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Oral and Topical Flea Treatments for Dogs

Keep you and your dog safe and healthy by preventing dog flea and ticks! These pesky buggers, if not treated quickly, can mass produce themselves that can turn into an infestation on your dogs. A female flea can produce up to 2,000 eggs in three weeks. Not only are they annoying and itchy, they can also be a threat to your dog’s life. It can also affect you as well! A flea can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and other tick-borne illnesses. If you leave these fleas untreated, the signs of illnesses will show after 7-21 days. Don’t wait for these illnesses and diseases to worsen!

Luckily, there are numerous options available to treat and get rid of ticks and fleas. Treatment for fleas can be done in two ways: topical flea treatment and an oral flea treatment. Curious what are the best topical dog flea treatments available? We’ve rounded up the best topical dog flea treatments and best oral dog flea treatments available on the market. 

Flea and Tick Medication for Dogs

Not sure which is the best flea treatment that works best for your dog? In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between a topical flea treatment and an oral flea treatment.
Whether you choose a topical flea treatment or an oral flea treatment, both options are effective ways to get rid of ticks and fleas. Aside from that, they are generally safe for dogs, and all the treatments mentioned in the list below have been tried and tested and FDA-approved. Each treatment is convenient in its own way.  We will also mention the best way to apply these treatments, so their effectiveness can be maximized.

In the end, your choice of flea and tick treatment depends on your dog’s health and lifestyle, budget, and preferences. 

Oral Treatments 

Oral flea treatments come in the form of a pill or a chewable tablet. They are ingested by dogs and when a flea or tick bites your dog, the chemicals that make up these treatments will be transmitted to them. Typically, they are given every month, although some can be given after 12 weeks.

The active chemical ingredients in each oral treatment differ. Its effectiveness also varies – it may take effect from a few days up to a month. Here are a few of the most common active ingredients in these oral flea treatments:

  1.  Isoxazoline Class – These kill both fleas and ticks. This treatment is one of the most highly effective ways to get rid of these pests. It works to target the nervous system of the ticks that causes their death. If your dog has epilepsy, it is better to stir away from oral treatments that contain this.

The best products that contain this includes:

  • Nexgard
  • Bravecto
  • Simparica
  • Credelio
  1. Spinosad –  This oral flea treatment specifically targets adult fleas where it attacks the parasite’s nervous system. 

The best products that contain this includes:

  • Comfortis
  • Trifexis
  1. Nitenpyram – This one is a fast-acting oral treatment that instantly kills in just thirty minutes. However, it does not have long-term effects in terms of continuous flea control. It is the best option when you want an on-the-go oral treatment when you take your pets on a trip or in a place where you may expect fleas to be present.

Oral flea treatments can be given to dogs on their own (tablets, that are disguised as treats) or can be mixed into a dog’s food. The advantages of giving oral flea treatments include minimal contact or transfer, cannot being washed off, and cross-contamination can be avoided.

Topical Treatments

Topical flea treatments come in different forms. They come in liquid drops, powders, sprays, and shampoos. However, the most popular option in terms of long-term effects is liquid drops or ‘spot-on’ medications. Usually, these topical or spot-on treatments are applied directly to the skin in between the dog’s shoulders. Typically, they last up to 30 days. Aside from killing fleas and ticks, they also work to repel them.

Similar to oral medications, topical flea treatments also contain active chemical ingredients. The active ingredients include:

  1. Fipronil – This active ingredient found in topical flea and tick treatments works to attack the nervous system of the parasites, which causes their death. It spreads all over the dog’s body in a day – where it releases itself over time for up to 30 days.
  2. Pyrethroids – It is a plant-based active ingredient popular amongst those who prefer all-natural ingredients. An alternative to this is synthetic pyrethroids which are known to be more stable and long-lasting. It effectively kills both fleas and ticks, and even mites. However, they can be potentially harmful to small dogs.
  3. Imidacloprid – This active ingredient also targets the parasite’s nervous system once they come into contact with it. It is most effective against larvae to adult fleas.

The best way to apply spot-on or topical flea treatments would be after giving your dog a bath and applying it in between the shoulders once they dry off. It is recommended that you try not to keep multiple dogs or other pets in contact with your dogs who have been freshly applied with topical treatments to avoid contamination and, possibly, poisoning if ingested. 

The advantages of topical flea treatments include effectiveness against all stages of a flea or tick life cycle (including eggs), combats infections, are ideal for puppies or dogs with sensitive stomachs, and is easier to purchase.


The effectiveness of oral and topical flea treatments can only be seen if they are applied or given correctly. Others may mistake its ineffectiveness since the flea or ticks do not go away. However, owners should consider that since these parasites reproduce very quickly, it may take up to three weeks or more of application to see the effectiveness of these treatments. 

Both oral and topical flea treatments are effective; however, if you are unsure which flea or tick treatment works best for your dog, you may consult your veterinarian for vet-approved medication that will work. They can also recommend how to effectively apply or give these treatments alongside other medications that can treat other illnesses from flea infections.


 The best way to prevent fleas and ticks from infesting your dogs and even your home is through early treatment. There are oral and topical flea treatments available that owners can choose from. What owners can choose depends on their dog’s health and lifestyle. Both options are effective when it comes to getting rid of fleas and ticks in any cycle of life.

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