How to choose the best flea and tick treatment for your dogs

Fleas and ticks are irritating things that all pet owners have to deal with at some point. Thankfully, several medications are specifically designed to treat fleas and ticks and prevent their presence on your dog.

However, with so many options, it can be easy to get confused.

Foxhound dog sitting and scratching on the grass

Let’s take a look at some of the best flea and tick treatments for dogs:

Why does my dog need Flea Treatment?

Fleas are very resilient parasites and very capable jumpers. Once they have found a way onto your dog’s skin, they lay eggs, which can then find their way into your house, causing an infestation.

With a very short life cycle, this process happens over a matter of days, and once you have an infestation, it can be challenging to get rid of fleas.

Also, ticks can become a severe problem in your yard, particularly if you have a large bushy or woody area with long grass. 

Ticks can lead to your dog contracting many serious health conditions, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, rocky mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis.

Biting fleas can cause several diseases in your dog, including dermatitis, typhus, plague, tapeworm, and 

Haemobartonellosis.

It is to prevent infestation and these diseases that most dog owners provide their pets with regular preventative flea treatments. 

How can you tell if your dog has fleas?

Tibetan Mastiff dog scratching flea

Fleas and ticks are tiny, so you need to visually inspect your pet regularly to find them, especially after you’ve been for a walk or to the kennel or dog park. 

While you may see visible signs that your dog has fleas or ticks, such as scratching, they also tend to hide in areas where your pet can’t reach.

This includes the top of the head, underside of the tail, in the folds of the neck and chest, and even between the paw pads.

If you do find ticks on your dog, be sure to keep a close eye on them for any warning symptoms of a potentially fatal disease. This can include limping, lethargy, swelling, or joint pain.

What are the different types of flea treatment and prevention products? 

There are several different methods for preventing fleas and ticks on your dogs. These methods include a flea tablet, flea shampoos, topical treatments, and flea collars.

Flea and tick collars for dogs and tablets can help keep your pet tick and flea free for up to eight months, while topical treatments and shampoos generally have to be applied monthly.

It is necessary to remove a tick from your dog within 48 hours of them biting your pet, and as these small creatures can be hard to miss, prevention is always better than cure.

However, if you discover a tick on your dog, you’ll want to ensure you remove it completely and thoroughly. Watch this video to learn the best way to remove ticks from your dog:

Dog flea & tick medicine buying guide 

When buying tick and flea treatment for your dog, there are several things you need to keep in mind.

The first thing you need to consider is looking for a treatment that can combat an existing presence of fleas and ticks on your dog or if you want something that can work as a long-term preventative measure.

Oral or topical treatments are typically given to control an existing infestation. These treatments offer instant relief and can provide some protection for up to about a month.

On the other hand, preventative medications are longer wearing and typically protect your dog for the entire summer, the time when ticks and fleas are most active.

Some tick and flea medications will also protect against other parasites such as lice, mosquitos, and hookworms.

If your dog loves to swim, you also want to look for a waterproof product, ensuring your dog is offered protection for as long as possible. 

Tick and flea medication can be bought at your vet or over the counter, with a range of natural options also available. 

Before using any product on your pet, be sure to discuss the active ingredients, side effects, safety, and effectiveness of the treatment with your veterinarian.

Some medicines can also contain toxins, like permethrin, propoxur, imidacloprid, and isoxazoline, which could be harmful to children, cats, and small puppies, affecting the nervous system, leading to seizures.

You will also want to ensure you buy the correct dose for your pet’s size and weight.

How to prevent flea and tick infestations

Labrador Retriever lying on the grass near the wooden fence

Along with providing your dog with preventative medication, there are several things you can do at home to prevent possible tick and flea infestations. 

One of the first things you can do is safeguard your yard. Fencing off your garden will ensure that unwanted flea-carrying wildlife, such as possums or raccoons, do not have access.

You can also buy specific plants that will deter these animals. Be sure also to clean up decaying leaves and keep your lawn and bushes neatly trimmed. 

When out on a walk, keep your dog away from wooded areas with thick vegetation and long grasses where ticks thrive. 

In addition to preventative medication, it is also necessary to clean the home and your pet’s bedding regularly and brush your dog with a flea comb that can help you manually remove fleas. 

You can also spray your home with a dog-safe flea and tick insecticide. Some professional pest and flea control companies even offer treatments to protect your home from fleas and ticks.

What is the safest topical flea treatment for dogs? 

