It is actually mysterious how such small things can cause great harm. The same is the case when it comes to
ticks and fleas. Flea bites are no fun for dogs and considered a serious health concern. Thus, it is
important to take measures to protect your pets from these.
You might have heard about prescription or nonprescription flea pills for dogs and cats. Are they
effective? The answer is yes!
Vets consider flea medicines a great solution for your pets if you live in a place where insects are
common. However, you might be wondering about one among the so many options available for you.
To help you with this, we have listed some top-rated pills that you can use to prevent your pet from such
parasites. Read this blog and choose the most suitable one for your dog pet now.
What are Flea Pills?
Flea pills are a kind of oral insecticide to help you treat, control, and prevent flea bites in dogs. There
are many types of flea pills prescribed by vets. Each one has a distinct chemical active ingredient to
target fleas uniquely.
Some pills specifically kill adult fleas while others may kill larvae. However, some medications can limit
the flea’s ability to lay eyes.
It is essential to know which pill will target which part of the flea cycle. Therefore, make sure you
consult with your veterinarian before buying one. He knows about the different options and will guide you
about the potential side effects. Using cheap flea pills for dogs without a vet prescription can be
dangerous and harmful for your dog.
Furthermore, the type of flea pills that is best for your pet dog’s health depends on your situation. If
you are searching for a monthly oral medicine, then a fast-acting pill that stays in the dog’s body for a
few days may not be an option for you. Instead, it can be used if the dog is having flea allergy dermatitis.
Best Flea and Tick Pills for Dogs - 2022
The following is a list of the ten best flea pills for your dog pet.
1. Bayer K9 Advantix II
It is the best flea pills for dogs and comes in an application tube administered once a month. It
starts working in 12 hours and lasts for 30 days.
This medication protects your pets against lice, ticks, flies, mosquitos, and fleas. Moreover, it is
available for both large and small dogs but cannot be used on cats.
The active ingredients include permethrin, imidacloprid, and pyriproxyfen.
- It kills fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
- The product becomes waterproof after 24 hours allowing the dog to swim and bathe.
- It can easily apply to the back of the neck.
- It is similar to other tick or flea applications.
- It cannot be ingested.
- Make sure the dog does not lick off the product after application.
2. Frontline Plus Dog Flea and Tick Treatment
It is another good topical flea and ticks medication that kills and prevents fleas, larvae, lice, and flea eggs for 30 days after applying. Similarly, it should not be used around cats. The active ingredients may include fipronil and (S)-methoprene. Lastly, this medication is available for every weight and size of dogs.
- Medicine becomes waterproof after 24 hours.
- Easily apply on the back of the neck.
- It does not provide prevention against mosquitos.
3. NexGard Chewables Flea & Tick Medicine
This medication is prescribed to kill and prevent fleas and ticks. It is a beef-flavored tablet given once a month and can last for 30 days. It is approved by FDA and thus, you require a valid prescription to buy this product. The active ingredient is the afoxolaner.
Moreover, this product is also available for small and large dogs, but it can’t be used on cats.
- It is suitable for dogs over 4 pounds and at least eight weeks of age or older puppies.
- It tastes good to dogs and easier to eat.
- It has potential side effects for some dogs.
- The vet will evaluate the conditions before prescribing them.
4. Capstar Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs and Cats
It is the right choice if you are looking for a one-time flea pill to end the infestation. This is a fast working oral medication that starts working within 30 minutes. The good news is that you can always buy it without a prescription.
It is an effective over-the-counter (OTC) flea pills for dogs to kill fleas. But it is not a substitute for monthly flea and tick preventative medicine. The most active ingredient is nitenpyram, and it can be used for both dogs and cats.
- It is suitable for all cats, dogs, puppies, and kittens with at least 2 pounds of body weight or greater.
- It is not effective in preventing infestation against mosquitos and ticks.
- It works to kill the pre-existing infestation but fails to protect after 24 hours.
