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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for best dog flea and tick preventions

    Last Updated October 2018

    For many people, dogs really are man’s best friend which is why we go to such great lengths to take care of them. But as much as you might worry about what you feed your favorite four-legged pal or what leash works best for those long walks, you definitely shouldn’t overlook the importance of finding a good flea and tick prevention product for Fido.

    That’s because the right flea and tick prevention product can keep your dog safe from pests that could potentially cause health issues. Fleas and ticks could be lurking just about anywhere your buddy plays and spends time with other dogs on walks, at the park, in the yard.

    There are so many flea and tick products on the market for dogs today that choosing the best option can get a little overwhelming. Which formula is right for your particular pet? At BestReviews, we can answer this and other questions you may have about selecting a flea and tick prevention product for your dog.

    Flea and tick bites are usually more harmful to puppies and senior dogs than dogs of other ages.

    Flea and tick dangers

    Fleas and ticks pose fairly significant risks to your dog’s health. Both types of insects are parasites that feed on dog blood, but the negative effects of each insect are different.

    Fleas

    Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva. These poor pups experience severe itching and scratching when they have an infestation. A dog with a particularly bad reaction could scratch his skin raw, causing scabs that could actually become infected.

    Fleas can also cause internal issues for your pet. If fleas are swallowed, the dog could develop tapeworms, which are another parasite that cause dogs to lose weight and become malnourished. Some small or young dogs can develop anemia due to a lowered red blood cell count from flea bites. If left untreated, the anemia could be fatal. Fortunately, treatment from a veterinarian can reverse the condition if received promptly.

    Ticks

    Ticks can cause skin redness and irritation in dogs at the site where they feed. If the ticks are allowed to feed for too long, the dog could also develop anemia.

    However, there are even more severe health risks posed by ticks. The bite from some female ticks could result in a rare form of paralysis in some dogs. But it’s Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever that are the biggest health risks for dogs with ticks. Lyme disease can cause a dog to develop arthritis and swelling in the joints, making it difficult to get around. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can also make it difficult for your dog to walk; it can also cause fever and other symptoms.

    Convenient and easy to use

    Bayer K9 Advantix II is an extremely effective flea and tick control product that provides month-long protection. It can keep your dog safe from fleas and ticks, and it also protects against mosquitoes. You don’t need a prescription for it, and your dog doesn’t have to suffer a bite for the parasites to die.

    Assessing your dog’s risk

    Fleas and ticks are a hazard for most dogs, but certain factors increase the risk.

    • Location: If you live in a warm, humid area, your dog is at greater risk for flea and tick issues. This type of climate is an ideal environment for the pesky parasites. Don’t think you’re off the hook if you live in a cooler climate, though; fleas and ticks are found in all 50 states.

    • Season: Fleas and ticks are usually a greater problem in the spring and summer months due to the warmer weather. But you shouldn’t let your guard down in the fall and winter; they can hang around in garages, under decks, and even on wild animals.

    • Local wildlife: Animals like rats, raccoons, opossums, and feral cats and dogs are known carriers of fleas and ticks. If you have these types of wildlife in your area, your dog is at greater risk.

    • Habits: Any dog that spends time outdoors is at risk for flea and tick exposure. If you send your dog to the groomer, boarding kennel, or doggie daycare, there’s a risk of an infestation there, too.

    • Lack of flea and tick prevention: If you aren’t using any type of flea and tick prevention product year-round, your dog is at significant risk for exposure.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Adult fleas make up only 1% to 5% of the flea population.

    Factors to consider before you buy

    Formula

    When you’re choosing a flea and tick prevention product for your dog, the first question to ask is how it works. Always read the fine print so you know what type of prevention a product offers. Flea and tick formulas typically offer one of the following functions.

    • Repel ticks and fleas: Some flea and tick prevention products work to keep the bugs from attaching themselves to your dog in the first place.

    • Kill immature insects: Some flea and tick prevention products destroy immature fleas and ticks before they have a chance to reproduce and infest your dog.

    • Kill adult insects: Some flea and tick prevention products destroy fully grown fleas and ticks that have attached to your dog.

    • Combination: Some flea and tick prevention products repel, kill immature insects, and kill adult insects for total control of a flea and tick problem.
       

    A product that prevents flea and tick prevention in all three ways is usually the most effective. However, if you’re unsure what formula would be best for your dog, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian.

