Oral Flea Medicine for Dogs
The Best Flea Tablets and Chews
1. How do you find fleas on dogs?
Since adult fleas make up only about 5% of the flea population, it can be difficult to spot a flea infestation. If your dog suddenly begins scratching, this may be an indication she has fleas. To confirm fleas are the culprit, check for flea dirt on your dog’s skin. Flea dirt is essentially flea feces and can best be seen easier on your dog’s stomach, at the base of the tail, or on her favorite bed as tiny, dark specks. A flea comb can also be used to locate flea dirt and adult fleas on your dog. Make sure the fine-toothed flea comb touches your dog’s skin as you brush, and any fleas or debris will be caught in the comb. This method works best for dogs with shorter coats.
2. What is the best way to get rid of fleas?
Getting rid of fleas on your dog and in your home and yard can be challenging. That’s why we recommend using a flea preventative on your dogs to kill pests before they multiply. Whether you choose a monthly topical, flea collar, or natural spray, consider what the best option is for each pet.
Topical prevention is one of the more common options. Products such as Advantage®, Advantage® Multi, and Advantix® use an ingredient that employs the natural oils on your dog’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients, covering your dog’s entire body. These products are applied to a small area on your pet’s neck once a month. There are many topicals on the market, but we’ve found that most aren’t as effective as Elanco products. One of the many reasons we recommend Elanco products is that they not only kill pests, but also repel them. Other topicals and ingestible preventatives require the flea or tick bite the dog before they die.
Flea collars are another option but 90% of the products on the market are not effective. The only flea collar we at Hollywood Feed trust is the Seresto® collar by Elanco . This collar has active ingredients infused into the plastic during production. Others are dipped or powdered on the collar and don’t protect the entire pet or last very long. The Seresto® collar is effective for up to 8 months and uses the same ingredient as topicals to spread protection across your dog’s entire body. Most other flea collars on the market only protect within three inches of the collar.
Flea sprays are another option but can be time consuming. The sprays should be sprayed directly onto your dog, and while you don’t have to soak him, you do need to thoroughly cover your entire dog with spray and rub it in for it to be effective. Sprays usually last for 24 – 48 hours but Wondercide makes sprays that are effective up to one month. If your dog has fleas, his bed and living space has fleas and flea larvae and eggs. It’s important to treat the dog’s bed, the area around the dog’s living space, your couches, rugs, curtains, etc. to rid your home of fleas and flea eggs and prevent the infestation from occurring again. There are also options for your pet, home, and yard that aren’t all natural such as Advantage® Flea and Tick Sprays .
Shampoos are often effective at removing fleas that a dog currently has on him, but usually have no residual effects past 24-48 hours. Work the shampoo into a lather over your dog’s entire body, using caution around his eyes and ears, and leave on for the recommended amount of time before rinsing.
3. Why should I choose oral medication and topical treatment or vice versa?
It is important to note that oral flea medications do not repel pests. Your pet must ingest the pill or chewable tablet, which then travels through the bloodstream, making the dog’s blood poisonous to fleas. A flea must bite the dog to die. In the case of a sudden flea infestation, Elanco advantus® is a good option. One soft chew is effective for 24 hours and starts to kill any fleas that are currently on your pet within one hour. advantus® is safe to repeat once per day. CAPSTAR® is another option and starts killing fleas in only 30 minutes. Other monthly ingestible flea pills require a prescription from your veterinarian. Many pet owners prefer the ease of use with oral medications.
Topical treatments, such as Advantix® or Advantage®, can be more effective when killing other life stages, such as larvae and flea eggs. Following the application instructions for topical medications is key to ensuring efficacy.