Best Flea and Tick Prevention Medication for Dogs

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Before a dangerous bloodsucker’s bite causes a serious health problem for your dog, arm your precious pet with proper protection. Here are the best flea and tick prevention medication products for dogs!

Fleas and ticks are not “just” bloodthirsty parasites. As if the fact that they’ll send your dog into a scratching frenzy isn’t enough to make them a nuisance, both ticks and fleas can cause serious health issues. If your pooch swallows a flea when trying to bite the itchiness away (and he will), he will get infested with tapeworms. Anemia, hot spots, and Bartonella infection are also possibilities for dogs infested with fleas.

Ticks are even worse- from paralysis to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and many other potentially fatal conditions, there’s no shortage to troubles these tiny bloodsuckers could cause. To avoid having to deal with the dangerous and often costly consequences of flea and tick infestations, it’s best to rely on flea and tick prevention medication.

What To Do To Repel Ticks from Dogs?

The best way to make sure your four-legged companion doesn’t contract a serious tick-borne disease is to use tick prevention medication. Really, there is no other way to be safe. But, even after you’ve applied the spot on or secured the collar, your job is not done. Sometimes, these products can malfunction and you’ll unknowingly leave your pet vulnerable. This often happens when the flea and tick prevention medication is not applied properly. For instance, your pet might have vomited his chewable treatment before it got absorbed, or they’ve been in the rain or swimming shortly after their spot on was applied. Mistakes happen, it’s only natural, so always make sure to be vigilant, even with the necessary precautions taken.

Avoid areas with tall grass or shrubby wooded areas where ticks could be thriving. Regularly inspect your pet for signs of ticks and if you happen to spot one- remove it properly and keep the dead tick so your vet could identify it if need be.

What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas?

Dog fleas are a common occurrence- and an extremely frustrating one, as well. These tiny parasites make a home in your dog’s fur, feeding on their blood and making your pet’s life miserable in the process. The lifespan of a dog flea is between one and two weeks, but they reproduce and multiply at an alarming rate, so if you spot a few of them on your pet’s coat, you can bet they’ll turn to dozens in a blink of an eye. Needless to say, no pooch likes the biting of the fleas, which results in incessant scratching licking and counter-biting in an effort to exterminate the pests that are bothering them.

In the best-case scenario, the dog will just be driven crazy by the fleas and scratch like a maniac until you take things into your own hands. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, as well, so all of their symptoms will be far more severe. But in the worst case, they can open wound on their skin, contract an internal parasite, or infection before you turn to flea medication.

In other words, fleas will make your dog’s life a living hell, no matter how you look at it. Sadly, it’s not difficult for a dog to be infested with fleas as they can be picked up on every corner, but getting rid of them can be much harder than you’d expect. Eradicating fleas from your dog’s and your life takes the right tools, time, and a lot of patience. The first step is, naturally, treating your pet. But it’s not just about putting on a collar or spot on treatment or shampooing your pet. Flea eradication is a multi-step process that includes the environment as well.

The flea treatment you use on your pet will depend on a lot of things. You might want combined flea and tick medication treatment for full coverage, or just something that kills the fleas- or somethings that kills and repels. There are a lot of options to choose from! In the case you are looking to protect your pet in advance, a preventative such as a spot on or a collar will be enough, However, if the pets are already infested by the little buggers, you’ll have to use household treatments as well. Thorough vacuuming of the house and washing your pet’s bed is a must before you spray it all with a household flea treatment. This makes sure that the life cycle of the flea is disrupted and the larvae don’t get the chance to develop.

Types of Flea and Tick Prevention Medication Products

Now that you know how hard it is to get rid of fleas, and we all know that tick-borne diseases are no joke, it’s easy to see why prevention is crucial. Repelling fleas and ticks before they get the chance to endanger your pet’s health should be one of your primary concerns- year-round. So what are your options when it comes to flea and tick prevention medication? The main difference between the types of these products is the method of application, so you can choose between topical and edible preventatives.

Topical flea and tick prevention medication

Flea and tick repellent collars, spot on treatments, shampoos, sprays, and powders: there are plenty of ways to prevent fleas and ticks from feasting on your pet, but not all are equally effective. Some are suitable for adult dogs only (sorry puppies!), others are too mild for an adult to use, and some can be dangerous if your pet has certain allergies and sensitivities- Collies are particularly susceptible. The choice can be overwhelming, but most products have their specific uses and applications, so it’s mostly a matter of preference and the direness of the situation. For instance, if you are worried that your pet will lose his collar or that his lifestyle will render it ineffective, a spot on might be a better solution. And so on- each dog is unique and you should tailor your choice in accordance with their needs and quirks.

Edible flea and tick prevention medication

Chewables for flea and tick treatments are one of the newest and most popular choices. Your pooch gets a beef-flavored treat and with it, a month’s worth of protection from all types of parasites (including heartworm), as well as instant action in case of infestation. However, this type of preventative has to be taken only after a consult with a veterinarian and after you’ve done the test for heartworm.

