I've used collars and the oil you drop on the skin that get's absorbed into the bloodstream thereby killing the ticks. I have noticed my older lab does not react well the topical treatment. She get's lethargic for a few days and may have some intestinal reaction, diarrhea or very soft BM's.

Due to her age and declining health I am feeling a bit of aversion giving the topical treatment this season.

I am wondering what the active ingredient in the oral medication is and if it's safe for older dogs?

She is 13 years old and still chugging. :-)

  • Spot on solutions and work by being transported through the fur, I don't think they work with the blood flow. As far as I know, oral stuff uses similar components. Have you tried using oils? Especially black cumin seed oil and coconut oil work rather good as deterrents when rubbed in our given orally. Just make sure the oil is unfiltered/cold pressed.
    – Mario
    Jun 3, 2016 at 6:32
  • AFIK from my vet and research the oils you put on their back are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream. When a tick consumes the blood it disables their respiratory system and kills them. The oral medication is purported to work in the same fashion.
    – Citizen
    Jun 3, 2016 at 6:37
  • The active components are in the fat of the skin (at least for the products I know). They might get there through the blood though. The basic idea is to kill ticks before they can such any blood (and potentially infect the pet).
    – Mario
    Jun 3, 2016 at 7:07
  • I have a situation where I already have ticks and have not used any anti-tick medication due to health reasons.
    – Citizen
    Jun 3, 2016 at 7:30
  • Collars and medicine are for prevention only. If the ticks are already stuck on the pet, there are special tools to remove them - usually just a few bucks. In theory, you could just wait for them to drop, but that might imply further health risks.
    – Mario
    Jun 3, 2016 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure this is what you are looking for, but two brands of oral anti-tick/flea medicine for dogs are:

  1. Capstar Flea Killer - contains Nitenpyram
  2. Comfortis - contains Spinosad

Nitenpyram on Wikipedia:

Nitenpyram is an insecticide used in agriculture and veterinary medicine to kill external parasites of pets. It is a neonicotinoid, a neurotoxin that blocks neural messages and binds particularly tightly in the central nervous system of insects, causing rapid death.

It has been used orally in dogs, cats and some wildlife species for over 10 years. After ingestion, it begins killing adult fleas within 10 to 30 minutes and continues to kill fleas for 4 to 6 hours. The effects of nitenpyram last approximately 24–48 hours. Nitenpyram is safe to use on puppies and kittens as young as four weeks old if they weigh at least 2 pounds (0.91 kg). Panting and excitement, as well as other symptoms, have been noted in cats and dogs within 2 hours of administration. In heavily infested animals, it can cause extreme itching as the fleas die. There is no antidote for Nitenpyram poisoning.

Nitenpyram does not kill insect eggs and has no long-term activity. Thus, it is not effective as a long-term flea preventative. It is used to kill adult fleas quickly on an infested animal, and combined with a longer-term flea preventative like fipronil or lufenuron to prevent reinfestation.

Spinosad on Wikipedia

Spinosad has been used around the world for the control of a variety of insect pests, including Lepidoptera, Diptera, Thysanoptera, Coleoptera, Orthoptera, and Hymenoptera, and many others. It was first registered as a pesticide in the United States for use on crops in 1997. Its labeled use rate is set at 1 ppm (1 mg a.i./kg of grain) and its maximum residue limit (MRL) or tolerance is set at 1.5 ppm. Spinosad’s widespread commercial launch was deferred, awaiting final MRL or tolerance approvals in a few remaining grain-importing countries. It is considered a natural product, thus is approved for use in organic agriculture by numerous nations. Two other uses for spinosad are for pets and humans. Spinosad has recently been used in oral preparations to treat C. felis, the cat flea, in canines and felines; the optimal dose set for canines is reported to be 30 mg/kg.

Trade names include Comfortis and Trifexis (which also includes milbemycin oxime) (both brands treat adult fleas on pets; the latter also prevents heartworm disease), and Natroba (for human head lice). It is commonly used to kill thrips.

I'm going to make a bit of a personal statement here, I think. As you read both of the above descriptions, you might notice that the medicine used in both of the above medications is designed really for the immediate killing of fleas and ticks, in the short term. Wanting to make your pet's remaining years more comfortable and less medicated is a great ideal, but neither of these products are going to be long lasting enough to act as a preventative.

Really, your choices need to be limited (for a preventative solution) to topical oils and/or collars.


The name of the drug is Bravecto

The active ingredient is Furalaner.

Here is it's safety study.

It enters the bloodstream and has efficacy for up to 8 weeks. Ticks that consume the blood of the host ingest by proxy the insecticide which effects their respiratory system

Here is the FDA application for approval from May 15, 2014.

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