11 Best Flea & Tick Treatments for Dogs

flea and tick prevention for dogs

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During flea and tick season, your dog’s life could depend on you keeping them protected. Flea bites can be itchy, and if they get out of control they can lead to hair loss. Ticks carry numerous diseases, including Lyme disease. If you want to ensure that your dog is protected this summer, here are eleven great flea and tick prevention products to keep them pest free.

What are the best options for flea and tick prevention for dogs?

seresto flea prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Eight month lifespan
  • Water resistant
  • No mess
Price: $57.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Capstar flea and tick prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kills all fleas within four hours
  • Can be used once per day
  • Convenient pill form
Price: $25.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
k9 advantix flea prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy application
  • Works on mosquitos
  • Very popular
Price: $67.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
frontline flea prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy application
  • Once a month dose
  • Commonly vet recommended
Price: $52.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
NexGuard flea and tick prevention
  • Chewable is easy to administer
  • Kills adult fleas and prevents egg laying
  • Lasts for a month
Price: $46.00 Shop now at NexGard Shop now Read our review
PetArmor Plus flea and tick prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to apply
  • Once a month frequency
  • Works on multiple pests
Price: $21.65 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Sentry flea prevention Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Waterproof
  • Kills eggs and larvae
  • Destroys flea cycle for 12 weeks
Price: $44.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • All-natural
  • Cleans and protects
Price: $15.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Combines flea prevention and safety
  • Forms a physical barrier
  • Easy to deploy
Price: $34.03 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • All-natural
  • Monthly application
  • Used the same as other topical treatments
Price: $11.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Natural Care Repellent Flea & Tick Collar Amazon Customer Reviews
  • All-natural
  • Waterproof
  • Safe for children
Price: $8.74 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Lasts eight months
    • Water resistant (note: if your dog swims often, duration is limited to five months)
    • Not as messy as topical treatments
    Cons:
    • Like any collar, it can get pulled off
    • Must be removed before taking the dog to the groomer
    • May work better in combination with other treatments

    While topical flea and tick medications work great for some dogs, they aren’t for everyone. If your dog has a history of trouble with the topical treatments or your veterinarian has advised against them, this collar can be an excellent alternative. There are two strengths: one for large dogs over 18 pounds and one for dogs under 18 pounds.

    The active ingredient in this is flumethrin, making this a chemical insecticide, albeit a different one than found in the product above. Flea collars are better than ever and provide virtually the same level of protection as other treatments. For roughly the same price as a 6-month course of topical treatment, the collar works for eight months.

  2. 2. Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats

    Pros:
    • Kills fleas within four hours
    • Able to be used as often as once per day
    • Can be given with a treat as with other pills
    Cons:
    • Ineffective against ticks
    • Doesn’t work as a preventative
    • Will need to be combined with other treatments

    It’s true what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You don’t always get that option, though. Plenty of users have reported that even when using the products above, an infestation can occur. Fleas are tenacious and sometimes you need drastic action. When drops fail, many folks have turned to Capstar as a way to reset the flea situation, or at the beginning of a flea treatment.

    This product comes in two strengths: Dogs over 25 pounds and dogs under 25 pounds.

    Within four hours (six for cats), all adult fleas will be dead, giving you a clean slate in order to get control of an infestation. You can give these once per day, so you can keep the heat up if it takes longer to get the situation under control. Once the Capstar has worked, you can apply a drop-based treatment which could work better at that point.

  3. 3. K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control Treatment for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Fast acting
    • Keeps away mosquitoes
    • Stays on through bathing and swimming
    Cons:
    • Higher price tag
    • Active ingredient permethrin is lethal to cats
    • Some don't find topical treatments effective

    This treatment kills adult fleas, their eggs and larvae. Advantix works quickly and can stop fleas from biting within five minutes. Within 12 hours it will kill 98 to 100 percent of the fleas on dogs, and will continue working for 30 days.

    This is a great product to use if you started too late and are already finding fleas a problem. As with most products in this category, this will also work against other pests, including ticks and mosquitoes. The company recommends using it year-round to prevent fleas from wintering in your home.

    This is available in pack sizes of one, two, four, and six, in the following weight classes:

    As a warning: if you have cats in your household, you may want to avoid this product. It contains permethrin, which is fatal to cats even in small doses.

    Since Frontline and Advantix tend to be the most popular options, see our direct comparison here.

    There’s also a newer competitor to Advantix called TervaPet Activate II, available in the same weight options.

