Many dog owners are looking for flea pills for dogs without a vet prescription these days.
There may be several reasons for that. Money, time, or a worry over the chemical composition all play a role.
This post is designed to help you understand the differences in the types of medications available.
This includes pros, cons, benefits and a list of the best flea medication you can buy.
It’s probably fair to say that most of us have had an irritating itch at one time or another.
It’s might be a place on your back that you can’t quite reach, an allergic reaction, or a skin condition that won’t go away.
That constant itch and irritation is exactly what dogs feel when they have fleas.
Fleas are so common it seems that any pets will get them at one time or another. The thing is, that doesn’t have to happen.
The best way to deal with a flea infestation is to avoid one in the first place.
Why Bother Going to the Vet For Flea Medication?
There are many reasons why people would rather not go to the vet. Money, chemical-based prescriptions, and time are all factors.
There are countless non-prescription flea pills on the market these days.
You can get collars, sprays, and topical treatments as well. Some of these over-the-counter treatments are holistic and some contain chemicals.
This post lists the best types of non-prescription flea treatments for dogs.
However, it has to be said that taking your dog to a veterinarian before administering any OTC product is recommended.
WHY? Because there’s a risk that your dog may have an underlying condition.
There could easily be something undiagnosed in your dog. If that’s the case, the risk of adverse effects or even death are greater.
The Trick to Using Non-Prescription Flea Treatments
Fleas are hard to get rid of. They have a 4 stage life cycle that starts with the egg and ends with the adult flea.
Unfortunately, a lot of the non-prescription options only kill the adults fleas.
That means, you’re going to have to use a lot of the product more often. It could take months to fully clear your dog from fleas.
For that reason, you may end up purchasing more of the product which means spending more money. If you decide to go with a non-prescription product, keep in mind that it’s not a one-time dose.
You will need to continue with the product you choose until all traces of fleas are gone.
Once the dog is cleared of fleas, it’s still a good idea to visit the veterinarian to discuss ongoing flea and tick prevention.
You’ll also want the veterinarian to treat your dog for intestinal parasites that can develop when dogs swallow fleas accidentally.
Tapeworm is an example of this.
How to Purchase Non-Prescription Flea Treatments Safely
It’s fair to say that there are always risks of adverse reactions with any medication. Whether it’s prescription medication or OTC products, dogs can have a reaction.
How to Avoid Counterfeit Flea Treatment Products
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, counterfeit pet pesticides are on the market. Unfortunately, they are often made to look just like the commonly used brand names.
When shopping for non-prescription flea treatments for dogs, use the following tips to avoid counterfeits:
- Look for clearly written, English instructions
- Check to see if the product is in child-resistant packaging. If it isn’t, put it back.
- There should be clear instructions for use on the package.
- Are there stickers on the box that cover wording? This could be to try and hide foreign labeling.
- Look for an EPA registration number on the product.
- Avoid products with foreign labels
Prescription Flea Medication vs Non-Prescription Flea Treatments for Dogs
Please consider the following pros and cons when deciding on flea treatments for your dog.
Prescription Flea Treatment – PROS
- Prescription flea treatments contain active ingredients designed to kill fleas AND stops the cycle from continuing.
- They contain active ingredients that continue to work for as long as 3 months.
- Longer acting agents mean you don’t have to apply or administer as often.
- Less time intensive
In addition, many of the newer products also double as tick treatments. These are known as the Isoxazoline class of drugs and include:
- Simparica Trio
Requiring a prescription means that your veterinarian can make safe choices for your dog.
For example, if you have a dog with undiagnosed neurologic disorders or other underlying disease, you may be doing your dog more harm than good.
Products with the addition of tick treatments can protect your dog against Lyme disease (along with other diseases associated with tick bites).
Yes, the tick will latch onto your dog. However, it will die almost instantly. That means the disease-causing secretions don’t have a chance to make your dog sick.
Many prescription-based products will protect your dog from American dog ticks, brown dog tick, lone star ticks, and deer ticks.
Prescription Flea Treatments – CONS
There are only a few cons to prescription treatments. The first one is money.
