Oral Flea Treatment Most Effective in Dogs

This is a guest blog post by Jon Clarke at Aussie Professional Pest Control Sunshine Coast. Thank-you Jon!


Veterinary scientists discovered that oral flea treatment is significantly better at controlling fleas in dogs versus a topical treatment.

In a study published in the January 2013 issue of Veterinary Parasitology, scientists compared which was more effective of the two most popular veterinary flea treatments for dogs: oral spinosad (commonly found in Comfortis) or fipronil/(S)-methoprene topical (commonly found in Frontline).

Leggy beagle / hound type dog scratching.

The test group included 128 dogs with a minimum body count of ten fleas in clinics across the states of Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas. The dogs were randomly assigned to a treatment type, and administered either the oral or topical treatment at home. Any other dogs or cats in the house also received the same treatment over the course of the study, with a maximum of 4 total animals allowed in the house.

At 30, 60, and 90 days, the dogs were brought into their clinic to receive the same treatment and to have their fleas counted. What is most compelling about his research is that over the course of the 90 days of the study, while the topical treatment was 88.4% effective at killing the fleas the oral treatment was 99.9% effective. The oral treatment effectively wiped out the flea infestation and the comparison with the topical treatment was highly statistically significant. Veterinary scientists agree, the oral treatment is the most effective when it comes to killing fleas on dogs.


So what does this study mean?

For pet owners, clearly, oral spinosad treatment is very effective at killing fleas and may be one of the most effective ways to rid yourself of fleas on pets.

For those in the pet control industry, all pest control experts need to not only be aware of how to rid a home of fleas by using various methods, but also how to help the homeowner make sure that they never come back. Suggesting that pet owners talk about oral flea medication with their veterinarian will not only help cure the flea issue, but will also help ensure future business for you as a pest professional through word of mouth regarding your expertise. It is only through this type of expertise and multifaceted approach to pest control, that you can truly rid a home of fleas for good.

Additionally, all veterinarians may not be aware of this very recent study, and suggesting this approach to them could save the pet owner money as well.

Regardless of who you are, a 99.9% efficacy sounds like the best option for everyone!


This helpful academic review was written by Jon Clarke at Aussie Professional Pest Control Sunshine Coast



Dryden, M., Ryan, W., Bell, M., Rumschlag, A., Young, L., & Snyder, D. (2013). Assessment of owner-administered monthly treatments with oral spinosad or topical spot-on fipronil/(S)-methoprene in controlling fleas and associated pruritus in dogs Veterinary Parasitology, 191 (3-4), 340-346 DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.09.003

11 thoughts on “Oral Flea Treatment Most Effective in Dogs

  1. My house has done battle with fleas. Frontline was not effective in the least. It wasn’t until we found the pills Program and Capstar that we started to win and as a huge bonus those 2 have almost zero possible side effects listed. Unfortunately once the damage of the ineffective Frontline was done, we are still finding the occasional flea once a month or so. Those damn things can stay unhatched for months!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Laura. I have found Frontline close to ineffective, too. (It used to work really well for my dogs – then stopped working, seemingly overnight.)

  2. I have an active Labrador and a cat who lives as part of the family and goes into many different environments.
    Prevention is easier than a fix. Once there is a problem, at the very least the entire house needs bombing monthly for about 3 months, even if the dog/cat is outside. Cover any fish and animal tanks and open ALL cupboards, draws and wardrobes (except food) each time. Wash ALL bedding with a flee treatment in hot water and meticulously clean the house. A full multi layered attack for 3 months should clear an infestation. If it doesn’t, a pest controler and veterinary intervention is required. A pet hair vacuume cleaner is a good investment, but only if it is used.
    Once clear, it is relatively easy to stay clear. I have found the best way to do this is by using a different product each time, not forgetting the worming and tics. It is also easier on the hip pocket if you are willing to bath, powder ect between spot ons. Flee colars have their place, but not reliable and year round use is not advised because of the chemicals and safety issues. Some people say planting lavender will deter flees in the garden.
    Knowing environmental cycles helps. Experience has me able to ease off in the cold winter, but ramp it up in the spring.
    It might sound common sense, but it is easy to get complacent when you don’t see flees and the naked human eye can’t see eggs. Waiting for the scratch or seeing a flee is demanding of immediate action. Prevention is truely easier and financially sound. Flees can be anywhere, living in the home, garden, beach or park, particularly on other cats/dogs they pass in the street or play with.
    Hope it helps.

  3. I used to give my dig Oreo a heart wormer & flea Med CHEWABLE PRESCRIBED BY MY VET ( NO LONGER AVAILABLE( HE SAYS) THAT WORKED THE Best !! What was it?

  4. how do I get this oral medication?

    we have three dogs, and the smallest is absolutely infested

    I put hartz flea medication between his shoulder blades, and the others as well. and bathed. still fleas

  5. I was also using oral medication for my dogs for fleas prevention as also advised by a pest control professional we had when were infested with fleas. Indeed we saved a lot! I also maintain cleanliness inside and outside the house to prevent another infestation.

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