There are so many different flea products on the veterinary market these days, it can be hard to know which to choose for your dog and why. However, despite so many options, there is often at least one product that will suit all dogs- even those who are tricky to medicate! 

The main aim of all flea control is to kill fleas that are on the dog. It is important to kill fleas quickly before their life cycle from an egg to an adult flea can be completed and an infestation develops. The flea life cycle can take as little as 12 to 14 days or as long as 180 days. Under typical household conditions, a complete life cycle usually takes three to six weeks.

Applying the spot-on flea treatment

Get everything ready.

Open the pipette so it is ready as soon as you need it. Read the instructions about how to open it first, as they can be fiddly. Most lids twist off, others need to be pulled off.

Locate the shoulder blades.

Treats are always a good bribe! While your dog is eating them, find the skin area between the shoulder blades. Part the hair so that you can see as much skin as possible. To be effective, most of the liquid should reach the skin, so try not to get too much on your dog’s coat.

Direct skin contact.

Apply all the liquid onto your dog’s skin until the pipette is empty. You may need to do this in one or more areas, depending on the size of your dog and the volume of the liquid — the product instructions will tell you what to do. Do not rub it in. Let it gently seep into the skin.

And praise.

When you are done, reward your dog with more treats and praise. Safely dispose of the pipette as advised and wash your hands.

How to give a flea tablet

If you need to give your dog a tablet and it cannot go in their food, follow these steps to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.


If your dog is small, sit them on a non-slip surface such as a bathmat or towel and ask someone to gently (but firmly) hold them from behind. If you are on your own, hold them against your body, facing away from you.

Or if your dog is large, sit them on the floor, with their bum against the wall or being held by your helper.

Open your dog’s mouth.

  • Hold the tablet between your thumb and first finger with one hand, then gently wrap your other hand around the top of your dog’s nose.
  • Slowly tilt your dog’s head upwards until their nose is facing the ceiling.
  • Using the hand that is holding the tablet, gently pull your dog’s lower jaw down from the front to open their mouth.

Place the tablet in your dog’s mouth.

  • Place the tablet as far back on your dog’s tongue as possible. Be quick but also gentle and be careful not to get bitten. Avoid dropping the pill into the back of their mouth as this might cause them to gag.

Help your dog swallow the tablet.

  • Gently hold your dog’s mouth closed and stroke their throat to help them swallow. Sometimes it helps to syringe a small amount of water into the side of their mouth.
  • If your dog licks their lips this is a good sign that they have swallowed the tablet.

Treat your dog.

Once your dog has swallowed their pill, reward them with a treat, game, or praise.

Hopefully, they will start to associate being given pills with something nice which can make it easier with time. Do not forget to wash your hands afterwards or wear gloves if your vet or the medication instructions tells you to.

Why choose a flea spot on

They are quick and easy to apply. There is no need to fight with your dog to get tablets into them. There are assorted products available; some covering for fleas only, others for fleas, ticks, and other types of ectoparasites, and further products that extend their range of cover to internal parasites (like intestinal worms) as well. Some are also useful as repellents to help prevent mosquito bites. This can be important if you are considering travelling abroad with your dog. 

What are the disadvantages of a spot on?

Many dogs do not like the smell of the liquids and can become difficult when wanting to apply the product. It is also important to think if there are other animals in the household as they may lick the site of application. Several products can be poisonous to cats if the cat ingests the liquid,

In addition, if your dog likes water, it can be tricky to know when to apply the product, so it does not get washed out before your dog is protected. Not only this, but some – especially non-prescription forms – are also toxic to aquatic ecosystems.

Benefits of flea tablets

Tablet flea treatments can be a wonderful choice for those dogs who do not mind taking a tablet or who are frequent swimmers/like the water. They also often have an extended length of action.

What are the disadvantages of a flea tablet?

One disadvantage of using tablet flea treatment is the need to administer a tablet to your dog.

However, whilst products are getting ever more sophisticated with their flavourings, there are still dogs that are exceedingly difficult to get tablets into. Similarly, dogs with sensitive tummies, which require a specific diet or that have underlying organ dysfunction, might not be candidates for tablet flea treatment, as it must be digested and absorbed. 

There are numerous flea treatments available and treat a number of other parasites too. Assorted products also have different lengths of intervals between treatments, so it is important to ensure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and seek guidance from your vet or SQP.

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