So you see, not all flea and tick prevention medication products are created equal. Read on to find out which of them are worth your money and will deliver on their promises!

1. Editor’s Choice: Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs

If you are looking for super fast acting flea medication there is nothing better on the market than Capstar. The thing you have to remember though, is this is not a long-lasting monthly medication, but an immediate relief from fleas that might have followed Fido home after his jaunt in the woods. Unlike toxic long lasting topical solutions, Capstar is a small tablet made from nitenpyram, a chemical compound that blocks the insect’s neuron receivers thus killing these nesting biters in 30 minutes flat! Since it is a pill you don’t have to worry about your dog or others licking the toxic topical solution off his fur and it won’t wash off in a bath either. The pill continues working for 24 straight hours and it is safe to give daily but honestly if you need constant flea protection this isn’t really your best choice. This is perfect for house dogs that once in awhile during a special outing may give something unexpected a lift home. There are 2 options available – one for small, and one for large dogs, so choose according to your pet’s weight for optimal results.

2. Runner Up: Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Treatment

This topical flea and tick prevention medication also kills chewing lice and mites with its improved formula. But, unlike many products on the market, Frontline Plus doesn’t just kill the adult fleas-it will also kill the next generation of larvae and eggs that could be infesting your dog. By stopping the further reproduction of the parasites, this spot-on breaks the flea life cycle for good. Granted, that’s only if you use it regularly on your pet- Frontline Plus will keep them safe from pests for 30 days straight, but after that, you’ll need to apply another dose. Suited for dogs weighing 45 to 88 pounds, this flea and tick treatment is perfect for large breed dogs.

The product is easy to apply and you won’t have to be a whiz to get your pooch comfortable with the process. Simply part your dog’s hair between their shoulder blades and use the plastic applicator to “pour” the contents in one spot. It’s important to do it this way to prevent your pooch from licking it- this would be very dangerous for them. While this is a waterproof flea and tick prevention medication, this applies only after the first 24 hours. Don’t let your pooch get wet until a day passes if you want this spot on to be efficient!

3. Best Budget-Friendly: Provecta Advanced For Dogs

This once-a-month topical prevention and treatment for dogs is touted as the more affordable alternative to K9 Advantix II. Both products contain the same ingredients- imidacloprid, permethrin and pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator. The jury is still out on the efficiency of the two competitors, but the majority agrees that Provecta gives you good bang for your buck. It repels and kills ticks, fleas, chewing lice, biting flies, and mosquitos in all of their life stages. With regular use, this topical prevention product could keep your pooch pest-free for the whole year.

In case you have a couple of fur babies in your family, this budget-friendly spot on could be a good solution for you. The savings could be significant- especially on a yearly level. Not to mention that the formula of this flea and tick treatment is waterproof, so you can continue bathing your pooch or letting them take a swim even after the application without worrying it will influence its efficacy.

4. Best Spot-On: Sentry FiproGuard Topical Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs

One of the more affordable flea and tick prevention medication for dogs, the Sentry FiproGuard kills the pests within few hours of application. Same like the Frontline Plus and many other brand names, this budget-friendly spot on uses fipronil to kill fleas, ticks, and chewing lice. It will efficiently eliminate brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and deer ticks. The formula protects your pet for four weeks, and the six month’s worth of this flea and tick prevention spot on costs under $20. And that’s for a large breed dog- like with most other spot on products, there are options for dogs of all sizes.

The spot on should be applied with an applicator, on several spots from the back of the neck to a point midway between the neck and tail. To make sure that it works as advertised, don’t bathe your pooch for 24 to 48 hours after the application.

5. Customer Choice: K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick & Mosquito Prevention

It’s hard to beat K9 Advantix II when it comes to the spectrum of pests and parasites it fights off with a single product. This spot on antiparasitic will kill all life stages of fleas, from eggs and larvae to adult parasites, effectively ending their life cycle and preventing re-infestation by younger generations. Additionally, it will kill ticks and lice, as well as repel biting flies and mosquitoes from your four-legged friend. This makes it a great all-around flea and tick prevention medication with a broader spectrum of effect than you’d usually expect.

This particular spot on is made to be used on extra large dog breeds or those pooches that weigh a minimum of 55 pounds. Fortunately, this powerful flea and tick prevention medication is also available for large, medium, and small dogs- every doggo can get the pest protection they deserve! The waterproof formula will continue working for up to four weeks, even after bathing or swimming. You can rest assured your pooch is protected even after they take a dip!

6. Best Natural: Brewer’s Yeast and Garlic Natural Flea & Tick Repellent Chewable Supplement

If you prefer natural alternatives over traditional options, you’ll love these veterinarian-formulated chewable tablets. Based on brewer’s yeast and garlic, these supplements for dogs promise to keep your pooch pest-free with natural ingredients. The idea behind it is that, by daily consumption of yeast and garlic tablets, dogs develop a scent that makes them extremely unappetizing to bloodsuckers. Humans and other dogs reportedly can’t register the odor, but fleas and ticks are repelled by it. To boot, the tablets are also an excellent source of protein, trace minerals, and B-complex vitamins that will support your pet’s overall health and improve the look of their coat.

