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8 Best Oral Flea Treatment For Dogs

Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Published on
Tuesday 22 November 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
8 Best Oral Flea Treatment For Dogs
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For pet parents, fleas are the most troublesome and pesky pests that our furry friends can suffer from. What’s more, some treatments are messy and difficult to apply. As such, many dog owners wonder what the best oral flea treatment for dogs is.

The best flea pills for dogs are safe to use, fast-acting, and well-studied. But before buying any type of flea pill, it’s always best to ask your vet for recommendations.

8 Best Oral Flea Medication For Dogs

The best flea pills for dogs have a high margin of safety, are easy for your dog to swallow, and are fast-acting. You want to relieve your pup’s itchiness quickly, so be sure to read up on each type thoroughly!

1. Bravecto Chew for Dogs

Bravecto Chews provide up to 12 weeks of protection from fleas and ticks. These chews kill adult fleas within two hours using the active ingredient Fluralaner. Each chew is made without wheat and gluten. Also, this treatment is approved for use in pregnant and lactating dogs. Furthermore, the company claims that Bravecto has a high margin of safety – when 5x the recommended dose was given in a safety study, no adverse effects were noted.

According to product reviews, some dogs refuse to eat Bravecto chews and dislike the flavor. Even when hidden inside a high-value food item, some dogs just won’t bite. According to the manufacturer, the most common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and flatulence. They also note that Bravecto is ineffective for the 12-week guarantee in puppies under 6 months old. Use this product with caution for dogs with a history of seizures as Fluralener is occasionally associated with adverse neurologic reactions.


  • High margin of safety
  • Made without wheat or gluten
  • 12 weeks of protection
  • Safe for use in pregnant and lactating dogs


  • Unpalatable flavor
  • Occasional vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence
  • Less effective in puppies under six months
  • Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Veterinary prescription required

2. CAPSTAR (Nitenpyram)

CAPSTAR Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs kills 90% of adult fleas within four hours with its active ingredient Nitenpyram. These tablets are for dogs over four weeks old or over two pounds in body weight. Unlike other treatments, CAPSTAR is safe to give to your pooch once a day until the flea infestation is resolved. You can administer this tablet without a veterinary prescription. While these tablets may not have a tempting flavor, they are small and slightly rounded, making them easy for your pet to swallow.

Of course, as with any oral flea treatment, some pets will not easily receive these tablets. As well as this, several customers report that the efficacy of these tablets is less compared to other products. This product is only for immediate flea treatment and offers a temporary effect on adult fleas – however, without rigorous preventatives on your part around your home, the infestation may reoccur.


  • High margin of safety
  • Small, rounded tablets for easy swallowing
  • Offers rapid treatment
  • Can be given daily
  • Safe for pregnant and lactating dogs


  • Unpalatable flavor
  • Occasional vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and hyperactivity
  • Only recommended for dogs older than four weeks old
  • Temporary relief from fleas

3. NexGard Chew for Dogs

NexGard Chew for Dogs offers one month of protection with its active ingredient Afoxolaner. With this powerful ingredient, you will see results within four to eight hours. These chewable tablets come in beef flavor to make your pet’s monthly treatment double as a treat to look forward to. It’s easy to give with or without food, too, and many dogs find it easy to eat. This product is suitable for dogs older than eight weeks or weighing four pounds or greater.

This product has not been evaluated for use in pregnant or lactating dogs. And, because its active ingredient is associated with neurological side effects in rare cases, it is not good for dogs with a history of seizures. Secondly, the most common criticism is the timespan that this product works for. Some pet parents report that their dogs’ effects last less than two weeks.


  • High margin of safety, but vomiting is possible at high doses
  • Starts working within eight hours
  • Offers protection for one month
  • Tasty beef flavor


  • No studies have been done on pregnant or lactating dogs
  • Not recommended for dogs with a history of seizures
  • Occasional vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, and lethargy

4. Simparica Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs

Simparica Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs combines Sarolaner, Moxidectin, and Purantel in each treatment to control fleas, heartworms, and roundworms. This treatment brings an effective way to keep on top of your pet’s fleas, providing instant killing activity within three hours and ongoing killing activity for at least 35 days. In studies, Simparica kills 95% of fleas within eight hours after the product is given. This product is suitable for dogs over 8 weeks of age or 1.3kg in body weight. And to top it off, these tablets come in liver flavor and can be given with or without food!

