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Best Flea Drops for Dogs - Most Effective Brands

Ugh, fleas. The most well-known issue with having dogs. And with so many different treatments available, it can be confusing: how do you choose the right one? Among all those options, however, dog flea drops is the most popular due to their convenience, simplicity and effectiveness.

Some previous reports erroneously showed that fleas develop tolerance to anti-flea drops after prolonged use. However, the veterinary community was quick to explain the misunderstanding. The scientific consensus today is that fleas are not resistant to flea treatments, and what pet owners are seeing are likely re-infestation of new fleas.

Aside from flea drops for dogs, there are many other flea preventatives to choose from: flea collars and sprays, flea shampoos and topical treatments. If you failed to prevent fleas and your dog now has fleas, you may need to look for electric flea traps, DIY flea traps, carpet flea sprays and flea powders to treat your home to avoid re-infestation.

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How to Choose a Safe Dog Flea Treatment

To make these treatments effective at killing fleas, they must contain certain chemicals. However, some flea treatments contain toxic substances that can make your dog ill, cause more skin irritation than the fleas themselves, or even lead to certain types of cancers.

Some topical flea treatments for dogs have been linked to serious health issues in dogs. Thus, it's important that you observe your dog closely for the first 24-48 hours after applying any topical flea treatment. Symptoms to watch for that may indicate your dog was poisoned by those flea products include:

  • SalivatingBest Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Hiding
  • Shivering
  • Skin irritation

A study done in 2008 by the Center for Public Integrity found at least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot-on treatments containing pyrethroids were reported to the EPA. These topical treatments account for more than half of “major” pesticide pet reactions reported to EPA over those same five years. Major reactions included those involving serious medical reactions like brain damage, violent seizures and heart attacks.

Unfortunately, there are no chemical based flea and tick treatments that would be very effective and 100% safe with no possible side effects. All-natural treatments are unlikely to be effective, and the scientific community recommends sticking with proven options. Below are some of the best flea drops for dogs that have a proven track record.

The Best Flea Drops for Dogs

1Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control
by Merial Frontline

Merial's Frontline Plus flea drops for dogs help in addressing the problem by breaking the fleas’ life cycle to stop infestation. It contains fipronil and S-methoprene, both highly-potent pesticides.

Fipronil, which is a very popular insecticide, will kill all adult fleas exposed to it, while S-methoprene will prevent flea eggs from developing into adults. A pack contains 3 doses, which should be adequate in keeping your dog flea-free and tick-free for 3 months. This is formulated for dogs at least 8 weeks old.

We were expecting this thing to work at least closer to 18 hours after application, because that’s what was written on the product's packaging. However, the fleas started falling like they were mass murdered within a few hours. Two days later and fleas were still falling. Fleas and ticks will keep away for about a month with Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control, then it’s time again for another dose. With three doses in a row, all eggs and pupae will have been exposed and completely eradicated.

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Frontline is our favorite among the best flea drops for dogs and the product is worth the price tag. It certainly gets the job done fast, and there's a reason why it's currently the most popular brand on the market. It stays long on the skin, and its residual potency wards off unwelcome guests for the rest of the month. For really heavily infested areas, a year-round once-monthly treatment might be necessary, however.

PROS:

  • Contains fipronil and S-methoprene (highly effective pesticides)
  • Can be used on dogs over 8 weeks old
  • Effectively controls fleas, flea eggs, lice and ticks
CONS:

  • Contains fipronil and S-methoprene, both harmful pesticides (necessary for the product to be effective)

 

2Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment
by Bayer Animal Health

The second recommended dog flea drops brand, K9 Advantix II from Bayer contains imidaclopid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. The first two ingredients kill flea adults and larvae almost instantly, while pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator (IGR), prevents eggs from developing into adults.

Bayer works similarly to what was described above. While Frontline remains our favorite, some other pet owners prefer Bayer over other brands they’ve tried before because it works even after it gets wet, such as when a dog rushes out to swim or unexpectedly gets rained on.

Once the fleas are exposed to it, they stop biting within the first few hours of application, and several hours later, they start to die and fall off. You’d know that Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Control Treatment works fast because pets stop scratching almost instantly.

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In regions known to be susceptible to thick flea infestations like the one we live in, it's best to keep this close by year-round but especially during the flea season. This pack is formulated for dogs heavier than 55 pounds but other formulations are available for dogs as small as 4 pounds.

