Oral Flea and Tick Control for Dogs

Much progress has been made in veterinary medicine with regards to flea and tick control for dogs. These tiny parasites attach themselves to your pet's body and transmit many diseases and worm infections. Since they're carriers of infection, many manufacturers have created formulas that kill adult fleas, flea and tick larvae, and their eggs. However, some fleas and ticks have become resistant to these formulas and still multiply. As a result, pet owners are left to deal with recurring flea and tick infections and numerous pet illnesses.

Oral Flea and Tick Control Medications

While some flea and tick control formulas are available as topical solutions that need to be applied directly to the pet's skin, other medications are available in the form of tablets that need to be taken once a month. Some manufacturers have also formulated oral tablets that can be administered daily, until the flea or tick problem has been resolved.

Instead of administering such over the counter drugs on a daily basis, it's best to learn more about the various oral medications that are available and their overall effectiveness.

Oral Medications Include:

  • Capstar
  • Comfortis
  • Program 
  • Sentinel


Capstar contains an active ingredient known as nitenpyram. It's available in two potencies and kills fleas half an hour after it has been ingested. Although it works well to eliminate adult fleas, the medication has no effect on ticks and has to be combined with another flea medication for maximum effectiveness. The active ingredient that's contained in this formula is meant to act on the nervous system of adult fleas. The medication doesn't kill flea eggs or larvae, so there's a chance of recurring infections.


Comfortis is a chewable tablet that has a distinct beef flavor which makes it palatable to pets. It has to be taken once a month. The active ingredient spinosad kills adult fleas and destroys flea eggs and larvae. It doesn't destroy active tick infections, but protects your pet from developing recurring flea infections. Since it's a prescription drug, it should only be used under veterinary supervision.


Program is another oral flea medication that needs to be given once every month. While the medication kills flea eggs and larvae, it has no effect on adult fleas or ticks. The medication is often used in conjunction with Capstar in order to kill adult fleas and control future infections. It contains the active ingredient lufenuron, and is considered safe for use on dogs that are older than 4 weeks.


Sentinel contains Milbemycin Oxime. This medication not only protects your pet from flea infections, but also prevents your dog from suffering from worm infections like heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Sentinel can also be used in combination with Capstar for added flea protection. Since every pet responds differently to medications, it's best to administer combination doses after obtaining vet approval.

Most medications that target fleas and ticks together are available in the form of topical solutions, sprays and dips. If you're looking for an oral medication that works for flea and tick control for dogs, talk with your vet, because you may require a prescription for it.