How Do I Choose the Best Flea Pills?

Amanda Barnhart

If your pet has a flea issue, giving it flea pills is often a necessary set of the process to getting rid of fleas for good. Most flea pills do not kill adult fleas, but they do prevent new fleas from hatching from eggs and emerging from larvae. Some flea medications contain other drugs to protect your pet against other parasites, such as heartworms. When choosing a flea pill, it is important to select one appropriate for your pet's size and type, and some medications come in flavored varieties to make giving them to your pet easier. Talk with your veterinarian before giving your pet flea pills if it has a medical condition or has been sensitive to flea medications in the past.

Cat with fleas.
Cat with fleas.

Flea pills come in separate varieties for dogs and cats. While the medications contained in these pills are similar, it is important not to give a medication to a pet for which it is not intended. If you have both dogs and cats, you should purchase different flea pills for each. The pills also come in different strengths for your pet's weight. If you are unsure which strength to purchase, check with your veterinarian or weigh your pet yourself.

Some flea pills will prevent new ones from hatching, but may not kill adult fleas.
Some flea pills will prevent new ones from hatching, but may not kill adult fleas.

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Oral flea medications are typically given once a month to help break the life cycle of existing fleas and prevent new flea problems from occurring. Some animals reject pills, so choosing a medication with a food flavoring, such as beef or fish, may make it easier to get your pet to swallow them. Flea pills that contain heartworm control medication are excellent choices because they prevent you from having to give your pet two pills each month.

Some flea pills only prevent new fleas from hatching, and do not kill adult fleas. These medications provide a good alternative if you have difficulty applying topical flea medications or if you have young children or other pets that could be exposed to a topical product. Checking the instructions on pills that kill adult fleas is important, as some are given once per month and others are given as needed to quickly kill existing fleas.

Pets can have adverse reactions to the chemicals and medications found in some flea pills. If your pet seems lethargic, salivates excessively, has difficulty breathing, vomits, or does not eat, see an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. While most allergies and negative reactions to flea medications can be handled appropriately by a veterinarian, some can be life-threatening if prompt care is not given.

A veterinarian can help a person decide which flea treatment best for their pets.
A veterinarian can help a person decide which flea treatment best for their pets.

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