PROS:

  • Contains imidaclopid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen – all highly effective pesticides
  • Kills all life stages of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes
  • Waterproof
CONS:

  • Contains imidaclopid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen – harmful chemicals (needed to kill off fleas and ticks)

 

3PetArmor Plus Topical Dog Flea Treatment
by PETARMOR

PetArmor for dogs is again similar to most other top flea drops for dogs, but it’s significantly cheaper. Its active ingredient is Fipronil (like Frontline), a broad-spectrum insecticide that is used in the control of fleas, ticks, and other insects.

PetArmor is fast-acting and works within 24-48 hours after application. It kills adult fleas and ticks and disables them from biting and possibly transmitting diseases. Fipronil stays in the oils and hair follicles of the dog’s skin and remains potent for about a month.

We were actually surprised at its efficacy, considering the price. This does the job almost as well as expensive anti-flea topical solutions, but a little slower. PetArmor Dog Flea Drops should work in severe cases of flea infestation too; however, it mostly kills adult fleas and does less for larvae. This is the most cost-effective flea treatment available.

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Neither we nor other pet owners that reviewed this noticed any ill effects on their pets when testing these dog flea drops. One specific dog owner observed correctly that as long as the instructions were followed and this wasn’t used on pets below 8 weeks old or those not within the specified weight bracket, PetArmor would work safely and in full effect.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Active ingredient is Fipronil – an effective pesticide
  • Kills fleas, ticks and lice
  • Effective within 24-48 hours after application
  • Protects for about a month
CONS:

  • Active ingredient is Fipronil
  • Slower than expensive brands
  • Only effective on adult fleas

 

4Vectra 3D Purple Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs
by Vectra 3D

Vectra 3D is a topical anti-flea drug that kills on contact within 6-12 hours of application. It collects on the skin’s oils to provide extended effect over 30 days. This anti-parasitic solution contains dinotefuran, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. The first two ingredients kill the flea adults and larvae within 6 hours.

Pyriproxyfen damages the flea eggs’ ability to become adults. Vectra 3D Purple is safe for dogs at least 8 weeks old. Other colors are available for smaller dogs. It comes with a patented applicator, and a pack is good for 6 monthly doses.

This flea solution will be of great help to people living in wooded regions and other flea hotspots. Monthly doses, though, must be given for 6 consecutive months to completely eliminate the parasites. A pack of this topical flea solution includes all 6 doses, so there’s no reason why application could not be sustained.

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This is a broad-spectrum drug designed for long-term use so it’s the type of choice for areas infested with several pests including ticks, mosquitoes, sand flies, lice, and mites. Note that some dogs were observed to unusually drool on the first day of application, but no other side effects were noted. The price is also very competitive.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Kills fleas just 6 hours after applicataion
  • Contains dinotefuran, permethrin and pyriproxyfen – all highly effective pesticides
  • Effective for 30 days
  • Can be used on canines 8 weeks or older
CONS:

  • Monthly doses must be given for 6 consecutive months to completely eradicate fleas
  • Drooling as possible side effect

 

5Advecta 3 Flea Drops for Dogs
by Advecta

Last of our top rated flea drops for dogs is Advecta 3 – another well-regarded topical solution. There are different formulations for dogs and cats made by this brand. In no case should Advecta 3 be used for dogs less than 7 weeks old. The active ingredients are pyriproxyfen and imidacloprid. The topical solution works within 12 hours of application and provides protection against re-infestation for up to 4 weeks.

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Advecta 3 Flea Treatment isn’t greasy and it absorbs fast. It is water-resistant and works even when dogs go swimming afterwards. We assume it’s gentle on animals because even our hypersensitive pooch doesn’t react negatively to it. It’s definitely quick-acting, and in some cases, fleas will start falling off about 2-4 hours after application.

It’s a once-a-month application like Frontline, and it’s simple to use: one squeeze does it. A pack is good for use through 4 straight months to ensure that you fight fleas without letup and prevent reemergence. This is an affordable flea treatment and even more so when ordered over Amazon.

PROS:

  • Can be used on dogs over 8 weeks old
  • Active ingredients are pyriproxyfen and imidacloprid – both effective pesticides
  • Begins protecting your pet within 12 hours of application
  • Works for up to 4 weeks
CONS:

  • Active ingredients are pyriproxyfen and imidacloprid – both harmful chemicals

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Best Flea Drops for Dogs That Are Safe and Effective

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