5 Best Flea Pills For Dogs, According To A Vet

Peace out, fleas ✌️

Fleas are easily one of the more annoying things dogs can deal with.

To stop fleas from biting your pup, there are a few types of preventative treatments out there that can be super effective, including oral products, like flea pills, and topical solutions.

The Dodo reached out to Dr. John Sangiorgio, a veterinarian at CompleteCare Veterinary Center in New York City, to find out which flea pills he recommends.

What are flea pills?

Flea pills or chewable tablets are oral medications that you give to your dog to treat and prevent fleas.

Some work to kill fleas that your dog might already have on him, while others can be used to prevent your dog from catching fleas to begin with (some do both).

When it comes to flea pills, some medications are obtained over the counter (OTC), while others require a prescription from your vet. Before trying any sort of flea pill, it’s best to contact your vet for recommendations for your individual situation and needs.

Flea pills vs. topical flea medicine

Flea treatment and prevention comes in several different forms, including oral and topical medications.

Fleas pills are given to your pup orally (aka by eating it), whereas topical products are applied to your dog's skin.

Both oral and topical flea medications can kill existing fleas on your pet and prevent future infestations, and they both last from one to three months.

Since both forms are considered effective and safe by veterinarians, the method you choose is up to you and your dog.

“I recommend systemic [aka oral] products for clients with young children,” Dr. Sangiorgio told The Dodo. “This [is] so that any kids who might crawl around or touch your dog don't come in contact with medication on the dog’s fur or skin.”

So if you have young kids, or just don’t want your dog to accidentally get flea medication all over the couch, flea pills might be a better option for you.

If you’re interested in in topical flea prevention products, these two are recommended by vets:

Try Bravecto Topical from Chewy for $52.99
Try Advantage from Amazon for $44.81

Prescription vs. over-the-counter flea pills

OTC flea pills (like Capstar or Advantus) can only kill adult fleas, which means they can get rid of existing fleas but won’t do anything to prevent them. Plus, they aren’t recommended to give to your dog regularly.

Prescription flea pills, on the other hand, are better for long-lasting flea prevention. They can also kill existing fleas, but it’ll take longer to work compared to an OTC pill like Capstar (it takes about a day to kill all existing fleas with prescription flea pills, whereas Capstar can kill fleas in about 30 minutes). They can be administered to your dog as directed, typically every 12 weeks.

Bravecto Soft Chews for Dogs

Pill type: Prescription

These pills provide up to 12 weeks of protection from both fleas and ticks. “I use Bravecto, an oral, for my dog,” Dr. Sangiorgio said. “It lasts for three months, and because my 13-month-old daughter is all over her pet, Liza!” 

Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs

Pill type: Over the counter

If your dog was already infested with fleas, this fast-acting treatment works to kill 90 percent of fleas within four hours of taking it. This flea pill won’t prevent flea infestations, though, so she’ll also need to take a preventative to stay protected.

Simparica Chewable Tablet for Dogs

Pill type: Prescription

While this might be the most expensive of the group, there’s a reason why. This is a flea pill that combats way more than just fleas. It’s the only product that combines sarolaner, moxidectin and pyrantel in each treatment to help prevent heartworm disease, kill fleas before they can lay eggs, kill five types of ticks, treat and prevent flea infestations, and treat and control roundworms and hookworms.

Advantus Flea Chews for Dogs

Pill type: Over the counter

Looking for even faster results? These chews start knocking out fleas within just one hour, with 96 percent effectiveness within four hours. (Remember, your dog will also need to be put on a preventative medication to prevent new flea infestations.)

NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs

Pill type: Prescription

These pills are super easy to get your dog to take. They have a yummy flavor that’ll make your dog actually look forward to her flea preventative medication.

Like with any medication you want to start giving your pup, make sure you chat with your veterinarian to ensure you're using the right brand for you and your dog.

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