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Capstar for Dogs: Uses and Where To Buy

Updated on November 21, 2013
How Capstar works and best deals.
How Capstar works and best deals. | Source

There is nothing worse than your dog itching and scratching and yet you can't seem to make the fleas go away. Treating fleas can be very expensive even though there are some great medications out there. If you have to add the cost of a vet visit into the expense as well then your costs may get into several hundred dollars.

While there are many great prescription flea medications out there, you can also get some effective flea medications over the counter. One of the best, over the counter, non-topical is the Capstar pill.

How Does Capstar Work?

According to Pet Informed, Capstar contains an ingredient called Nitenpyram which, once ingested by the dog, becomes toxic to fleas. The chemical is actually related to nicotine.

The ingredient then enters the blood stream of the dog. When the fleas bite to ingest the blood, they get a dose of the chemical which attacks the insect's nervous system and kills them nearly instantly.

The insecticide effect lasts for about 24 hours--giving your dog and you some relief from the itching.

How To Use Capstar

Capstar does not build up in the dog's system so it is safe to use daily for as long as it is needed. But it is not really a good long-term solution to a dog's flea problem.

The best way to use Capstar is in conjunction with some other treatment plan for fleas. Capstar can be safely combined with both over the counter and prescription flea treatments. But if you are looking for all over the counter products, you can still effectively treat your dog's flea problem.

Other over the counter flea control methods to consider using with Capstar include the following:

Over the Counter Flea Medications That Can Be Used With Capstar Pills

(click column header to sort results)
Flea Treatment  
Over the Counter Topicals
No Vet Visit Needed
May Not Be As Strong As Vet Prescribed Medications
Flea Shampoo
Cheap and Easy to Use
May Not Protect Your Dog from re infestation unless used several times a week.
Over the Counter Flea Collar
Quick to Put On. Starts working immediately
Some chemicals in flea collars cause nervous system damage or are carcinogenic
Flea Comb
Can comb out active fleas and flea eggs
May not work on dogs with dryer or longer fur. Must be done daily.
Capstar can make other flea treatments more effective.

Why use Capstar if you need to use something else as well?

Even though it may add a little bit of expense, one of the reasons that you should consider using Capstar with another treatment method is that Capstar gives any other treatment a kick start.

Even over the counter topicals such as Revolution or Advantage can take hours to half a day to work.

By killing all the active fleas, you give the medication time to work and give your dog more relief than just using the topical alone. Once the new flea eggs, that are in the environment begin to hatch, the other medication is in place and killing the newly emergent fleas.

You can also give Capstar for several days in a row with no adverse effects. So as you are fighting fleas and the flea cycle, Capstar is insuring that the adult fleas do not live long enough to lay eggs and set the environment up for a new generation of fleas.

Dogs with long, thick fur may not respond as well to other over the counter flea medications and treatments.
Dogs with long, thick fur may not respond as well to other over the counter flea medications and treatments. | Source

How To Give Capstar

Capstar is a pill that can be administered in the same way you may administer other medication to your dog. You can give it to the dog directly by opening their mouth and dropping it in the back of their throat or you can hide the pill.

Some of the ways to disguise the pill include:

  • Putting it in a pill pocket
  • Hiding it inside human food such as cheese or bread
  • Putting it into a small amount of canned food

If you use any of these methods, make sure that the dog actually takes the pill and does not spit it out. You can also easily tell if the dog has truly ingested the pill because the fleas will begin to fall off pretty soon after the dog ingests Capstar. It enters the blood stream quickly.

Where Can I Buy Capstar?

In the United States, Capstar can be purchased

  • online
  • at your vet's office
  • at a pet supply store

You want to make sure that you are purchasing the Capstar from a reputable organization that you can trust. I have found that the prices for the product can vary wildly from one supplier to the next.


I have found consistently that Amazon usually offers the cheapest prices on Capstar. It often costs as much as five to seven dollars less per box than the next cheapest method. When you are ordering the medication, make sure to purchase the correct size for your dog. It is not recommended that you split a larger dog pill for a smaller dog based on the way the chemical in the medication is distributed in your dog's bloodstream.

Vet Office

Surprisingly, my vet's office was the next cheapest place to purchase Capstar. If your vet office also sells over the counter products, it does not hurt to stop by or call them and find out how much the Capstar will cost per box. You should not need to schedule an appointment but some vets may not sell you the product unless you are an established patient. Be sure to ask.

Pet Supply Store

I found that pet supply stores such as PetCo or PetSmart were actually the most expensive place to buy a box of Capstar. Their price was up to ten dollars more than the Amazon price and a few dollars more than my vet's price. It's a good option if you need it immediately, but if you can hold off for a few days, buying it online is probably your cheapest option.


While any kind of chemical or pesticide has the risk of side effects. the ingredients in Capstar do not accumulate in the body and are discarded mostly through their urine.

Capstar has been on the market for years and the results show that it is a clear, short term solution to flea problems.

While you will always find the crowd that believes that natural flea control is the only way to go, the truth is that flea products that have been developed over the past few years are fantastic for both getting rid of and controlling fleas. For the first time ever in pet ownership, it is possible to have a dog without fleas.

While natural ingredients may be something you can try, sometimes adding a little bit of science to your flea control problems is a good idea.

As always, if you have any concerns about treating your dog's flea problem, it is best to talk with your vet and find out what he or she recommends for your particular situation. You should also, always carefully follow label instructions.

Fighting fleas in dogs is a process. Be patient!
Fighting fleas in dogs is a process. Be patient! | Source

Other Tips For Fighting Fleas

Using Capstar pills in conjunction with another over the counter product can make your dog and your home flea free in a short period of time. It is important though to remember to take proactive steps to clean up anywhere that flea eggs may hide.

During an active flea infestation, fleas lay eggs in the dog's fur. These eggs then can fall off and stick to bedding, carpet or even hide around baseboards.

Once you begin treating your dog, make sure that you wash all its bedding, vacuum thoroughly and consider a flea spray to use around the baseboards. Depending on how bad your flea infestation is, you may need to repeat this daily to every few days.

The usual life cycle of a flea from egg to adult flea is about three weeks. But flea eggs can lie dormant for even longer than that. It's sometimes tough not to get discouraged as you are fighting fleas.

Some people even use Capstar weekly or every few days until they feel they've gotten the flea infestation under control. Since the product is not cumulative, this can be a safe alternative.

What Flea Treatment Methods Do You Use For Your Dog?

See results

Take Aways

  • Capstar is an effective over the counter product.
  • It is safe to use.
  • Use it in conjunction with another method for best results.
  • Make sure to buy the correct size for your dog.
  • Amazon usually has the best deals on the product.
  • Make sure to treat the dog's environment while you are treating the dog.

We have had good luck using Capstar in combination with topicals. My vet's office, where I also board my dog, often gives the dogs that are boarded there a Capstar when they come to stay at the kennel. They find it to be a quick method to get rid of fleas and keep their facility flea-free. This product can really help in your fight against fleas.

A Vet Offers Tips for Giving Your Dog A Pill


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