Another great thing about this product is that it’s a part of the fantastic Project Paws– buying one pack of these chewable tablets will help provide 7 meals for shelter dogs. Fighting parasites and feeding pooches in need- a pawesome combo!

7. Best Duel Action: Onguard Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs

This dual action flea and tick treatment works to kill the existing parasites on your pet and to prevent future generations of pests making a home in your dog’s fur. To achieve this, Onguard spot on is using the same active ingredients as Frontline Plus does- fipronil and (S)-methoprene. Fipronil works to instantly eliminate adult ticks and fleas present on the dog, whereas the (S)-methoprene disrupts the maturation of flea larvae and eggs, preventing them from developing into adult parasites. In addition to killing all pests on your pet, it will repel them for up to 30 days. After that, you’ll need to re-apply the solution to make sure that the protection is continuous. This flea and tick treatment is formulated for dogs 8 weeks or older and that weigh between 6 and 22 pounds.

8. Best for Large Dogs: Vectra 3D Broad Spectrum Flea and Tick Treatment

This topical solution repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting and sand flies, lice and mites (excluding mange mites). A truly broad spectrum parasite prevention and treatment, Vectra 3D will keep your pet protected for 30 days after you apply it. The fact that it repels and kills parasites improves your pet’s odds of never being bitten in the first place, and minimizes the risk for contracting a disease. Of course, that’s only in case your pet is not already infested.

The fast-working active ingredients will kill fleas in all life stages in as little as 6 hours after the spot on is applied.

9. Best for Sensitive Dogs: GreenFort NEO Bio Spot-On

If your four-legged bestie is sensitive to most active ingredients in conventional flea and tick prevention medication products, or you simply favor natural products, this spot on might be right up your alley. The formula of this spot on uses essential oils to repel pests away from your doggo- especially those with a strong citrus scent.

The bio-based product promises to chase away fleas, ticks, withers, mosquitoes, flies, and horseflies. The longevity will vary from 14 to 30 days- or until the scent loses its potency. Ideal for long-term protection, this product offers a 3-month supply to keep your pooch protected throughout the busiest season for fleas and ticks. Thanks to its natural formula, this spot-on flea and tick treatment can be used on cats and dogs of any weight.

10. Honorable Mention: Simparica Chewable Tablets for Dogs

One tasty bite and your dog is protected from fleas and ticks for up to 35 days! These chewable tablets kill and repel fleas in all life stages, as well as four types of ticks– Lone Star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick. This package contains 6 treatments, so your furbaby will be free of pests for half a year with just one purchase. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the tablets are liver-flavored- they’ll be a yummy treat for your pet so you won’t have to mask the tablet with food to trick them into eating it!

Do dogs really need flea and tick medicine?

Fleas and ticks are dangerous and can seriously affect your pet’s health, sometimes to the point of being fatal – so yes, it is crucial for your pet to be protected with flea and tick treatments throughout the year. These parasites can cause anemia, bacterial infections, skin irritation, hair loss, and a range of serious diseases such as flea allergy dermatitis,anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and many others. And not only that, fleas transmit tapeworm, so in addition to bloodsucking parasites, your pet will also get intestinal parasites when infested with fleas. Flea and tick treatments go a long way to protect your pet’s overall health and wellbeing from these dangerous parasites.

What should I consider when choosing flea and tick medicine for my dog?

There are various formulations out there, from all-natural to those with potent pesticides in the ingredient list, so choose with care. Some dogs are sensitive to certain ingredients and can’t use specific products, so be sure to double-check before buying (e.g. herding breeds and their sensitivity to ivermectin, selamectin and milbemycin). Apart from that, you should also pay attention to the delivery method: some dogs prefer chewables over spot-on topical treatments, shampoos and powders can be more convenient in some situations, and sometimes it’s collars that do the trick best. Longevity of protection is also essential, as flea and tick treatments can be effective anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

Are flea and tick medicine safe for dogs?

Provided that you go for reputable brands and tested formulations, yes, of course they are. You get to choose between natural ingredients or pet-safe pesticides which are chemically formulated but safe for use on pets. If your pet is usually more sensitive and gets irritated easily, it might be a good choice to go for a milder, natural formula. And if you’re unsure, just consult your vet – they’ll know what to recommend based on your pet’s specific age, size, and health history!

What is the safest oral flea treatment for dogs?

Some reports of neurological problems, such as trembling or seizures, after using oral flea medications made pet parents worry about the safety of these products. The culprit for these issues has been identified – it’s isoxazoline, and it can cause an adverse reaction in pets sensitive to this particular ingredient, not all dogs in general. FDA-approved oral flea treatments for dogs are perfectly safe to use, but if you are unsure if your pet has sensitivities that could trigger side effects of oral flea treatments, consult with your vet when choosing a flea preventative.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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