Dog got the bugs? Wondering what is the best flea and tick medicine for dogs?
Use this cheat-sheet to get rid of dog fleas and ticks once and for all!
But before we reveal our top recommendations, we want you to know that we ❤ you, because you’re pro/actively providing a better life for your best friend!
CC Image “Scratch” via Andrew. on Flickr – thx Andrew!
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- Topical Flea and Tick Treatment
- Flea and Tick Collar
- Flea and Tick Tablets
- Home Remedy
This is especially the case if your dog, like mine, is incredibly allergic to flea bites. They can cause intense itching that is far worse than what non-allergic dogs go through and can even cause hot spots and hair loss.
When you dog is fighting off fleas and ticks, it seems to take all their energy. They aren’t nearly as friendly and usually don’t want to play as much as they normally do. When they do decide to give playing a go, they are often cut short, having to pause and scratch or bite at fleas.
In addition to being downright bothersome, both fleas and ticks can be dangerous as well. They are capable of carrying and transmitting all kinds of nasty diseases and disorders that affect humans, not the least of which are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Having a desire to rid your pet of the burden of these parasites is one thing, but the need to stay safe is even more important.
In a way, protecting your dog from fleas and ticks is a way of protecting yourself and your family.Protecting your dog(s) from fleas and ticks is also protecting yourself & your family. Click To Tweet
Can My Dog Get Fleas and Ticks If He Stays Inside?
This is probably one of the most asked questions when it comes to talking about fleas and ticks and the answer is a resounding…
The fact is, fleas, just like mosquitoes and flies, can find an entrance into your home before you even realize it. Your dog doesn’t even need to go outside to wind up with fleas and ticks camping out in his fur.
Since fleas are highly attracted to warm bodies, your dog is an immediate target once he goes outside. But they don’t have to catch a ride on your dog’s back to get in, as they can get a ride in on your own shoelaces or pants legs as well.
Just one or two fleas in your house can quickly turn into a problem for you and your dog, as they multiply quickly. Once that happens, getting rid of them can be a chore. They lay eggs very often, and eggs hatch about every two weeks. This means that you can completely rid your home and your dog of fleas, and inside two weeks time, you have another infestation.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Real Problem With Fleas and Ticks?
To be honest, if your dog resides primarily inside your home and has one flea, you have a problem! That one flea will without a doubt, turn into many, many more and the earlier you catch it, the sooner you can do something to stop it.
A sure sign that your dog has fleas is the excessive scratching that is sure to happen. Upon examining the fur closely, you may even be able to see the insects moving around on the surface of the skin, reddened skin and even some loose hairs due to scratching. This would be a good indicator that you need to speak with your vet about what kinds of products you might want to look into for your dog.
Best Flea and Tick Medicine For Dogs
We have a few flea and tick medications that we’d like to tell you about here today. While they are all highly valued in the dog world, not every one of them will work for your pet.
That’s why it’s important to speak to your vet and discuss things like allergies, lifestyle, reactions to certain ingredients and so on. Finding a good flea and tick medication will do you no good if it isn’t a compatible match for YOUR dog.
Best Topical Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs (Drops)
1. Frontline Plus
There probably isn’t a more talked about flea and tick medication than Frontline Plus and for good reason.
It is the #1 top selling and top vet recommended flea and tick product on the market.
This topical prevention method is to be administered on a monthly basis and kills fleas and ticks within 48 hours of application.
One of the main ingredients in Frontline Plus is S-methoprene, an insect growth regulator that kills both flea eggs as well as larvae. It is a highly effective method for treating for brown ticks, American dog ticks and deer ticks, the three biggest carriers of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease occurs most frequently in New England and even vets will suggest that residents have their animals vaccinated as well as using a flea remedy. However, those who live in that vicinity and use Frontline Plus attest to the fact that they do not have fleas on their dogs when they use Frontline.
One lady recently visited her mother, who has a poodle that cannot receive flea remedies because of an epilepsy diagnosis. Her mother’s poodle had many fleas, but during the daughter’s two-day stay there, her own dog never picked up a single flea or tick.
2. Bayer K9 Advantix II
Another flea and tick medication that has become a household name is Bayer K9 Advantix II.
This medication is very similar to Frontline and is administered in much the same way and on a monthly basis.
K9 not only repels and kills fleas and ticks but also mosquitoes, biting flies and lice.
Used every month, this medication prevents flea and tick infestations and last for up to four weeks, even preventing the infestation of your home.
Try to administer the first dose before flea season starts, so you don’t have to worry about trying to get rid of them once they are on your dog, while treating year-round will assure that fleas don’t attempt to spend the winter months inside your home where it’s nice and cozy for them.
The major complaint I have with K9 Advantix is that the expiration date is not readily available.
Not only is it listed in code on the product itself, but customer service will quickly tell you that the EPA does not require an expiration date on these types of products.
While an expired flea and tick medication doesn’t mean that it will become dangerous, it does mean that the effectiveness of the product will falter over time and not be nearly as effective at getting rid of these pests.
What is the Best Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs?
1. Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
The Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar will protect your dog for up to eight full months, is highly recommended by vets and contains an insecticide that is grease-free and odorless. Not only does it repel fleas and ticks but also larvae and lice so your dog will be completely protected with this collar against most outside intruders.
The Seresto collar is water resistant and is still effective through monthly bathing and swimming, however, if your dog swims more than once a month, the protection period is reduced from eight months to five.
In addition to being a great collar for keeping fleas and ticks at bay, it features a release mechanism should your dog become trapped by the collar in some way. The dog’s weight will trigger a quick release so that no harm comes to him.