This product has not been evaluated for use in pregnant or lactating dogs. As well as this, the most common complaint is the texture of the tablets. Some tablets are hard and not chewy enough for dogs, which could be an issue for dogs with dental issues. And, compared to other products, the margin of safety may be a little lower. In overdose laboratory studies, giving three times the maximum dose resulted in tremors. At five times the maximum dose, there may be convulsions. These dogs recovered without treatment.


  • Broad-spectrum treatment that targets other parasites
  • Tasty liver flavor
  • Chewy texture
  • Offers protection for at least 35 days


  • No studies have been done on pregnant or lactating dogs
  • Occasional vomiting and diarrhea
  • Overdose comes with greater risks

5. Credelio Chewable Tablet for Dogs

Credelio Chewable Tablets for Dogs start killing fleas in just four hours with their active ingredient Lotilaner. This product provides relief for one month. Also, the product starts to work within 4 to 6 hours. If you intend to use this product, note that it is only suitable for dogs over 8 weeks old and of 1.3kg of body weight or greater. With its tasty beef flavor, many dogs look forward to chowing down on their monthly medicine.

These tablets contain barley, wheat, and lactose. As well as this, please note that while the tablets contains beef flavoring, they do not contain any actual beef. Instead, the flavoring comes from pork liver and soy – if your pup is allergic to pork, do not use these tablets. No studies have been done on pregnant and lactating dogs.



  • No studies have been done on pregnant or lactating dogs
  • It contains pork, barley, wheat, and lactose
  • Occasional vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy

6. Advantus (Imidacloprid)

Advantus Chewable Flea Treatment for Small Dogs starts killing fleas in just one hour with their active ingredient Imidacloprid. You can give this to dogs over 10 weeks old and weighing four pounds or more. No veterinary prescription is required. Although these tablets come in a tasty flavor, they do not contain any animal protein and are thus suitable for dogs with specific food allergies. A study on the product found that it has an efficacy of 98.6% to 100% from 8 to 12 hours after treatment.

This product is intended for daily use. As such, it is not preventative and only serves as temporary relief from adult fleas. As well as this, the product has not been tested on pregnant or nursing dogs. And, compared to other products on our list, there appear to be more reviews describing unwanted side effects like vomiting and diarrhea.


  • High margin of safety
  • Chewy texture
  • Flavored without any meat products
  • Starts to work within one hour
  • No vet prescription required


  • Effective for one day
  • No studies have been done on pregnant or lactating dogs
  • Several reviews describe vomiting and diarrhea
  • It does not protect from ticks as other treatments do

7. Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs

Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs is a monthly beef-flavor tablet containing Spinosad and Milbemycin oxime. This medication controls fleas and protects against heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm. For maximum effectiveness, these tablets should be given with food. They are also suitable for dogs older than 8 weeks and over 5 pounds in body weight. Lastly, this tablet contains artificial beef flavoring, which makes it all the tastier for your dog.

Do not use ivermectin at higher than FDA-approved doses while using this medication. This can result in serious side effects. Also, this medication may have a lower margin of safety than other leading products. In safety trials, doses of 1, 3, and 5 times the recommended dose led to vomiting in all groups. Those with the higher doses experienced salivation, tremors, coughing, and vocalization. In general, a small number of dogs will experience vomiting and tremors after taking this medicine.


  • Chewy texture
  • Beef flavor
  • It starts working within 30 minutes
  • Can kill 100% of fleas in one hour


8. PetArmor CAPACTION (Nitenpyram)

PetArmor Capaction Oral Flea Treatment is a once-daily treatment that delivers Nitenpyram to your dog. These fast-acting tablets kill adult fleas within 30 minutes with a 90% effectiveness rate. These unflavored tablets are suitable for dogs older than 4 weeks and weighing more than 2lbs.

Some of the most common adverse reactions in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, and panting. It’s also important to note that dosing a pregnant or lactating dog with these tablets may result in birth defects and neonatal losses. Some pet parents note that these tablets might be less effective than others on the market.


  • Simple tablet
  • It starts working within 30 minutes
  • 90% effectiveness rate


  • Unsafe for pregnant and lactating dogs
  • Only effective for one day

What Are Flea Pills?

