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Ask A Vet: How Do I Pick The Best Flea Product For My Dog?

| Published on February 4, 2016

There are so many different flea products available on the market, both through veterinarians and over the counter. It is hard to name one specific product as the best flea product. Don’t expect to find one that will be preferred by everyone. However, the two basic formulations, topical and oral, do have some pros and cons. You’ll need to consider these when you decide what will work best for you and your dog.

Topical Flea Products


Topical means that the medication is applied directly to the skin of the dog. Some people do not like the idea that the product stays on their pet’s skin. The concern is that it exposes the humans in the environment to chemicals. Other people like the idea that the product stays on the skin and is not systemically absorbed by the dog.

Some dogs are very difficult to entice to eat oral flea products, and for these dogs topicals are the best flea product. They are readily available and fairly affordable. Their efficacy can be affected by the type and frequency of shampooing. So if your dog is primarily outdoors, is not bathed frequently and doesn’t sleep with a family member, topical flea products might be a desirable choice.

It is important to remember that because these products are not prescription and the pet business is lucrative, there are many look alike products that are cheap, but less effective. For the best flea product for dogs who prefer topical repellents, iHeartDogs prefers Happy, Healthy™️ Nature Guard Citronella Flea & Tick Spray. This all-natural topical repellent is water-based and made without harsh chemicals. Not only does it keep away fleas and ticks, it also repels mosquitos, flies, and other pests. You can use it both on your dog and around the house to keep the bugs away!

Related: 5 Top Citronella Collars for Dogs

Oral Flea Products

Oral flea medications are available only by prescription from your veterinarian and must be fed to your dog according to the label directions. These products come with and without tick coverage, in addition to the flea coverage.

Many owners consider these the best flea product because they are not affected by the type of shampoo or the frequency of bathing. They’re not as affordable as the over-the-counter topicals and will require a visit to the veterinarian. They leave no residue on the dog’s skin if your pet is in close contact with your human family.

Since they are available only by prescription, there are no “off brand” products (at least not legally), so your chances of efficacy are very high. They also come with “tech support” because if they are not working the way you think they should, you can call your vet’s office and ask questions. If your dog is in close contact with you and your family, is bathed frequently and has a regular veterinarian, oral products will be a good choice.

Brewer’s Yeast and Garlic Natural Flea & Tick Repellent Chewable Supplement is a non-prescription supplement meant to make your dog smell less tasty to fleas and ticks – without making you wrinkle your nose at him too. It’s also packed with extra protein and vitamins to give your dog a healthy boost to his diet.

The best flea product will depend on you and your dog. All dogs should be on flea protection (unless you want a flea circus of your very own). If you want to be absolutely sure that your dog does not have fleas that he can share with your home, ask your veterinary staff to help you weigh the pros and cons and share with you what their other clients are saying. They will know what is working best on the fleas in your area and can use their experience with you and your own dog’s lifestyle to help you choose.

Do fleas have you hoppin’? Find me and other animal lovers on Facebook.

Related: 7 Best Dog Treadmills

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