A topical spot-on solution is easy to apply to dogs and generally kills fleas of all life stages. Topical medications come in a concentrated liquid form that is applied to the skin of your dog.

They can take slightly longer to work than oral medications but generally protect for around a month.

Here are some of the best topical flea treatments for dogs:

1. Frontline Plus for Dogs Small Dog

Frontline Plus for Dogs Small Dog

  • A long-lasting waterproof formula with the active ingredient fipronil
  • Designed for use on dogs weighing between 5 and 22 pounds (2 and 10 kg)
  • It also kills lice and ticks

2. K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs

K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs

  • It kills insects on contact
  • Acts against ticks and flea as well as mosquitos, biting flies, and lice
  • Suitable for dogs with a history of seizures due to the class of drug used

3. PetArmor Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs 89-132 lbs

PetArmor Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs 89-132 lbs

  • Waterproof
  • Suitable for extra-large dogs
  • It can be used to control several species of ticks, including deer ticks and American dog ticks
  • It can also be used to control sarcoptic mange

4. Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs

Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs

  • Works within 24 hours and protects dogs for three months at a time
  • Designed with an easy applicator for easy administration

5. Onguard Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs 45-88 lbs

Onguard Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs

  • Not suitable for puppies but can be used on pregnant or nursing dogs
  • It also works to control sarcoptic mange, brown dog and deer ticks, and chewing lice
  • It brings relief from dermatitis
  • Waterproof formulation
  • Perfect for medium dogs

 6. Bayer Animal Health Advantage II Flea Treatment for Small Dogs

Bayer Animal Health Advantage II Flea Treatment

  • Suitable for dogs weighing between 3 and 10 pounds (1.3 and 4.5 kg)
  • Works within 12 hours of application
  • Safe to use for puppies from 7 weeks old
  • Waterproof

Choosing a flea or tick collar for dogs

Flea and tick collars can be an excellent choice for pet owners who want lasting protection and live on farms or in dense areas.

Due to their long-wearing nature, with the most protection for up to six or eight months, this is also a very cost-effective flea and tick control option while also super useful for forgetful or busy owners!

Here are some of the best flea treatment and tick collars for dogs:

1. Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Collar for Small Dogs

Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Collar for Small Dogs

  • Water-resistant for dogs that swim or need regular baths
  • Non-greasy and odorless
  • It also helps with the treatment and control of sarcoptic mange and lice

2. Activyl Protector Band for Dogs

Activyl Protector Band for Dogs

  • Odorless and water-resistant with no dry time necessary
  • It kills three tick species, including the American dog tick, brown dog tick, and the deer tick
  • One size fits all with a fully adjustable design

Best oral flea medicine for dogs 

Oral medications are a very clean way of providing medicine to your dog as you don’t have to worry about any greasy substances on their skin or coat.

The medication is simply absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream via an ingestible tablet. 

Here are some of the best oral flea treatments for dogs:

1. Bravecto Chews for Dogs

Bravecto Chews for Dogs

  • Works for three months at a time
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes for different dogs
  • Meat flavored for easy administration
  • Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures

2. NexGard Chewables Flea & Tick Medicine

K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs

  • Controls fleas as well as black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, Lone Star ticks, and brown dog ticks
  • One-month formula
  • It can be given to puppies as young as eight weeks old and dogs as small as 4 pounds (2kg)

3. Simparica Trio Chewable Tablets for Dogs

Simparica Trio Chewable Tablets for Dogs

  • Protects against five types of ticks, fleas as well as heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms
  • Monthly formula
  • Suitable for puppies from eight weeks old

4. Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs

Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs

  • Great for instant relief due to the active ingredient Nitenpyram – starts working within 30 minutes of ingestion
  • A 24-hour formula that can be given once per day to control flea infestation
  • It can be used on puppies from four weeks old and weighing just 2 pounds (1 kg)
  • It can be used in conjunction with a long-lasting preventative

5. Advantus Soft Chews for Small Dogs

Advantus Soft Chews for Small Dogs

  • Also available in large dog formula
  • Paralyzes and kills fleas within one hour
  • One time solution that can be used once per day until an infestation is under control

The best flea and tick shampoo 

Shampoos can provide dogs with instant relief from infestation. However, as shampoos have limited effects, they should only be used as a first step to get pests under control before moving on to preventative medication.

They are also a good choice for nursing dogs who can’t risk passing on chemicals to their unborn pups.

