Tips for Applying Flea Medication

More than likely you keep your pet on a monthly flea and tick prevention routine. Contrary to what many owners think, even indoor pets need to be placed on a preventative routine. Even if your pet hates to sit still, applying flea medication is not too difficult. How, when, and where you apply the medication can make a difference in its effectiveness. Here are a few tips for veterinary prescribed flea and tick medication.

Before you give any type of medication to your pet, make sure you read and follow the directions carefully! If your pet is sick, has a weakened immune system, or is pregnant, then you should check with your veterinarian before you apply the medicine. Even monthly preventatives may not be safe for pets with weakened immune systems. If, for some reason, your vet is not available, then call the manufacturer of the product. Check out the label on the box to find contact information. This leads me to another important point: don’t separate the medication from the label or the box. Many pet owners will buy a six month supply of flea medication, so that they don’t have to return to the vet’s office every month. This is perfectly fine! However, keep the entire supply inside the box. That way, if an emergency situation arises (or if you have a question), you can refer to the label.

It’s up to you where you choose to get your flea medication. If you buy the medication over-the-counter or outside of your normal veterinarian’s office, then it’s a good idea to talk to your vet before you apply the medicine. Certain products may not be suitable for specific animals, and the size and weight of your animal may be an issue.

Now, if you are applying flea medication to a cat, your best bet is to apply the drops on the back of the cat’s neck, preferably between the shoulder blades. Most cats hate anything and everything that touches their fur, especially when they can’t control it or get rid of it (think about how much they groom themselves!). If the drops are placed in an area easily reached by your cat, then you can be sure she will lick the spot dry within a few minutes. Lucky for you, she can’t reach the area between her shoulder blades. If you have more than one cat, it’s a good idea to apply the drops at the same time but keep the cats separated until the liquid has a chance to soak in. Otherwise, they may try to lick the medication off of each other! Applying flea medication on a dog is somewhat easier than applying it on a cat; normally, dogs won’t worry about getting the medication off their fur. However, a dog may roll around and play more than a cat. And, if the drops haven’t had time to soak in before they are rubbed away, they may not live up to their full effectiveness. Try to give your dog flea medication right before bedtime. That way, he is less likely to go outside and roll in the grass. You can either apply it to the base of his neck (like a cat), or you can apply it to the center of his back. Read the label on your particular medication to see what the manufacturer recommends.

If you are following all the instructions and are still having problems with fleas, then you may need to go a step further than your pet. Check your yard and your house for flea infestations. After you apply the medication, vacuum your entire home to lessen the fleas. Speak with your vet about other flea-killing remedies you can use around your home. Then, talk to a pest control company about lawn treatment.

Flea medicine application is simple; it’s not an activity that requires the help of a veterinarian. Always read the label before you apply the medication, especially if your pet is feeling under the weather. Place the flea drops on an area of the fur that is impossible for the pet to reach. Keep cats separated until the drops dry, and keep dogs from rubbing the liquid off. If fleas are still present, then you may have to treat your home and lawn for an infestation.


  1. Do not put on back of head. My cat shook her head and a lot of the medication flew off. Put between shoulder blades on the back.

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