It is that time of year again, fleas and ticks have arrived. It is particularly important to be aware of the dangers these parasites pose to your pets. Not only can they cause itching, blood loss, and in severe cases anemia, but they can carry diseases which can be transmitted to your pet and also to you and your family.
Kilo the Pug got a bad case of fleas 2 years ago, when I was late with prevention. His belly was covered in bites so fast, it was scary. He barely goes anywhere except around our block so we were surprised. I got a few bites on my ankles before we cleaned everything- arghh- quite the ordeal.
Our friend Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund got quite sick from a tick bite I discovered when we both worked on a prevention campaign “No Bite Is Right”.
Flea and tick products come in a variety of forms, oral like pills, food toppers and chews, to topicals like sprays and liquids, to collars, tags and shampoos. It can be overwhelming with the many products out there to choose from. It can also be polemic as all treatments have risks and consequences. You need to protect your dog but limit adverse reactions or side-effects. Informed use is very important so read the warnings and ingredients and do your research.
Before starting your dog or puppy on any flea treatment or prevention, consult your veterinarian.
We have compiled a list of some of the best products that we found based on our own experience, reviews and friends’ recommendations (including some natural products from dog expert Carol Bryant below). I did not include collars or oral medication (which are often prescription) as we do not use them.
We also checked the product reference guide published by the independent, nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council and videos and posts by Dr Karen Becker – see link below.
Tick Prevention and Treatment
This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. I may get a small commission if you buy through these links but you do not pay more.
I use this Advantix treatment for Kilo. I just dab a few drops in the recommended amount between his shoulder blades once a month starting in late March or April for 4 months. K9 Advantix®II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, permethrin and pyriproxyfen that kill adult fleas, flea eggs and flea larvae, ticks, mosquitoes and lice, and reduces mosquito and stable fly bites. K9 Advantix®II should only be used on dogs (not cats). It is important to get the product that corresponds with your dog’s weight.
Bayer Advantage Multi Topical Solution for Dogs 20.1-55 lbs, 6 Doses (6-mos. supply)
I have heard good reviews about Bayer Advantage Multi but have not tried. It kills fleas and several other parasites but NOT Ticks.
I have used this treatment for Kilo too. Kills adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, all life stages of ticks and chewing lice for one month; safe for use in dogs and puppies at least 8 weeks of age that weigh at least 5 pounds; safe for use in breeding, pregnant and nursing dogs; fleas don’t have to bite for it to work. Its active ingredients, fipronil and S-methoprene, work together to kill parasites and break the flea life cycle. Fipronil kills adult fleas and ticks and chewing lice. S-methoprene prevents flea eggs, larvae, and pupae from developing.
Wondercide – Flea, Tick and Mosquito Spray for Dogs, Cats, and Home – Flea and Tick Killer, Control, Prevention, Treatment – with Natural Essential Oils – Pet and Family Safe – Lemongrass 32 oz
This natural product is plant based and seems safe. It comes in four different scents and a variety of sizes. This product kills, repels and prevents not only fleas and ticks but also mosquitoes, flies and other common pests. I am planning to try for Kilo.
Nature’s Prevention carries many different products to help with your flea and tick problems. They carry collars, sprays and topical formulas that are all-natural and easy to apply. All products are DEET free and contain no synthetic chemicals. Pesticides or insecticides.
Nutri-Vet Defense Flea & Tick protects your dog—and your home—from nasty fleas and ticks. Among the best flea and tick control for dogs, this convenient and easy-to-apply topical solution also fights mosquitoes, lice, and mites to keep your dog safe and itch free. Nutri-Vet Defense Plus Flea & Tick Control for Puppies
There are several tags that you attach to collars or harnesses in Kilo’s case that give off vibrations to repel. I tried one with Kilo which lasted 6 months and he was tick and flea-free but it was hard to tell if it was working.
I have had a positive experience with the topical products I use but my good friend Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality had a really bad experience with some treatments. Just in case your dog has sensitivities or you prefer all natural products, I am including a link to her recommendations which include the Wondercide spray and soap listed above.
“There is a multitude of reasons I don’t use chemical flea and tick spot-ons, topicals, sprays, and ingestible tablets on or in my dog. Not long after putting a chemical tick and flea preventative on my first Cocker Spaniel, she had serious side effects. Her skin flared up, it burned the hair off her back, and it never grew back. Some of her blood levels were altered, and she had a seizure.
A variety of natural products that have been successful on my dogs in the war against ticks and fleas.Natural flea and tick products come from nature (animal, vegetable, mineral) and they are not synthetic, though one has to be careful with any natural product on dogs.” Carol
Her informative post linked above explains that knowing how fleas and ticks attack dogs is the key to preventing them. There are certain odors that for example ticks find repulsive. In general, these include cinnamon, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium, cedar, citronella, eucalyptus oil, orange, and lemon. She is not a veterinarian but a diligent dog mom who has tried dozens of products on her Cocker Spaniels over the past three decades.
You can also check out How flea and tick meds work, and answering the “what do we do now?!” question! with Dr. Karen Becker
Regardless of which tick prevention product you choose, you should still check your dog for ticks after outdoor adventures. If you find a tick, remove it and put it in a sealed jar with the remover below.
This little tool is great to have around your house. This can be used on animals or humans, it works by gently removing the tick without squeezing it. The tool removes the entire tick without leaving the head behind. It is a safe and easy way to remove ticks large and small. Tick Twister Tick Remover Set with Small and Large Tick Twister
Do you have a product you love or an experience with ticks or fleas to share? Tell us in the comments.