Here are some of the best flea and tick shampoos for dogs:

1. Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Shampoo

Richard's Organics Flea & Tick Shampoo

  • It kills ticks and fleas and repels mosquitoes
  • Sulfate and paraben-free formulation
  • Works for up to four weeks
  • Safe to use on dogs that have sensitive or flaky skin

2. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor

  • It kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae, and lice
  • Provides 28 days of control
  • Safe for puppies
  • It contains soothing aloe, coconut extract, and oatmeal

3. TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo 

TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo

  • It helps to repel adult fleas, ticks, larvae, and eggs for up to seven days
  • Contains no insecticides
  • A natural blend of clove, lemongrass, cedarwood, cinnamon, and sesame oils
  • Does not wash away topical flea prevention products
  • Safe for puppies from twelve weeks

4. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Advanced Strength Dog Shampoo

Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Advanced Strength Dog Shampoo

  • Extra-strength flea and tick shampoo
  • Blend of natural oils and plant-based ingredients
  • Safe for puppies from twelve weeks

5. Natural Chemistry Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal

Natural Chemistry Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal

  • Made from cinnamon, cedarwood, oatmeal, and clove oils
  • Works on fleas, ticks, black flies, and mosquitoes
  • Parasites can’t become resistant to the formula, so no loss of effectiveness
  • Provides seven days of protection

Top flea and tick sprays for dogs

Flea sprays provide a fast attracting response to fleas in the house and on your pet. Easy to use sprays can be applied to your dog as well as their bedding and other furniture in your home.

A spray may need to be massaged or backcombed into your dog’s coat and is generally not effective on longhaired dogs.

Here are some of the best flea and tick sprays for dogs:

1. Zuba Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs by MDX Concepts

Zuba Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs by MDX Concepts

  • Protects against fleas, ticks, and mosquitos
  • Chemical-free and made from organic ingredients
  • Safe for use around other pets and children

2. Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs

  • It contains an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to stop the flea life cycle and prevent new infestations
  • Suitable for puppies from ten weeks old
  • It also helps repel mosquitos

3. Vet’s Best Dog Flea + Tick Home Spray

Vet's Best Dog Flea + Tick Home Spray

  • A chemical-free blend of essential oils and natural ingredients
  • The non-staining formula is suitable for use around the home
  • Kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitos on contact
  • Safe for puppies from twelve weeks

4. Natural Care Dog & Cat Flea & Tick Spray

Natural Care Dog & Cat Flea & Tick Spray

  • An all-natural, plant-based product
  • Works almost immediately
  • Fragrant, peppermint scent
  • No-stain formula

Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

If you are worried about using harsh chemicals or medicine on your dog, some companies offer 100% natural and eco-friendly alternatives for controlling pests:

1. Cedarcide products

Cedarcide products

  • Affordable natural sprays and insect repellent pellets for the yard
  • It kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, ants, chiggers, flies, moths, and more

2. Wondercide products

Wondercide products

  • Organic, human-grade ingredients
  • The product range includes sprays, shampoos, oils, and yard and home control products

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often do I need to give my dog a flea tablet?

The duration of effectiveness and frequency you need to give your dog a flea tablet will depend on the brand.

Some pills have short-acting effects designed to kill fleas instantly, while others have long-lasting preventative solutions. 

The frequency will also be dictated by where you live. You may need to give your dog flea and tick treatment all year round in some hot regions, whereas this may only be necessary for the summer months in other climates.

Can I use Flea Treatments when my dog is on other medications? 

Medication interference can lead to certain flea and tick medications rendering others ineffective or even toxic. It is always best to speak to your veterinarian before using a new product to ensure there is no clash.

Spitz dog about to take medicine tablet

Can you use vinegar to get rid of fleas on a dog?

Vinegar is sometimes used as a flea preventative due to the strong smell of acetic acid, which fleas don’t like.

However, vinegar is often less effective than commercial preventative products and can irritate your dog’s skin.

Does baking soda kill fleas on dogs?

Baking soda mixed with salt is a well-known natural remedy for killing fleas. The baking soda kills fleas by dehydrating them.

This solution can be applied to furniture and carpets but can dry out and irritate the skin if used directly on your pet. 

Which dog flea and tick control is the best? 

Panting Cocker Spaniel dog portrait
Image source

While fleas and ticks can be worrying, you can rest assured that you are not alone. This is a problem that plagues most pet owners.

While a variety of products can assist you in getting rid of fleas and ticks on your pets, the best treatment method is a preventative one that stops them from occurring in the first place.

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