5. Bravecto Chews for Dogs
It is a kind of flavored chewable flea and tick prevention. Its ease of application is what makes it stand out among other medications. It protects against fleas and ticks for more than three months.
However, one can only buy this with the proper prescription by a vet. The active ingredient here is Fluralaner.
- It is suitable for dogs between 4 to 124 pounds of weight.
- It is recommended to buy the correct dose for each weight type.
- It has many side effects for dogs.
- It does not protect against mosquitoes.
6. PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Prevention for Dogs
It is the best choice if you are searching for a generic version of a name-brand dog flea medicine. This product has the same ingredients as Frontline. It provides complete protection against fleas, lice, and ticks for 30 days after application.
- It becomes waterproof after 24 hours.
- It is the most affordable product as compared to the other medicines.
- It is available for every weight and size of a dog.
- It does not provide prevention against mosquitoes.
- It should not be used on cats.
7. Sentry Capguard Flea Tablets
It is a one-a-day tablet to get rid of infestations. It is considered effective and starts to work in less than 30 minutes. The medication can provide prevention against flea eggs.
- The price of the medication is very reasonable.
- The name CapGuard is misleading as the tablet does not guard but rather kills.
8. Flea Away - The Natural Repellent
As its name suggests, the product is used to repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes instead of killing them. This medication poisons the insect when it bites the dog’s skin. It can be a good option if your pet is allergic to flea bites. It is recommended to give this tablet thrice a day to your dog.
- The tablets are liver flavored and in a chewable form.
- They are handy when you plan on going on camping trips.
- They are inexpensive.
- It repels the insect but does not kill them.
9. Comfortis Flea Pills for Dogs
The Comfortis is a fast-acting flea removal medicine. It is given to the dog once a month, and it starts to kill the fleas within 30 minutes. Nevertheless, it is recommended to have your pet outside for a few hours when the product is given.
- It is a chewable beef-flavored pill.
- It works faster to kill fleas before they can lay eggs on a dog’s skin.
- You can only get it with a proper prescription.
- It only kills the fleas that bite on the dog and not the eggs or larvae.
- Fleas will be jumping and dying in the house if the dog does not go outside after the first few hours of giving medicine.
10. Trifexis Chewable Tablets for Dogs
It is a multi-ingredient treatment that deals with flea and worm infestations. It also prevents heartworm, roundworm, and whipworm diseases in dogs. The vets prescribed to take this medicine once a month.
The active ingredients are Spinosad and Milbemycin Oxime that start to kill the fleas within 30 minutes. This medication is effective for a month.
- It is a tasty beef-flavored tablet.
- It can be given to puppies and dogs over eight weeks old.
- You must choose the right dose depending on the weight and strength of your dog.
How Do Dogs Get Fleas?
Dogs get fleas both directly or indirectly from other animals. Fleas can jump from one animal to another. Thus, if your dog pet comes into contact with another infected animal, he will more likely get fleas and ticks. Similarly, they can also get them from the environment directly.
Fleas exist in moist and warm environments. Therefore, your dog gets the most fleas in summer climates. It can happen when fleas on another animal, either dog or cat, lay eggs, and they get scattered throughout the environment. Later they hatch and jump onto the dog.
Dogs get fleas from the environment as we do. Ticks live in plants that are about 18 to 24 inches off the ground. When a dog passes by them, they attach to their skin to feed.
However, it is difficult for dogs to catch ticks because they can only crawl and not jump. But they are more active for several seasons throughout the year. In comparison, fleas are commonly found during the summers.
Signs Your Dogs Have Fleas or Ticks
Here are some of the common signs that indicate your dog has fleas or ticks.
Ticks burrow themselves in a dog’s skin and attach there firmly. Thus, the owners are more likely to feel a tick before they actually see it. If you see a small but hard bump on the dog’s coat, get it checked by the vet as it could be a tick.
The major symptoms may include itching and biting at a specific spot, Lyme disease, skin irritation, loss of appetite, and fever.
