Are Flea Pills Really Effective for Dogs?


A flea invasion on a dog, although painful, is easily treated nowadays by well-known means. Indeed, pipettes, sprays, and anti-flea collars are nowadays common and their effectiveness is well established.

However, there is another alternative, less known to the general public, these are anti-flea tablets. But what about the effectiveness of these tablets? Are they dangerous for the health of our four-legged friends?

The different types of flea tablets for dogs

Flea tablets fall into three categories, all of which have a specific purpose in the treatment of fleas present on your dog.

Growth regulator tablets

Growth regulator flea tablets, also called IGR (Insect Growth Regulator), are only intended to prevent fleas that are still immature from becoming adults by stopping their development cycle (their growth in a way).

These tablets are therefore only supplements, which must be used with an active insecticide for adult fleas.

Preventive tablets

Like anti parasitic collars, preventive tablets, as their name suggests, are only useful for prevention. This is called an insect repellent effect, which repels parasites, and not insecticidal, which kills the latter present on the body of the animal.

Healing tablets

It is tablets as for them are insecticides, which therefore have the effect of killing the parasites. They have an immediate effect, the fleas are eliminated in a few hours, even a few minutes.

The pill the dog ingests will diffuse a poison into the animal’s bloodstream, which the fleas will absorb when biting. This poison will have an effect on the nervous system of the flea which will eventually succumb.

There is however a negative aspect to these tablets since they have no persistence, which means that they have no lasting effect over time. The poison diffusing into the blood, the antibodies present in the dog’s immune system will quickly purge it and make all the molecules disappear. It will therefore be necessary to complete this tablet with a spray or a pipette to completely eliminate the fleas in the long term, in addition to treating the environment with smoke.

Are there any risks with flea tablets for dogs?

With these anti-flea tablets containing poison that will go directly into your dog’s blood, it is indeed not uncommon to see side effects occurring after ingestion. Thus, many dogs exhibit intestinal problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes blood in the stool. More rarely, these tablets can cause anorexia.

Either way, before deciding to give your dog a flea pill, talk to your vet during a consultation.

Precautions with anti-flea tablets for dogs

These flea pills are indeed not for all dogs, as they contain poison. It will therefore be necessary to avoid giving:

How to get your dog to swallow a flea tablet?

These tablets have the advantage of being fairly easy to give. They can easily be concealed in a treat for your dog to accept without even realizing it.

During a meal, you can also hide the tablet in your dog’s kibble or mash but check well after he has finished eating that he has not sorted and that the tablet is not still in the bowl.

Finally, you can simply open your dog’s mouth wide with one hand by putting his head back, while placing the tablet all the way back with the other hand. Then close his mouth, and gently massage his neck so that he swallows it more easily.

The benefits of the anti-flea tablet for dogs

So far, we have seen that flea tablets for dogs have a lot of disadvantages, but it is still important to list the advantages that this method has:

  • Ease of administration: as we saw above, it is easy to administer this tablet to your dog,
  • The speed of the desired effect: being an antiparasitic with immediate effect, a few minutes or a few hours maximum can treat the problem,
  • Child safety: unlike pipettes or flea collars, the tablets do not contain dangerous substances on their surface. You can thus touch the tablet very well without your fingers being impregnated with products afterward. However, it is essential to keep the tablets out of the reach of children.

Conclusion, anti-flea tablets for dogs: good or bad idea?

As we have seen, these tablets have many disadvantages. They often have harmful side effects, they should not be given to the dog in many cases, and often need to be supplemented with other pest control products to be truly effective.

The advantages in return are present but bring more a practical or comfortable side than a real efficiency compared to other products already existing on the market.

Now it’s up to you to make up your own mind, but traditional methods (flea collars, pipettes, spray, etc.) are undoubtedly more effective than tablets.


About Savi

Savi is a regular writer and social activist. She also writes for BBC, Huffington Posts and others.

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