messy way to get rid of fleas, not even factoring in its efficacy.
With so many brands and methods of flea control on the market, you’re probably scratching your head wondering which product works best at getting rid and keeping fleas off of your pets.
Price (Medium Dog Dosage)
Price Per Treatment
As you can see, Advantage is far and away the cheapest flea treatment, coming in at over 40% less than both Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix. Also notice that the average user rating for Advantage ties that of the most expensive Frontline Plus, and both Advantage and Frontline Plus receive much more favorable ratings than K9 Advantix.
A sample Advantage review, courtesy of Amazon.com
“I’ve been happily using these types of flea medications for 10 years. BUT, I’d given up over the last two years on Advantage and Frontline. They both seemed to have NO EFFECT. Maybe the fleas in my area had become immune? I tried the others from the local big box store, they didn’t work either.I thought I’d try this “advantage II”, maybe Bayer had changed the forumulation?
To my surprise – it worked great! I have two 60 lb dogs (shepherd and golden retriever) who were miserable this summer, as was I, because neither my Shepherd nor I enjoyed weekly baths to try to control the fleas.
This stuff is magic.
No more fleas on my pets or in my carpets.”
A sample Frontline review, courtesy of Amazon.com
I have two 50lb beagle pound mutts that have been on Frontline Plus for the past 5 years. In those 5 years, they have never had fleas and ticks that they have picked up outside are found dead in their pet beds later that same day. I think that this product works as advertised and only wish it was less expensive.Pros:
Works as advertised
Doesn’t repel ticks, kills them after they are already on the dogs.
A sample K9 Advantix review, courtesy of Amazon.com
I used this item based on my vet’s recommendation and saw first hand that it does not work well, if at all. One of the biggest draws for me to this product is that it states that it repels mosquitoes.I applied K9 Advantix to my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon pup 4 days prior to heading out to the country on vacation. The first evening when the mosquito’s cam out I was excited to see this stuff in action, but was let down to see mosquitoes land on and actually fill with blood from my pup. Next we head out to the area that I hope to hunt this dog when she is old enough. We spend the day tromping through hay fields and forest. Later that evening I notice a tick attached and engorging on her forehead. I am now home form vacation for a week and I notice a few very tiny fleas crawling around on my pup’s belly. All of this happened within 14 days of applying K9 Advantix. This product did not work for me.
When I was on this vacation, I did stop in to the local to have the tick removed. Since I haven’t dealt with tick removal before, I was willing to pay to have this done and learn the proper way to do it. During this visit, the country vet told me that from his personal experience Advantix does not work well and recommends Frontline Plus.
My Personal Experiences
I have had pretty good luck with Frontline Plus, so I haven’t bothered testing the others. K9 Advantix appears to be the most questionable of these treatments, and Advantage is not only the most economical, but also ties for being the most effective.