The signs of having fleas cannot be missed as the dog will itch frequently. Moreover, the owner can easily see the fleas and the flea dirt on the coat. You may witness these on your dog’s coat, bedding, and carpet.
Places to Look for Fleas on your Dog Pet
If the dog has a long thick coat, it becomes difficult for you to find ticks or fleas. It is because ticks attach firmly to the skin, and you can’t spot them easily.
On the other hand, if the dog has a few fleas, they can also be buried within the dog’s coat because of its size. However, when there are so many fleas, you can easily notice them.
Always look for ticks and fleas in the dark and warm areas of your dog’s body. These may include the following:
- Between toes
- Near the eyelids
- In and around ears
- Near the groin
- On the tail
- Under the collar
As the ticks and fleas are dark and round, they can be easily mistaken for skin tags. Similarly, you will find fleas in the dark areas such as the belly or under the legs.
Dangers of Having Fleas - Reasons to Get Flea Pills for Dogs
Most dog owners often ask themselves whether or not their dog needs flea pills. The answer is yes, but it entirely depends on the pet’s health condition.
The fleas are very tough to get rid of. The flea bites also introduce microorganisms into the dog’s blood, causing different health diseases. Here are the common diseases caused by fleas.
Flea Bite Dermatitis
It is the most common health issue suffered by most dogs having fleas on their skin. It develops due to inflammatory changes that occur because of the tissue injury caused by flea bites.
In this condition, the skin becomes reddish, swollen, and uncomfortable for the dogs. Furthermore, the dog may experience severe itching that can lead to cuts on the skin. It can become an entry point for bacteria, parasites, and other viruses.
Fleas can also cause bacterias like Rickettsia and Typhus. Such bacterias mainly target dogs, rats, and humans that are not immune to these infections. It can lead to joint pain, fever, vomiting, and muscle pain. All these symptoms can make the dog sick and depressed.
Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis that is mainly transmitted by fleas to rats and other mammals. Though this condition is reduced still, there are almost thousands of cases being reported every year.
The most common symptom of plague is fever and swollen lymph nodes. The vets mostly recommended strict isolation to prevent the spread of this disease. However, in the worst cases, it can lead to death.
The tapeworm Hymenolepsis is typically carried by fleas. However, sometimes direct human interaction can also spread the condition. Here, the dogs ingest the adult fleas while licking their fur or infected surfaces.
Children are vulnerable to this disease as they can accidentally swallow the infected critter. But the good news is that the infection can be easily treated.
Bartonella henselae is mostly found in ticks and fleas. This health problem is very dangerous as the bacteria can invade the red blood cells disrupting their ability to carry oxygen to the tissue. It can lead to anemia, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and weight loss in the dog.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Flea Pills
Flea medicine pills for dogs must have some important features. Below-given are the elements you should consider when purchasing a flea pill to protect your dog pet.
Oral or Topical Treatments
Typically, there are two main types of flea pills for dogs, i.e., oral and topical treatments. Oral medicines are given in the form of tablets, while topical treatments are liquid formulas that can apply to the skin.
Oral pills contain insecticides that travel into the dog’s blood. When a flea bites a dog’s skin, they ingest the insecticide and dies. This type of treatment lasts for only 24 hours and is best to control the infestation rapidly.
In contrast, topical treatments take a longer time to work. But it protects against fleas for almost a month.
It is important to consider the active ingredients in the pills before buying them. Some of the popular active ingredients are:
- Fluralaner (Brand name Bravecto)
- Fipronil (Brand name Frontline)
- Afoxolaner (Brand name NexGard)
- Nitenpyram (Brand name Capstar)
- Spinosad (Brand name Comfortis)
Keep in mind, if your dog has an allergy to any specific medication, he can develop severe side effects. Thus, always go for an effective flea treatment with different ingredients.
