10 Best Flea Treatments for Dogs – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks
If you’re looking for flea treatments for your dog, tons of safe and effective options are available. Most are sold over the counter, so you don’t need a prescription from your veterinarian. Many of these products also protect against other parasites, including ticks, heartworm, intestinal parasites, and mites.
It can be complicated to find the best flea treatment without guidance. Every product is different, and which one is best for your dog depends on where you live and the type of dog that you have. We’re here to help simplify things. These reviews outline the 10 best flea treatments available for dogs in this year.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Advantage Multi Topical Solution||
|Best Value||Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment||
|Premium Choice||NexGard Chew for Dogs||
|Best for Puppies||Capstar Flea Oral Treatment||
|Bravecto Chew for Dogs||
The 10 Best Flea Treatments for Dogs
1. Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs — Best Overall
|Generic Name:||Imadocloprid, Moxidectin|
Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs comes as close as it gets to the perfect flea treatment. It’s our recommendation as the best overall flea treatment for dogs. This product prevents flea infestations, heartworm, mites, and three different intestinal parasites. You only have to apply the product once every 30 days, and the medication is absorbed within a few hours.
You’ll need to keep your dog from licking the medication off for at least 30 minutes after applying, but you place it between the shoulder blades, so it’s unlikely that your dog will even be able to reach the spot. If you have more than one dog that could lick it off each other, though, it’s best to keep them separated while the solution soaks in.
- Kills and prevents six types of parasites
- Safe for puppies 7 weeks of age and older
- Monthly treatments
- Easy to administer
- Does not kill ticks
- Not labeled for use in pregnant/nursing dogs or puppies under 7 weeks
2. Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment — Best Value
|Generic Name:||Fipronil, Methoprene|
The best flea treatment for dogs for the money is Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment. This medication kills fleas and ticks on contact, along with chewing lice. If used for flea control only, one application will last up to 3 months. For ticks and lice control, it will need to be used monthly.
Frontline is easy to use and comes with a convenient applicator that enables you to place the solution on your dog’s back. Their natural skin oils will distribute the medication throughout their body.
- Kills fleas in all stages of the life cycle
- Kills ticks and chewing lice
- Safe for use in puppies over 8 weeks of age
- Safe for breeding and nursing mothers
- Works to prevent further outbreaks
- Not for puppies under 8 weeks
- Doesn’t prevent internal parasites
3. NexGard Chew for Dogs — Premium Choice
Our premium choice for flea treatment for dogs is NexGard Chews. This product is quite effective and has a low-maintenance dosage. It kills fleas on contact and prevents outbreaks. It is also the only tick prevention product that is FDA approved for the prevention of Lyme disease. If you live in a high-risk area or like to go camping and hiking with your dog, this alone makes it an attractive product.
While NexGard is an oral medication, it’s easier to give than most, as the medication is embedded in a beef-flavored treat that dogs love. Since NexGard is only available with a veterinarian’s prescription, it’s a more expensive choice than many other products, but its effectiveness makes it worth considering.
- Chewable tablets
- Safe to use around children and other pets
- Effective flea and tick control
4. Capstar Flea Oral Treatment — Best for Puppies
If you need flea protection for a puppy, Capstar Flea Oral Treatment is one of the few products that is labeled for use in dogs as young as 4 weeks. They will need to weigh at least 2 pounds to safely use this medication, but it will offer them flea protection in under 30 minutes.
Capstar only offers protection against fleas and no other parasites, but it is safe to combine with other parasite-protection products. The biggest downside of this product is that it only offers flea protection for 24 hours. It’s safe to give daily, but this could prove to be cost prohibitive in the long term.
- Safe for puppies 4 weeks of age and older
- Safe for pregnant and nursing dogs
- Fast acting
- Administer alone or with food
- Can be combined with other parasite-control products
- Doesn’t offer long-term protection
- Doesn’t kill larvae or eggs
- Flea protection only
5. Bravecto Chew for Dogs
Bravecto Chews are good for dogs that don’t respond well to topical treatments or those with long, shaggy coats that make topical medications hard to apply. A single Bravecto chew offers flea protection for up to 12 weeks, so you don’t have to give it to your dog that often. It also controls four different tick species, including the Lyme disease-carrying lone star tick. However, to obtain high levels of tick protection, you will need to give your dog one tablet every 8 weeks instead of every 12.
Unfortunately, Bravecto doesn’t kill fleas on contact. Protection requires that your dog be bitten first. Some owners also report having great difficulty getting their dog to take the chews due to them not liking the taste.
- Chewable tablet
- Offers up to 12 weeks of protection
- Doesn’t kill fleas on contact
- Difficult to administer to some dogs
6. Simparica TRIO
|Generic Name:||Sarolander, Moxidectin, Pyrantel|
Simparica TRIO is an oral medication that is fast acting. This product offers flea control combined with a dewormer, which means it gives your dog protection against more internal parasites than any other product. While many owners prefer to use a topical flea prevention product, an oral option offers better protection in many cases. If your dog has sensitive skin that reacts to topical medication, this will prevent irritation and hair loss at the application site. There is also no risk of it washing off or being rendered ineffective due to biting and licking of the site.
In rare cases, dogs will have a mild stomach upset after taking oral medications. This usually resolves quickly and can be avoided by giving the tablets with food. But some dogs simply have extreme difficulty taking an oral medication, another downside of this product.
