Pet Insurance Quotes

A Guide on Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs

A dog owner gives their small dog a dosage of topical flea and tick prevention medication.

As the weather warms up and your pup starts to venture outdoors more, they’re more likely to encounter fleas and ticks that can hitch a ride inside your home. Protect your pup and home from these unwanted visitors. Let’s break down how to find the best flea and tick prevention for dogs.

What is dog flea and tick prevention?

Flea and tick prevention is the use of products to control flea and tick infestations on your pet and inside your home. Pet parasite forecast reporters, such as CAPC, can give owners insight into what to expect going into flea and tick season, but protective measures should be taken year-round.

The difference between fleas and ticks

Fleas are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of animals and people alike. They can carry flea-borne diseases and parasites like plagues and tapeworms. Ticks are a type of parasitic arachnid that can infect animals and people with tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. 

Why is it important to prevent fleas and ticks in dogs?

It protects you and your dog from diseases

Fleas and ticks can transmit various diseases to dogs, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and more. These diseases can cause serious health issues and even be life-threatening if left untreated. Fleas and ticks can also bite humans, transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and bartonellosis. By preventing fleas and ticks on your dog, you also reduce the risk of these pests affecting human members of your household.

Some dogs may be allergic to fleas and ticks

Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which can lead to allergic dermatitis. This condition causes intense itching, hair loss, and skin infections. Preventing fleas can help avoid allergic reactions in sensitive dogs. Fleas and ticks cause itching and discomfort for dogs. Constant scratching and biting can lead to skin irritation, inflammation, and secondary infections. This can affect the dog’s quality of life and may require medical treatment.

You can avoid unwanted infestations

Fleas and ticks reproduce rapidly. A single flea can lay hundreds of eggs, leading to a full-blown infestation in your home. Ticks can also quickly multiply. Preventing fleas and ticks on your dog helps prevent infestations in your home and yard, which can be challenging and costly to eradicate.

How do dogs get fleas and ticks?

Fleas and ticks are found in various environments. Your pup is more likely to pick up an unwanted hitchhiker walking in tall grass or densely wooded areas. But, they can also pick them up on a neighborhood stroll or a day in the park. So, whether you live in an urban or rural area, you should protect your dog from these pesky critters.

While March is Flea and Tick Prevention Month, your dog’s flea and tick prevention shouldn’t be seasonal. You might be thinking, “When does flea and tick season start?” The answer isn’t so simple because it doesn’t have a start or end. Fleas and ticks thrive in warmer, more humid months. But, in the colder months, these critters will seek warmth, and you may find them cozying up with your dog in your home. The bottom line is that all year round, in all climates, your dog is still at risk of being exposed to flea and tick exposure.

What are the different kinds of flea and tick prevention for dogs?

Many flea and tick prevention methods are out there that can spoil you for choice. Some pets are picky, though. Let’s walk through what’s available to help you choose a treatment that fits into your pet’s lifestyle.

Topical flea and tick prevention for dogs

These are the most popular treatments pet parents use for preventing fleas and ticks on dogs. They’re usually liquid spot treatments that you apply between your dog’s shoulder blades. Topical preventative treatment uses active ingredients that kill fleas and ticks on contact. These products usually protect your dog for one month before needing reapplication. Here are some popular topical flea and tick prevention brands:

  • K9 Advantix II
  • Frontline
  • PetArmor
  • Sentry

Topical treatment is suitable for dogs of all sizes and lifestyles. But, they may be best for small dog breeds, like Jack Russell Terriers, and dogs with active outdoor lifestyles.

Oral flea and tick prevention for dogs

Oral flea and tick prevention treatments are a convenient and effective choice. These products often come as chewables or treats, making them enjoyable for your pup. Once ingested, the active ingredients circulate in the dog’s bloodstream. So, if a flea or tick bites your dog, it dies on impact. As for upkeep, oral flea and tick prevention treatment usually needs to be given monthly. But some newer products are longer-lasting, protecting your dog for up to three months. Here are some popular oral flea and tick prevention brands:

  • Advantus 
  • Beloved Pets
  • NexGard Plus
  • Bravecto

Oral treatment is suitable for dogs of all sizes and lifestyles. But, they might be a better option for dogs that are difficult to handle or have sensitive skin.

Flea and tick collars for dogs

Flea and tick collars for dogs are another convenient option for prevention. They usually have active ingredients that repel or kill pests on contact for as long as 8 months. Make sure you’re buying a collar that fits your dog’s size to ensure a proper fit and effectiveness. Here are some popular flea and tick collars for dogs:

  • Seresto
  • PetArmor
  • Adams
  • Hartz

Flea and tick collars are suitable for dogs of all sizes and lifestyles. But, they may be a better option for dogs who may have sensitivities to topical or oral treatments.

Natural flea and tick prevention for dogs

For those looking for natural flea and tick prevention, there are chemical-free alternatives. Essential oils such as cedar and neem oil have insect-repelling properties. but should be used with caution. Some oils can be toxic to dogs in large amounts or by ingestion, so research before using any oils. In small amounts, you could use them in homemade repellent sprays or apply a few dabs to your dog’s collar. Here are some popular oral flea and tick prevention brands:

  • Vet’s Best
  • Wondercide
  • Vet Promise
  • Pet Honesty

Natural flea and tick treatments are suitable for dogs of all sizes and lifestyles. They offer another, more gentle alternative for dogs with sensitivities to chemicals.

What is the safest flea and tick prevention method?

The safest flea and tick prevention for your dog might not be the same for someone else’s dog. It’s best to consult your veterinarian about what methods would be most effective and safe for your dog.

The bottom line

No matter the season or how much time your dog spends outdoors, it’s recommended to incorporate flea and tick prevention into your dog’s routine maintenance. Like how you would schedule grooming or vaccinations, you should regularly check for fleas and ticks and use prevention treatment as needed.

Related content:

Get Free Quotes!

Compare Plans and Prices from the Top Companies