If you’re an active dog owner then you’ve probably encountered fleas or ticks more than once, especially if you live in the eastern United States where they seem to be more prevalent.
With that said, what is the best method for preventing them?
Oral Medication or “Chewables”
Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention
Oral tick and flea medication was the clear winner in terms of most commonly used protection. And as we mentioned above this is what we use for our dogs.
Honorable mentions include:
We should note that Simparica seems to be gaining a lot of popularity lately.
Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs
From the people we talked with Seresto collar was far and away the winner (with ~130 votes). One person even told us about this cool Seresto collar hack, which allows you to combine the Seresto collar with your own dog collar.
Wondercide Flea and Tick and Mosquito Control Spray for Cats Dogs and Home
Although Frontline Gold received the most votes (~40 votes), it was noted to have possibly lost effectiveness since 2016. And many people left some similar comments on the Consumer Affairs website, noting that the company changed hands in 2016 possibly leading to some product changes (we could not confirm any changes to the product though).
- Hartz Ultraguard (~20 votes)
- Activyl (~10 votes)
- Diatomaceous Earth (~10 votes)
- Mad About Organics (~10 votes)
- Vectra (~10 votes)
You may have noticed we didn’t include Bravecto under chewables or topicals above.
There were actually quite a few people who absolutely love Bravecto. However, it was the only product that received more negative comments than positive.
One person even pointed us to a Facebook Group entitled “Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?“
We’ve personally used Bravecto in the past with no issues, but have since switched because our local vet didn’t recommend it, but just felt all the negative comments warranted leaving it off our list of top picks.
Are medicated flea and tick treatments safe for dogs?
It’s long been debated by vets and dog owners whether “medication” is the best prevention for ticks and fleas.
We personally use oral medication on our dogs, as recommended by our local vet. But since there is another side to that story we wanted to present that first.
Watch the video below to see what Dr. Judy Morgan has to say about some tick and flea treatments.
Alternative Dog Flea and Tick Prevention
Vinegar + Water Spray
Create 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water mix and use it as a topical spray (similar to how you’d use Wondercide).
K9 Advantix II + a good coating of Wondercide
This isn’t as much an alternative as much as it is a combination of a chewable and topical medication.
Clean your yard
If you live in tick country the first thing you may want to do is clean your yard.
A good baseline is a 3 foot buffer between the lawn and any woods. Mulch, wood chips, or gravel work well, and help to decrease the migration of ticks into yards.
Get rid of any wild animals
Wild animals have to go with the exception of opossums (maybe).
Say no to tea tree oil
The way oils work is they are absorbed into our blood streams through the skin, particularly around the spine.
Kidney and liver failure are gradual killers. It could take a year for you to see damage then it’s too late.
What if your dog still manages to get a tick?
We recommend following the AKC guide for removing a tick: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-to-remove-tick-from-dog/
One thing several people noted to us is not toput anything like alcohol or oil on the tick before removing it. What that does is cause the tick to regurgitate saliva which can carry tick borne diseases. Just remove the tick with tweezers or whatever you use to remove ticks from your dog (as per the AKC guide above).
Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any flea or tick prevention methods and we’ll review them and get them added to the list!