- Offers more parasite protection than any other product
- Once-monthly treatment
- Safe for puppies over 8 weeks of age
- Can be administered with food or by itself
- Avoids skin reactions
- Not for use in pregnant/nursing dogs
- Not for puppies under 8 weeks of age
- Can cause stomach upset
- Not for dogs that have difficulty swallowing pills
7. Seresto Flea & Tick Collar
|Generic Name:||Imidacloprid, Flumethrin|
If you want long-term protection from fleas and ticks but don’t want the hassle of remembering to give it to your dog regularly, try the Seresto Flea & Tick Collar. It’s odorless and non-greasy and has a quick-release feature for safety if your dog gets it caught on anything. It’s ideal for long tick seasons, as the medication works for up to 8 months, even with regularly swimming or bathing.
The biggest drawback of using a flea-and-tick collar is whether your dog will keep it on. The quick-release buckle works well — possibly too well. It’ll pop off with even the tiniest snag. Once it snaps, you can’t reapply the collar and will have to buy a new one.
- Offers 8 months of protection against fleas and ticks
- Easy to apply
- Odorless and non-greasy
- Safe for puppies 7 weeks of age and older
- It can be tricky to adjust
- Some dogs don’t keep the collar on
8. Wondercide Topical & Indoor Flea & Tick Spray
|Generic Name:||Essential oils, lemongrass, cedarwood|
Wondercide Topical Flea & Tick Spray is a good option if you prefer to use natural ingredients to avoid fleas. This spray-application formula uses cedarwood and lemongrass oil to repel fleas. It can be sprayed directly on your dog or in and around your home to keep bugs from moving in.
Wondercide spray is available in several different scents, including peppermint oil. We recommend avoiding this particular scent, though, as peppermint essential oil can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Since Wondercide doesn’t have any medicinal ingredients, it will need to be reapplied frequently to effectively prevent fleas and ticks. Some dogs require desensitization to the spray nozzle, as they find it scary.
- Plant-based formula
- Can be used on dogs and household surfaces
- Smells pleasant
- Needs frequent reapplication
- Some dogs are afraid of the applicator
- One scent contains peppermint essential oil, which can be toxic
9. K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment
|Generic Name:||Imidacloprid, Permethrin, Pyriproxyfen|
K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment uses three different active ingredients to kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes at all stages of their respective life cycles. These include a flea adulticide, a repellant, and an insect growth regulator. This product requires a monthly application to work and doesn’t require that your pet be bitten first.
While it’s supposed to provide 30 days’ worth of protection, this wanes over time. For heavily flea/tick/mosquito-infested areas, dogs may experience a lapse of protection in the last few days before reapplication. This product is also not safe for cats, so care should be taken to prevent cats in the house from coming into contact with the product.
- Kills insects in contact
- Works within 12 hours
- Only product that also provides mosquito bite protection
- Not safe for cats
- Doesn’t always offer protection for the full 4 weeks
10. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
If you are already experiencing the unpleasant effects of a flea infestation on your dog, it’s time to attack the problem with a shampoo that gets rid of active outbreaks. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo contains soothing ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and lanolin to stop your dog’s skin from itching, while the active ingredient kills fleas at all life stages.
This shampoo remains active for up to 28 days, but it’s not designed to be a flea preventative. This product is best to rid your dog of active flea infestations. Afterward, you should consider an additional medication to prevent further outbreaks. Without it, you will find yourself using the shampoo frequently. If you have cats in your house, you’ll want to be extremely careful because this shampoo is toxic for them.
- Gentle on your dog’s skin
- Smells pleasant
- Effective at getting rid of flea infestations
- Continues working for 28 days
- Toxic to cats
- Needs frequent reapplication
- Not a flea preventative
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Flea Treatment for Dogs
What to Look For in a Flea Treatment Product
There are a few things to note when shopping for a flea treatment product.
Flea-and-tick prevention and treatment methods come in several different varieties. Topical and oral forms are most common for prevention, while a shampoo is the go-to treatment method. A topical solution is usually applied to the back of your dog’s neck, between the shoulder blades. It’s easy to apply, and in most cases, dogs don’t even notice when you put it there. However, these medications can be irritating to a dog’s skin and even cause hair loss. If this happens to your dog, you may wish to get an oral medication.
The downsides of oral flea-prevention products are twofold: They are more expensive than topical products, and they are more difficult to give.
Flea collars offer effective long-term protection against fleas and ticks, but many dogs have difficulty keeping the collars on.
With the exception of all-natural products, flea-and-tick treatments contain insecticides that kill bugs. It’s important to know exactly what insects your product kills, whether it’s safe for other animals, and whether it’s safe to use around children. This is particularly important if you have other pets, as many flea products for dogs are toxic to cats.
When looking at a flea-treatment product, see how long it remains effective. Most products require application every 30 days (monthly), but there are a few that last for up to 3 months. The product’s longevity is crucial for two reasons: It affects how often you must use it and how much it will cost. The more applications you need, the higher the cost.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Fleas?
If your dog is itching more than normal, this is one of the first signs that they may have fleas. An infestation is even more likely if the itchy spots are in your dog’s armpits, on the flank, or above the tail. Check your dog’s coat carefully. If fleas are present, you will find what’s called “flea dirt.” This looks like little black specks on the skin. These little bugs may even be spotted hopping around on your dog.
How Do You Prevent Your Dog From Getting Fleas?
Using flea-and-tick prevention products is the best way to prevent your dog from getting fleas. There are a few other things that you can do too. Fleas like outdoor, shady areas with plenty of debris around. Keeping your grass cut short and not allowing your dog to play in high-risk areas can help avoid outbreaks. Treating your home with diatomaceous earth may also help keep bugs away.
Our best overall flea treatment for dogs is Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs. It offers protection against several different parasites at once. The best value for the money is Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment. You will only need to use this product once every 3 months for flea control, making it more cost-effective than some other options. For puppies, we recommend Capstar Flea Oral Treatment. While this option doesn’t provide long-term protection, it is the only product that is labeled for use on puppies as young as 4 weeks.
Featured Image Credit: Rachel Claire, Pexels