Some active ingredients present in medicines are considered harmful and toxic to children, animals, and pregnant women. Therefore, it is important to consult a vet to ensure that all the family members would be safe by using it. The following are some drugs that you should be aware of:
- Tetrachlorvinphos, carbaryl, and propoxur - They are commonly found in flea collars
- Permethrin and pyrethrins - They are toxic to cats
- Isoxazoline - It can cause different neurological disorders in dogs and cats.
- Fipronil, permethrin, pyrethrins, or imidacloprid - They can be a threat to the nervous system.
Most flea pills are considered safe and have mild side effects. But on the other hand, some medicines do have serious side effects, such as seizures. However, these are rare, but you should know about them as a dog’s owner.
Here are the tablets for dogs that can cause potential side effects like seizures.
- Bravecto (fluralaner) tablets for dogs
- Nexgard (afoxolaner) tablets for dogs
- Bravecto (fluralaner) medicine for cats and dogs
- Credelio (lotilaner) tablets for dogs
- Simparica (sarolaner) tablets for dogs
Medication interference is another important element you should consider when buying flea pills. Some medicines can render other products poisonous or ineffective. Thus, ask your vet to choose a treatment that goes well with your dog’s current medical condition.
Specific Medicine for Size & Weight
There are specific medicines that work better for smaller or larger dogs. Some breed-specific medications based on sensitivities are also present. Therefore, make sure to use the dosage according to your dog’s weight and size.
It is always better to read the product’s information to check the protection period of flea medicine. It will also give you an idea of the application. Some flea medicines kill lice, mosquitoes, ticks, and internal parasites such as roundworm and hookworms. They are the best choice for those who are looking for a complete pest control solution.
If the vet recommends you a topical treatment, always choose a waterproof product. It ensures that flea medicine stays effective for a longer period.
Effectiveness & Safety
It is better to conduct thorough research to determine if the chosen medicine is safest and effective in killing fleas. For this, read the product’s information to identify the active ingredients. You can also search online, read the reviews on Amazon and take advice from your vet.
Other Tips to Prevent the Dogs from Getting Fleas
Besides choosing good flea pills, here we have mentioned some other tips to prevent your dog from getting fleas.
- Inspect your dog regularly, especially if they have been exposed to an area where insects are commonly found.
- Carefully check their coat if the dog goes walking or hiking through tall grasses.
- Wash your dog’s bedding and mop the floor to remove eggs or adult fleas.
- Vacuum the carpets and rugs at least once a week.
- Leave the pet’s toys and other items to dry under the hot sun.
- Clean your backyard by spraying pesticides to kill the pests
- Cover the crevices and cracks on the ground to minimize infestation.
- Mow the lawn and keep the shrubs well-trimmed and well-spaced.
- Put electric fences to prevent the entry of other animals into your backyard.
- Call a professional to clean and fog your home properly by using different chemicals.
This detailed guide will help you find effective flea pills for small and large dogs. There are many types of medicines, including those that prevent the dogs from getting fleas and those used to treat them if they are already affected. This can be an issue with your emotional support animal.
Consider your dog’s needs, size, weight, breed, and age before buying a flea pill. Also, identify the advantages and disadvantages of using different treatment options. Choose the one that goes well with both the pet and the family members.
It is better to consult your vet before making a decision. He will make the best choice for your dog to keep him free from ticks and fleas all season long.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you buy flea pills over the counter?
Yes, you can buy over-the-counter products easily. They are useful to kill adult fleas quickly and easily.
2. What kills fleas on dogs other than medicines instantly?
The following home remedies can kill fleas on dogs instantly.
- Dish soap
- Herbal flea spray
- Baking soda
- Lemon spray
- Flea repelling plants
3. What can I feed my dog to keep fleas away?
Dogs should be given a daily dose of yeast mixed with a small amount of garlic in their kibble to keep fleas away.
4. How long does a flea live on a dog?
A flea can live more than 100 days on a dog. It makes up to an average of two to three months.
5. What flea eggs look like on a dog?
The flea eggs look like small oval-shaped clusters that are tinier than a grain of sand. They are laid in a cluster of 20 eggs.