  4. 4. Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Waterproof
    • Long-lasting
    • Very popular
    Cons:
    • More expensive
    • Some find it isn’t as effective as some other products
    • Anecdotal evidence suggests loss in effectiveness over time

    This treatment is fast-acting control for flea and ticks. It kills all life stages of 4 major tick species, making it a great choice no matter where you live. Like most flea and tick prevention for dogs, Frontline lasts for 30 days and is available in multi-packs of three, six, or eight.

    Frontline is available in the following dog sizes:

    This, along with Advantix, is one of the more popular topical treatments on the market. It’s the one I use on my dog and I’ve never had any complaints.

    Since Frontline and Advantix tend to be the most popular options, see our direct comparison here.

     

  5. 5. NexGard Chewable Tablets for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Chewable is easy to administer and ensures full dose reaches your dog
    • Kills adult fleas and prevents egg laying
    • No risk of getting chemicals on other pets or kids
    Cons:
    • Requires vet prescription approval
    • Doesn't kill eggs or baby fleas
    • Better as a preventative

    Like Capstar, NexGuard makes administering treatment easy by being a tasty chewable. These are given once a month and are aimed primarily at killing adult fleas and is best used as a preventative, perhaps in tandem with Capstar or the Seresto collar. If you’ve had trouble dosing the squeeze-on medication or don’t like the mess it makes, this once-a-month option will make life easier.

    There are four dose sizes: four to ten pounds, 10.1 to 24 pounds, 24.1 to 60 pounds, and 60.1 to 121 pounds. One drawback is that this is a prescription medication, so you’ll have to buy this through your vet. NexGuard is made by Merial, who make Frontline.

  6. 6. PetArmor Plus Flea and Tick Prevention

    Pros:
    • Easy application
    • Works on fleas, ticks, lice and mites
    • Once per month is enough to keep them protected
    Cons:
    • Topical treatments risk chance of being washed off on day of application
    • Some don't find these treatments effective
    • May not be the best option for your dog

    This product prevents your dog from being bitten by both flea and ticks. It repels and kills fleas and ticks, as well as chewing lice and mites. This isn’t for use on puppies younger then 8 weeks of age. It is a topical, once-a-month treatment, so no need to fight with your dog to swallow a pill. It starts working within 24 hours of application. As with most treatments, the dosage is based on the weight of your dog, either three or six dose packages:

    The active ingredient is the same as Frontline later on this list, but this is a touch cheaper. Good to try for a first treatment, but if you have a stubborn problem, you might want to move on to a layered approach or a different chemical.

  7. 7. Sentry Fiproguard Plus Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Kills eggs and larvae
    • Available for all dog sizes
    • Waterproof
    Cons:
    • May not always be as effective as Frontline
    • Some don't find topical treatments effective
    • May not work on your dog

    This flea and tick prevention for dogs contains fipronil, which is recommended by vets. It also contains (s)-methoprene, which is the same active ingredients used in Frontline Plus.

    This product requires no prescription, so it’s easy to simply order online and you can make sure your pet is protected from fleas and ticks with a great product. Kills fleas and their larvae, as well as ticks and chewing lice.

    Like comparable products, this is available in four weight brackets and in three or six dose boxes.

  8. 8. Vet’s Best Natural Flea and Tick Wipes for Dogs & Cats

    Pros:
    • All-natural solution contains no insecticides
    • Can be used on home surfaces in addition to use on the animal
    • Cleans your dog’s coat
    Cons:
    • Not a long-lasting solution like drop treatments
    • Wipe solution must come into contact with pests to kill them
    • May not be quite as effective as insecticide

    We included Vet’s Best spray in our best flea sprays post because it works surprisingly well, despite being a natural product that contains no insecticide. If you’re a little leery of the drop-based solutions, these wipes might be a good alternative.

    All-natural peppermint oil and eugenol (a clove plant derivative) kill fleas and their eggs and ticks on contact. While it coats your dog’s fur, it will also repel mosquitos. As an additional benefit, it cleans and deodorizes.

    For more ideas like this, consider our best pet wipes post.

  9. 9. Insect Shield Insect Repellent Dog Safety Vest

    Pros:
    • Permethrin-bonded material repels biting insects
    • Creates both a physical and chemical barrier
    • Reflective strips help with visibility
    • Available in two colors and seven sizes
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t treat the dog’s skin directly, so bites are still possible
    • Leaves part of the belly exposed, where grasses are most likely to reach
    • Some dogs may not like wearing it

    In this novel approach, permethrin (the active ingredient in the Advantix drops above) is bonded to the fabric in a breathable vest that also forms a physical barrier for biting insects. This solution repels mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and flies.

    Despite being treated, the material is completely odorless, while the treatment itself lasts the life of the garment. The high-visibility coloring in either orange or yellow and reflective strips add to your dog’s safety.

