Flea Sprays – The Definitive Guide (And My Top 3 Picks For 2019)

Fleas! We all know about them, and we all dread them! We hate that they live by feeding on our pets, that they are difficult to kill and that they always seem to come back time and time again. It is exhausting, but I have some good news for you. In this article, I will help add another powerful weapon to your flea fighting arsenal; the flea spray.

  1. Are these sprays completely safe for your family and your pets?
  2. Are they very effective, and how long will it take to see results?
  3. Can you use a flea spray for the house (including furniture, etc.)?
  4. Review: My top 3 recommendations for the best flea sprays in 2019.
  5. Bonus: How to make your own natural spray for your home and pets.

Do these sprays pose any dangers for your family or pets?

Fleas are not just a source of annoyance or irritation. These horrible insects are officially described as a disease vector, something that can potentially carry and transmit an infectious pathogen to another host by feeding on its blood. Most commonly, flea allergy dermatitis affects many dogs and cats, and your poor fur baby can suffer inflammation and itchiness for several weeks. Your pets may suffer from hair loss due to biting and scratching, and due to the long-term stress that this causes, can even result in negative behavioral changes.

So with that in mind, the safety of a flea spray needs to be weighed up against the harm the flea can cause to your pets or family. Readily available, shop bought sprays may be viewed by many with concern, but advancements in research and increasing customer demands for less harmful solutions have resulted in far safer commercial products being produced. There are many effective sprays that when used correctly, are great for flea infestations and don’t pose any danger. Here are five things to keep in mind when using this method of flea control:

If you prefer to use natural products to attack a flea infestation, there are some great options that are both safe and cost-effective. In fact, I will show you how to make a DIY spray that is very effective at the end of this article. However, please remember that even natural products (e.g. essential oils) can be harmful to your pets if you use the wrong type or use to much of it in your remedy.

Some sprays, both chemical and natural solutions, may be perfectly safe for canines, but not for your felines. Your cat is far more sensitive as the liver metabolism of felines is very different from that of your pooch. Make sure that you read the labels carefully, and also note that certain products may advise against their usage around small, elderly or pregnant pets. Ask me if you are unsure!

Pesticide residue can remain in the home environment for several days after an area has been treated. Even if a spray is deemed safe for your dog or your cat, you may have sprayed large quantities in and around your home, which would overload on your pet’s metabolism. Exercise caution when spraying your home by keeping pets out of treated rooms, and by making sure that they are well ventilated.

Exposure to chemicals and even potent natural products can occur when residue is present on your pet’s fur. Young children love a doggie or kitty cuddle, so make sure that any product that you use is entirely dried before they are allowed to touch pets. Please also be cautious of small kids touching surfaces that has flea spray residue, especially if their fingers commonly end up in their mouth.

Some products claim that they are safe to use directly on your pet’s bodies, but should not be ingested by your pet. If you own cats, you will know that they often self-grooming, which can be a problem. Additionally, if you have two dogs, keep in mind that they often lick each other, which can be a major problem if this results in them ingesting potentially harmful ingredients.

The EPA provides a number of other safely tips that I recommend that you review. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Are they effective at getting rid of a flea problem quickly?

Yes, there are many commercial products on the market are fantastic and work very fast. The same can be said for many homemade flea sprays which usually – with a few exceptions – works on the principle of repelling the fleas. Fleas can only produce eggs after a blood meal, so if this is denied them, the flea cycle will be broken.

Most commercially produced sprays are designed to kill fleas on contact, but generally, only about 5% of their population are matured adults, while 95% are still in the developmental stage (eggs, larvae, and pupae). These immature fleas may be present in a seemingly flea-free environment, only to emerge at a later stage to infest your home or yard again.

With that in mind, all stages of the life cycle of the flea must be targeted to ensure the complete elimination of an infestation. Even if you are using a spray that contains an IGR (more on this in the next section), you still need to take a multi-targeted approach, namely by treating your pets, home and yard at around the same time.

How do flea sprays work, and will they keep them away?

Picture of a kitty cat that you can spray for fleasThe active ingredients in insecticide based flea sprays are usually neurotoxins, which upset the nervous system of the insect, which results in their rather quick demise. They often contain growth inhibitors (IGR), which prevent the eggs and larvae that are not killed from developing any further, thus breaking the life cycle.

For homemade variations, the active ingredients are usually things like essential oils, vinegar and even water mixed with baking soda, regular table salt or diatomaceous earth. These do have killing power (just read the linked articles to see for yourself), but for the most part, are very effective at keeping fleas away from the areas where they are used.

Although most insecticide sprays can keep fleas away for a very long time, I personally prefer using a homemade spray (with specific ingredients that repel fleas) as a preventative measure. This is due to being able to re-apply it whenever I need to (within reason of course) and not worry about toxic load on my pets or in my home. It is a little more work, but really enjoy using natural pest control solutions.

Can I use a flea spray for the house and my furnishings?

As I have already mentioned, most of the time you need to do more than just treating your pet for fleas. You really must open your attack to include the whole house and the yard if possible (beneficial nematodes is a fantastic option here). Some sprays have been developed for use not only on your floors and carpets but also for your drapes and furniture. For example, Enforcer flea spray can be applied to carpets and furniture and is both powerful and affordable. It lasts for up to seven months, which should be long enough to break the life cycle of fleas in most cases.

Other products like Vet’s Best and Wondercide Natural Flea and Tick Control contain more natural ingredients. This will appeal to those of you who would like to stick to a more natural approach but do not have the time and patience to follow a homemade regime that might take longer to get those critters under control. Depending on where you live, this product is also pretty affordable.