Prescriptions tend to cost more than over-the-counter flea treatments. That said, remember that you’re going to need to use 3 times the amount of a non-prescription product than you will a prescription.
You’ll also need to make an appointment with a licensed veterinarian. That means paying for the cost of the visit or wellness check plus the cost of the prescription.
Regardless, all dogs should have yearly wellness checks to catch signs of disease early.
Non-Prescription Flea Treatments – PROS
Buying over-the-counter non-prescription flea treatments is easy. There are many websites like Budget Pet World where you can set up an account and get recurring orders.
Other pros of buying non-prescription flea products include:
- Less money
- Experiment with all natural products
Non-Prescription Flea Treatments – CONS
Depending on what you buy, it could take a considerable amount of time to rid your dog of fleas.
These products often only work on adult fleas which means you have to continue using the product regularly for months.
Non prescription products don’t have the same staying power.
Time consuming and labor intensive. Depending on the product, you may need to thoroughly saturate your dog, let it sit, wash the product out, and repeat many times.
Other cons associated with this include:
- Not necessarily FDA approved for use in animals
- Do not protect against disease carrying ticks
- The longer there are fleas on your dog, the more chance they have of spreading through your home.
- The longer fleas take residence on your dog, the greater the risk of your dog developing intestinal parasites.
Top Suggestions for Non-Prescription Flea Medications
The following flea treatment options are categorized by mode of administration.
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- Kills disease carrying fleas and ticks
- Works continuously, even when wet
- For dogs and puppies
- measure for size
Flea Pills (oral treatments)
- Efficient single-dose
- Fast acting
- Kills adult fleas
- Can safely give another dose as often as once per day
- It’s recommended to follow-up with a monthly flea control product.
- Oral soft chew
- Fast Acting
- Easy to administer
- Begins working within one hour
- Can purchase a formula for very small dogs
Topical Flea Medications
- Vet recommended
- Begins working within 12 hours
- Kills flea eggs, flea larvae, and adult fleas
- Waterproof formula
- Continues working for up to 4 weeks
- Not safe for cats
- Eliminates tick and flea population
- Kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
- Waterproof formula
- For dogs only
- Kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice
- Powerful formula kills up to 100% of existing fleas in the first 12 hours.
- Works continuously up to one month.
- Prevents the development of new fleas by destroying flea eggs and larvae.
- Kills all four major tick species.
- Waterproof formula
- Kills 98% – 100% of fleas on dogs within 12 hours
- Protection for up to 4 weeks
- Repels and kills common ticks and mosquitoes
- Water-resistant, easy to apply
Flea & Tick Shampoos
- Rich lather
- concentrated shampoo
- kills adults fleas and ticks on contact
- removes loose dandruff dirt and scales
- for sensitive skin
- contains .15% pyrethrin to kill fleas and ticks on contact.
- smells great
- formulated for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens aged 12 weeks and older
- concentrated lathering shampoo
- leaves coat shiny and smooth
- contains insect growth regulator
- provides 28 days of control over pre-adult fleas before they become biting adults
- removes loos dandruff, dirt, and scales
- formulated for dogs and cats older than 12 weeks
- kills fleas and ticks on contact
- cleans coat
- smells great
- rinses easily
- can be used on a variety of species including horses and ferrets
- contains .15% pyrethrins
Summing it Up
Treating fleas in dogs can be challenging and time-consuming.
The best way to go is through the veterinarian. That way, they can assess your dog for any health problems before making a recommendation.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with choosing flea pills for dogs without a vet prescription either.
Just be careful when following the instructions. If you have other pets in the house, you will want to know whether it’s safe for them to be around.
Fleas and ticks are vectors of serious disease and need to be removed and then prevented year round.
Hand-Picked Reading For You
We thought you might like these next posts as a follow-up to this. Enjoy!
23 Things You Need to Know About Lyme Disease in Dogs
Anaplasmosis in Dogs: 5 No-Fail Ways to Prevent Tick Bites
Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Dogs? 5 Reasons to Reconsider