    These are sized by length covering the back of the dog and come in the following options:

    • 8 inches
    • 10 inches
    • 11 inches
    • 12 inches
    • 13.5 inches
    • 16 inches
    • 19.5 inches

    As an alternative to this one, Dog Not Gone offers their take on the pest repellent vest.

  10. 10. Natural Chemistry Flea & Tick Squeeze On

    Pros:
    • All-natural solution contains no insecticides
    • Safe for all ages
    • Uses the familiar drop treatment
    • Lasts up to a month
    Cons:
    • Unlikely to be as effective as chemical insecticides
    • Likely more effective as a preventative when no bugs are present than to help control an existing infestation
    • Topical application can still be somewhat messy

    Like the Vet’s Best, this is an all-natural solution formulated to work like the typical monthly drops. Using the active ingredients of cinnamon oil, mint oil, and lemongrass oil, this treatment can in some cases be every bit as effective as its chemical counterparts. It’s also far, far cheaper, as five doses come in under $15.

    This is the dosage for medium dogs 25 to 50 pounds; there are also zero to 25 pounds and 50 pounds and up. If you find that it works for you, they make a spray, as well.

  11. 11. Natural Care Repellent Flea & Tick Collar

    Pros:
    • All-natural solution contains no insecticides
    • Safe even if exposed to children
    • Lasts for four months
    • Waterproof
    Cons:
    • May need to treat your home in order for this to work
    • Not as effective as chemical insecticides
    • Takes awhile to begin working

    Following the Seresto solution above, this collar may work better as an all-natural solution because the oil-emitting item stays with your dog. Where the wipes and spot treatments may quickly fade, the peppermint and cedarwood oils emanate from the collar constantly until it’s ready to be changed – usually after four months.

    As with any natural solution, it probably won’t work as well as the hard stuff, but if your issue is mild or you simply want to keep flying insects away during a hike, this could be an effective solution.

Unfortunately for humans and dogs alike, tick populations are on the rise. These parasites live in the very places dogs love to roam, including the woods and tall grasses. Since you can't control your dog's every movement, you need to keep them safe by using a preventative product.

We strongly recommend discussing your dog's needs with your veterinarian, who can offer the best advice for which product to use.

Why Is My Flea Treatment Not Working?

There are a multitude of factors that can contribute to a flea preventative being ineffective. First, you need to use the product correctly. Proper application seems simple, but the high recurrance rate suggests that it isn't always done perfectly. Topicals in particular need time to soak in, lest your dog shake off part of the dose.

You must also buy the correct dosage for the weight of your dog. Buying for a larger dog because you think it will be stronger will not work.

When combating an infestation, you have to treat all the animals in your house, not just the ones that go outside. More than that, you must treat the house itself. Roughly 90 percent of the flea population in a home doesn't live on the dog, but in the enviroment. Without being physically removed or touched by a pesticide, flea eggs can remain and hatch, resetting the entire cycle again.

It may take a combination of products to get the results you want, especially for tenacious pest populations. You'll want to combine your on-dog treatments with flea spray in your home.

Additionally, some folks have found greater success by combining monthly drops with a collar. The drops kill insects when they bite, while the collar helps to keep them away and that overlap could be the difference maker in some cases. Collars also last for up to eight months, increasing the length of effectiveness.

It can take some time to get this right, so try not to get too frustrated or discouraged if what you try doesn't work the first time. Continue experimenting until you find the right combination that works for your area and your pet's habits.

Chemical vs. Natural Flea Treatments

For our list, we recommend several tried-and-true chemical insecticide options, as well as a few all-natural ones for those who can't get behind the harsh chemicals.

At the end of the day, the natural repellents are just that - repellents. They can, in some conditions, drive pests away from your dog and prevent an infestation in the first place.

However, by and large, they can't help you eradicate a problem, so you may need to begin with the insecticide-based options, even if it's just a dose of Capstar, and then move on to more natural products as a long-term solution.

Frontline vs. Advantix

For those trying to decide between Frontline and Advantix, we compared the two head-to-head to formulate an answer. The main points to consider are these:

  • Advantix kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, kills lice, and repels biting flies. By comparison, Frontline kills but does not repel fleas, ticks, and lice, but has no effect on mosquitoes nor biting flies.
  • Frontline uses fipronil, which is safe for use in households with cats. Advantix uses permethrin, which is fatal to cats. Some claim fipronil has a growing resistance problem, but vets disagree.
  • Prices on the whole are very similar and tend to fluctuate in both cases, but you can get a three pack of Frontline which isn't available from Advantix. Advantix can be bought as a single dose to try, whereas Frontline cannot.
  • Most find that Advantix works faster. Bayer claims Advantix works within 12 hours, while Frontline takes 18 according to the manufacturer.

See Also:

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