Flea treatment medicines come in a few different forms. Two of these are oral and topical medicines. While flea pills are given to your pup orally, topical liquids are applied directly to your dog’s skin. Both types of medication can kill fleas effectively. So, the type that you choose is up to you and your furry friend.

How Often Does Your Dog Needs a Flea and Tick Oral Treatment?

It’s important to check how often to dose your dog before starting treatment. Many oral flea treatments are given monthly, while others are for daily use to control adult fleas. At the same time, be aware that some flea treatments contain other ingredients that act on other parasites. These treatments may be more long-lasting, such as Simparica Trio, which acts for at least 35 days. Always read the label carefully and ask your vet for advice if you have any concerns!

Oral Treatment vs. Topical Treatment

Oral flea treatments are recommended for owners who also have young children. This is because young children or other small pets might touch your dog and come into contact with the active medication. Also, by using oral treatments, you can rest assured that your dog won’t lick any medicine off of their skin, ensuring that your pooch gets a sufficient dose.

Some pet parents find it challenging to give pills to their furry friends. No matter if they try flavored chews or regular pills, some dogs just won’t accept them. As such, topical treatment may be a much easier option to rule out this struggle. As well as this, some topical treatments contain repellent chemicals that keep pesky fleas away from your pet.

Over-the-Counter vs. Prescription Pills

Not all flea treatments require a veterinary prescription. There are several oral treatments that you can buy over-the-counter (OTC), such as CAPSTAR and Advantus. These treatments tend to kill existing adult fleas and act for one day but kill fleas much quicker. This means that your dog will need more frequent dosing to control their infestation and more legwork from you to clear flea eggs and larvae from your home. Reinfestation is sure to occur without controlling fleas in your dog’s environment.

Prescription flea treatments, conversely, are best for long-term flea control. While they often take longer to start working, their efficacy is often much higher. Some treatments will kill adult fleas as well as larvae and eggs. The only downside is the requirement for a veterinary prescription first – and for treatments that combine preventatives for heartworm, your pet will need a checkup at the vet first.

Best Oral Flea Treatment For Dogs: FAQs

Have any more questions or concerns about the best oral flea treatment for dogs? Feel free to check out our FAQ for more details. Always ask your vet for advice if you doubt your pet’s health.

Is Bravecto or NexGard safer?

Bravecto and Nexgard have several differences that may make one safer than the other for your dog. Firstly, one Bravecto pill works for up to 12 weeks compared to the monthly dosage of Nexgard. In terms of age ranges, Bravecto is suitable for puppies 6 months or older, while Nexgard can be given to puppies at 8 weeks. So, for young puppies, Nexgard is the safer option. And while Bravecto is acceptable for pregnant and lactating dogs, Nexgard’s safety has not been studied in these groups.

Nexgard’s margin of safety study yields comforting results. When puppies took 1, 3, and 5 times the maximum dose, there were no clinically-relevant effects on their body weight, food consumption, or organ weights. However, vomiting was seen across all groups. Nexgard is also safe to use alongside vaccines, anthelmintics, antibiotics, steroids, anesthetics, and NSAIDs. Bravecto’s margin of safety study also shows good results. When puppies were given 5 times the maximum dose, vomiting was sometimes seen, but not with a high incidence. One dog experienced vomiting and diarrhea at 3 times the maximum dose.

Is oral flea medication better than topical?

There are benefits and disadvantages to both oral and topical flea treatments for dogs. Which type is better for your pup will ultimately depend on your living situation and your dog’s behavior. For example, an oral flea treatment may be better suited for a dog with an active lifestyle. This is because active dogs who get in contact with water often may wash off their spot-on treatment. This can also contaminate local water sources and impact wildlife. In contrast, spot-on treatments may be better for dogs who struggle to swallow tablets. Both options can effectively control fleas when administered on a regular schedule.

How do you tell if fleas are dying?

Your dog may become hyperactive as fleas die. The dying fleas will rise to the top of your pet’s coat. So, you should be able to see some after treating your pet for fleas. You can also tell if fleas are dying by how fast they move. If you can catch them without much effort, it’s a sure sign that the treatment is working.

The best oral flea treatment for dogs depends on your furry friend’s characteristics. These include their age, pregnancy status, and willingness to take pills. Always talk to your vet for advice before giving your dog new medication.

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