You may have tried some of the more expensive brands in the past, only to be disappointed by their performance. Don’t let the lower price of the Seresto fool you, as it has been known to outdo the competition by leaps and bounds. There have been plenty of dog owners who have switched to this collar, for varying reasons, only to find it works much better than their regular expensive ones.
This collar might also leave you wishing you could wear them yourself. A lady from New England, where fleas and ticks are a big problem, recently reported that her father took her dogs hiking and when they returned, her father had ticks on him but the dogs did not!
2. Hartz Ultraguard PlusFlea and Tick Dog Collar
The Ultraguard not only repels and kills fleas and ticks, it prevents flea eggs from hatching which adds a whole new level or protection for your dog.
Keeping the pests at bay for up to seven months, this collar can be cut to size, meaning that it is adaptable for just about any size puppy or dog, six weeks or older.
If making your dog wear a flea and tick collar at all times seems a bit overboard for you, then you can rest at ease with this one. Just putting it on during the times when your dog will be outside will often keep fleas and ticks off, so that they don’t get inside your home. While they can still get fleas and ticks on them inside the home, wearing the collar while they’re outside really does help cut down on that chance.
The Hartz collar is great for many different sized dogs and even fits dogs as large as a Great Dane. On the other hand, since it can be cut down, fitting the same collar for a small puppy is also no problem and you can use the cut off piece or pieces to toss around your dog’s bedding and play areas to ward off any pests that may have somehow gotten in.
Best Oral Flea and Tick Medicine for Dogs (Tablets/Pills)
1. Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats
For those who prefer giving flea and tick medication in tablet (pill) form, there are Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for dogs and cats.
We don’t normally include something that works equally well for both dogs and cats, but this medication is given on a “per pound” basis, which is why it can be used for both.
These tablets work wonderfully and will kill fleas on a dog within four hours after the tablet is taken.
If you have used these tablets before, you may notice a much steeper price if you purchase them from your vet. Buying them online is much cheaper.
There are a couple of things you must take note of on this product:
- It is not a month long flea kill product. This pill will kill all the fleas on any dog at the time the pill is taken, but if the dog is in an infested area, he will soon be covered again.
- This product should be used when a large number of fleas need to be killed of quickly or if there are health reasons to quickly rid the dog of fleas.
- After using this product, you will then need to treat with a preventative that will insure your dog does not get any more fleas.
Vets and vet assistants all agree that they have never seen this product fail, but have often seen people complain that the fleas come back. Again, it is of the utmost importance that you realize exactly what this product is and how it is used to be the most beneficial for your own pet.
2. Flea Away All Natural Flea Repellent
These tablets can be given every single day, with just one pill a day and will repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. The liver flavored tablet will be seen by your dog as a treat and will actually look forward to taking it, and they are made right here in the USA.
This is a great product for dogs that have allergies and are very sensitive to some of the harsh chemicals in other products. Not only will it keep fleas and ticks at bay, but it also has the added benefits of making your dog’s coat much healthier and more odor-free. Even in deep woods, this product has been known to be incredibly effective, even for longhaired breeds.
Many dog owners have said that this is the only product that works for their bigger dogs, especially in areas where the dogs are outdoors for much of the time. Since they are less likely to be seen during times of scratching, it’s harder to tell if they are scratching because of fleas or for some other reason, but these tablets seem to do the trick!
As with just about every medication, this tablet does not work for every single dog. Those who use it and find that it works are extremely pleased with the outcome, but when they don’t work, they don’t work at all.
Flea and Tick Home Remedy
My own dog is half Siberian Husky and half German Shepherd and was born outside. When we got her, shortly after she was weaned, she had a bad flea problem. It had gotten so bad that her skin was raw and bloody and some of her hair had come out. I was determined to get rid of those fleas.
I started out with the flea shampoo. Of course, everyone said it wouldn’t work and sure enough, it didn’t. I used an entire bottle in a relatively short period of time and while a few of the fleas would die and wash off, the very next day they would come back with a vengeance.
This process continued with several more products. I tried pills, drops on the back of the neck, special wipe-on products and flea collars, all to no avail. Finally, I decided to speak with a friend of mine who works with a local vet and she told me that fleas had been a major problem for every dog owner she knew. They had been overrun with appointments for dogs that were infested with fleas, all with the same story as mine: they had tried everything, and nothing worked.
Her secret? Well, since she gave it to me free of charge, I’ll pass it on the same way!
- Buy the small bottle of blue Dawn dish liquid. Apparently, no other color or brand of dish soap will do, as they had tried cheaper alternatives and none of them worked.
- Run a nice warm bath and add a cup of bleach and a couple cups of oatmeal and then proceed to use the entire bottle of soap.
- Keep scrubbing for at least 15 minutes, as anything less doesn’t work as well.
My vet laughed and said she knew that it sounded overboard, but it was truly the only thing that had worked for any of the dogs she had treated.
I tried it, and I have to say, you must be prepared to rinse and rinse and then rinse some more, but it worked! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see my dog finally free of these blood-letting pests.
I repeated this only a couple of times over the course of the last year and she’s doing fine now.
It’s hard to determine a winner when dealing with medication. As I mentioned, medications work the same way for our dogs as they do for us in that some of us do better on one thing, while others do better on something entirely different. There are also allergies to take into consideration. So really, the winner is whichever product works best for you and your dog.
It could take some trial and error and it could take speaking with your vet to determine the best product, but you’ll know it when you find it. It’s best to err on the side of caution, however, if you happen to have a dog with a history of allergies, as they are more likely to be allergic to things they’ve never tried before.
Do you have any special flea and tick killers (over the counter or home remedy) that work best for you?
If so, please share!
We’d love to hear from you and could possibly compile a list for another post at some point in the future. We appreciate hearing from you!