For the earth children out there, using a simple spray of 50% vinegar and 50% water won’t cause any damage and is safe for everyone in the family, including the pets. This concoction works as an excellent repellent, and fleas will make a hasty retreat when they smell it. When using a cheap, simple spray like this, you need to spray your home regularly – at least once a week during high risk, hot months. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly for humans but will keep those critters away for 4-6 days afterwards.

PRO TIP: Before you apply anything to your furnishings or your carpets, I recommend that you spray the product on a little test area first. Although it was a few isolated incidents, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting several unsightly marks on certain color fabrics in the past (especially if it is very thin), and I don’t want you to damage any of your belongings.

My review of the most effective commercial sprays in 2019

So war is declared! What is going to be your weapon of choice? We all have preferences as to the type of product that appeals to us. Products that are natural and organic may be the only solution for you, while others might want to bring out the big guns, even if they contain chemicals. Both approaches are perfectly fine (provided you use them responsibly), so don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

However, I’m sure that you will agree that the most important criteria have to be safety, for our pets and our families. With that in mind, here are my personal picks. If you have any recommendations of your own, I would love to hear them in the comments section.

Recommended: Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Control For Pets and Home: It’s naturally derived and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. It’s active ingredients consist of cedar oil, sodium lauryl sulfate (coconut derived), lemongrass oil and sesame oil. It not only kills fleas on contact, but also destroys flea eggs and larvae.

Additional Information: It lasts for a decent amount of time and treatment only needs to be repeated every four to six weeks. It can be used on dogs and cats and is safe to use around children. It also contains no pyrethrins or pyrethroids. It also has excellent reviews, and many of their happy customers have confirmed that it works very quickly. The only negative is that the smell can be a bit overpowering, but their new formula is a lot better.

Second Place: Vets Best Flea and Tick Spray: It also uses plant-based ingredients – peppermint oil and eugenol oil (clove). This product has an excellent track record of being available for over thirty years. It also kills fleas on contact and leaves no stains if it is sprayed onto fabrics, which is excellent for use in the house.

Additional Information: Wipes are available which contain the same ingredients, which you can use on your pets face. This spray needs to be re-applied regularly to break the flea life cycle, which means you will need to repeat the process every week for at least three weeks. This product contains peppermint oil, which can cause irritation to sensitive pets and humans, so use sparingly around cats and always follow the directions carefully.

Third Place: Adams Plus Flea and Tick spray: If you are looking for a heavy hitter, and don’t have a problem with using chemical ingredients, this one is for you. It kills fleas very fast, contains an insect growth regular and has very good reviews. However, please follow the instructions for use to the letter.

Additional Information:This is not a natural product and needs to be handled with even more care than my first and second choices. Repeated exposure to one of its main ingredients (Etofenprox) can cause skin irritation and excessive salivation in cats. Despite all this, it is a very good product and achieves its primary goal of helping you deal with a flea infestation in a very short amount of time, which is exactly what many people are looking for.

Bonus – How to make your own natural flea spray for your dog, cat and home

Who doesn’t want to save some hard earned cash and have the satisfaction of making a completely natural flea spray with ingredients that are probably in your cupboard at home already? Even if you have to go to a local shop to pick up some items, the entire process won’t take you long, and you will have a completely safe spray to use against those nasty little insects.

But do they work? Yes, having used these homemade sprays myself, I can vouch for their effectiveness. Your pups, kitties, and home will need regular treatment, especially during high-risk seasons for fleas, but if you keep up with your spraying regime, you will have good results.

Picture of making a homemade spray for a petYour dogs: You will need a spray bottle, tree tea oil, citronella oil, and eucalyptus oil. Mix five drops each of these essential oils into a cup of water and pour it into the bottle. Spray your dog from the neck down, and use a little sponge to apply to the face. Repeat once a week or keep it up until the fleas have completely disappeared.

Your cats: Get yourself a spray bottle, two drops of lavender oil and rosemary oil, 1 teaspoon of neem oil, and third of a cup of coconut oil. Mix it all with a cup of water, and then put that into your bottle. The application is similar to your dog, spray it from the neck downwards, avoid the face and repeat the process every week.

Your home: Find a spray bottle, five or six lemons, a handful of rosemary and 1 tbps of geranium oil. Slice up the lemons and put them into a pot of preheated water (about 33oz) with the other ingredients. After this seeps overnight, strain the mixture put it into your bottle, which you can then use to spray your carpets, couches, etc. around your home.

PRO TIP: I recommend that you give your doggy a bath using dawn soap before applying this spray. I recommend that you read my article on this, but in a nutshell, provided you make sure that you foam it up nicely, this will kill fleas on contact and gets rid of all the flea dirt. Once he is all nice and dry, follow the steps above and enjoy a flea free pooch.

PRO TIP: I highly recommend that you always test each homemade recipe in a small spot (e.g. on your cat’s leg, or the bottom section of your favorite couch) before using it everywhere. Even though we are using non-chemical ingredients, there is always the small possibility that your pet may have an adverse reaction to it, or it may leave a mark on your specific fabric/color combination.

In conclusion

Flea sprays are a powerful solution for flea control, and you have a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing various products. Although most brands will kill fleas, your goal should be to choose ones that don’t endanger or compromise your pets or family’s health. This warning also applies to homemade solutions, you must be careful with various ingredients like essential oils, especially around cats.

However, provided you follow the instructions carefully and if you are making one yourself, get a recipe from a trusted source (such as this blog), they will help you get rid of fleas nice and quickly. Thank you for reading this article, and if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson

Hello! My name is Natasha Anderson and I have been helping people with their pest control issues since 2012. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below (or contact me up on social media) and I will respond within 48 hours (even for older articles). Please note that these articles are for informational use only, please seek help from a local professional if you have a serious situation. If you want to support my work, please share this article on social media.

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