Flea and Tick Medications for Dogs
Fleas and ticks are parasites that can be found in almost every climate and location where dogs live. These pests take up residence on your dog and live by biting the dog and feeding on their blood. In the process, they can cause allergic reactions, infections, and other serious health complications.
Although vets typically recommend year-round flea and tick prevention for dogs, these pests are especially active when it is warm and humid. In milder climates, it’s always flea and tick season, so it’s important to maintain your flea and tick prevention program throughout the year.
Read also: Routine health care of dogs
If you see symptoms of flea infestation, such as skin lesions, excessive itching, or visible flea droppings (often called “flea dirt”) on your dog’s skin, it may mean your treatment program needs adjusting. Also, if you see a tick on your dog, you should first remove the tick and then clean the area. Monitor for symptoms of tick-borne illness, such as swollen joints, reluctance to move, loss of appetite, or lameness.
Choosing a Flea and Tick Treatment
There are many safe and effective options on the market for eliminating and preventing fleas and ticks on dogs. In many cases, they are combined with other medications to provide extra treatment against other parasites including heartworms and intestinal worms. If you have questions about which option is best for you and your pets, ask your vet to recommend a product.
Some of the leading options are listed below.
Advantage II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen. Together, these medications work quickly to control fleas and lice. It kills fleas at multiple life stages, from egg to adult. Advantage II does not control ticks. According to the product label, It is safe for use in dogs and puppies over 7 weeks of age and weighing 3 pounds or more. Advantage II is applied every month as a topical solution.
Read also: General dog care
Advantage Multi contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and moxidectin. It controls adult fleas, as well as hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. It also treats sarcoptic mange and helps prevent heartworm disease. Advantage Multi does not target ticks. The manufacturer has labeled the product safe for use in dogs and puppies over 7 weeks of age and weighing at least 3 pounds. Apply Advantage Multi every month as a topical solution.
Bravecto contains the active ingredient fluralaner, which controls flea and ticks. Bravecto is available as chews that can be given monthly or every 3 months, depending on which product is right for your dog and situation. It is also available as a topical treatment that is given every 3 months. Consult with your vet to find the right Bravecto product based on your dog’s size, age, and lifestyle. As a drug in the isoxazoline class, Bravecto should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.
Frontline Gold contains the active ingredients fipronil, (s)-methoprene, and pyriproxyfen. It kills multiple life stages of fleas, as well as controlling ticks and lice. Frontline Gold is safe for use in dogs and puppies over 8 weeks of age and weighing at least 5 pounds, according to the manufacturer. It is given monthly as a topical solution that is applied to the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades.
Read also: The 10 best ways to get rid of and prevent ticks on dogs
Frontline Plus is a similar formulation but contains only fipronil and (s)-methoprene. It is also a topical medication that controls fleas, ticks, and lice but is not as fast-acting as the Frontline Gold formulation and may not be as effective at killing immature forms of fleas. According to the manufacturer, Frontline Plus is safe for use in dogs and puppies more than 8 weeks of age and weighing at least 5 pounds.
Frontline Shield contains the active ingredients fipronil, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Together, this combination of medications kills multiple life stages of fleas, as well as controlling ticks, chewing lice, and stable flies. It also repels mosquitos, stable flies, and ticks. Frontline Shield is meant to be a fast-acting medication that begins killing fleas within 5 minutes of application and ticks within the first hour. Frontline Shield is a topical medication that is applied to the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. This medication is highly toxic to cats, so use care or avoid it entirely if you have cats in the household.
K9 Advantix II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Together, these medications treat ticks, mosquitos, chewing lice, and multiple life stages of fleas. This product is safe for use in dogs and puppies at least 7 weeks of age and 4 lbs. in weight. K9 Advantix II is applied monthly. K9 Advantix II is highly toxic to cats and should be used with caution in households that include cats. For full safety information, refer to the product label.
Nexgard contains the active ingredient afoxolaner, which is the isoxazoline class of drugs. Nexgard is treats fleas, Black-legged (deer) ticks, American dog ticks, brown dog ticks, and Lone Star ticks. This product is available as a chew that is given once a month. According to the manufacturer, this product is safe for use in dogs and puppies who are at least 8 weeks of age and 4 lbs. in weight. Because it is an isoxazoline medication, it should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.
Simparica Trio contains the active ingredients sarolaner, moxidectin, and pyrantel. It is available in a chew that is given once every month. Simparica Trio controls fleas, ticks, roundworms, and hookworms. It also helps prevent heartworm disease. The manufacturer has labeled this product is safe for use in dogs and puppies who are at least 8 weeks of age and weigh2.8 lbs. or more. Simparica products containing isoxazoline medications (including Simparica Trio) should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.
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