    Species Effectiveness

    When you choose a flea and tick prevention product for your dog, it’s important to choose an option that targets the insect species in your area. There are actually hundreds of flea and tick species across the world, so not every product may address your particular issues.

    Talk to your veterinarian to determine what insect species are found in your area. Then, check the labels on any products you’re considering to verify that they can handle the ticks and fleas in your area.

    If you’re unsure what species your dog is exposed to, look for a flea and tick prevention product that offers broad-spectrum protection against a variety of species.

    Many tick species have saliva that helps them stick to your dog’s skin. This makes them harder to remove.

    Type

    Flea and tick prevention products are available in a variety of forms that can all help protect your dog. The most common types include the following.

    • Oral medication: Flea and tick prevention products in pill and tablet form have become extremely popular. They’re highly effective, and you don’t have to worry about the treatment washing or rubbing off. However, oral prevention products can sometimes cause side effects like nausea. They’re best given with food.

    • Topical medication: If your dog doesn’t take medication well, a spot treatment or topical flea and tick prevention product may be a better option. These products are applied directly to the dog’s skin, usually along the back, where they are absorbed into the body. They can be very effective, but some owners have difficulty applying them.

    • Collar: Flea and tick collars are a traditional prevention option. You don’t have to apply anything to your dog or fight with her to take a pill; you simply fasten the collar around her neck. Flea/tick collars are not as effective as oral or topical treatments, however. In general, they’re best used in combination with another prevention product.

    • Shampoo: Flea and tick shampoos are an inexpensive, easy way to prevent your dog from developing an infestation. They can kill fleas and ticks instantly. Washing your dog is labor intensive, however, and the results don’t tend to last very long.

    Duration/Frequency

    It’s important to consider how long a flea and tick prevention product will work for your dog and how often he would need to be treated. Most oral and topical products require monthly treatments, while collars can offer protection for several months. Shampoos offer the shortest protection, usually lasting only a day.

    Fast-acting and mess-free

    Unlike topical flea treatments, Sentry Capguard Oral Flea Treatment Medication is an over-the-counter tablet that doesn’t leave you with a mess on your hands. It effectively targets flea populations with nitenpyram, the same active ingredient in many prescription flea control products. Best of all, Sentry Capguard goes to work in as little as 30 minutes, making your dog’s flea problem history fast.

    Dog flea and tick prevention prices

    Dog flea and tick prevention products range in price based on the type and how many applications are included. In general, you can expect to spend between $6 and $60 on a six- to eight-month supply.

    • Shampoo: Dog flea and tick prevention shampoos usually range from $8 to $22.

    • Collar: Dog flea and tick prevention collars usually range from $6 to $55.

    • Topical: Dog flea and tick prevention topical treatments usually range from $10 to $60.

    • Oral: Dog flea and tick prevention oral treatments usually range from $18 to $60.
    To keep your lawn free of ticks, mow it regularly. Trim any tall weeds, as the parasites are often found there. Fleas prefer dark, moist areas. To minimize your chance of an infestation, remove any leaf or clippings piles from your yard immediately.

    FAQ

    Q. How important are my dog’s age and weight when I’m selecting a flea and tick prevention product?

    A. Indeed, these are important factors to consider. You want to make sure your dog is at an appropriate age to use the product. In most cases, the dog should be at least six weeks old, but consult with your veterinarian to make sure your puppy is a good candidate. If your dog is the right age, it’s also important to consider his weight when choosing a topical or oral option. Larger dogs need a stronger dose, while smaller dogs should get a weaker dose to prevent side effects.

    Q. What might cause a topical flea and tick prevention product to be ineffective?

    A. A topical treatment may not be effective if you apply it to the dog’s hair rather than his skin. The treatment must be fully absorbed through the skin to work properly. However, you shouldn’t rub it in, as you could inadvertently absorb it through your own skin.

    Before applying a topical product, check that your dog’s skin is soft and healthy. If the skin is thick, dry, or rough, the treatment may not be properly absorbed.

    Q. Can I use my dog flea and tick prevention product on a cat?

    A. No. Flea and tick prevention products are designed for specific species, so you should not use your dog’s treatment on your cat. Cats are actually more sensitive to the treatments, so they may get sick if you use a canine version.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Samantha
      Samantha
      Writer

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