If there’s one thing every dog owner hates, it’s watching fleas and ticks hang on their dog’s fur.
The pests – fleas and ticks – are disease banks.
They don’t party on your pet’s blood alone. They bring diseases causing bad guys like tapeworms and hookworms along.
Do you have kids and other pets at home? These nasty critters are harmful to them as well.
But the good news is, the ticks and fleas are preventable and treatable.
All you need to do is to pick the one of the best flea medicine for dogs that you will find in this guide, administer it and relax.
The peace of mind starts as soon as you start protecting your dog from these pests.
After all, seeing dead bodies of the pests dropping from your pet is a satisfying experience.
If your pet’s overall health is important, introduce some of the best tick medicine for dogs immediately.
In case you are confused about selecting one, here’s the help.
Below is everything you might like to know about fleas and ticks.
Keep reading to find more about the best dog flea medicines.
Best Flea Medicine for Dogs: Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Oral (Soft Chews): NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs
- Runner up Oral: Bravetco Soft Chews for Dogs
- Best Collar: Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs
- Best for Small Dogs: K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs
- Best for Large Dogs: Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs
- Best for Puppies: Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs
What You Should Know About Fleas in Dogs?
Most dog owners who don’t see fleas and ticks on their pets think that their pet dog doesn’t have them – that’s a BIG misconception!
The time you discover pests on your pet, you only come across 5% of them.
The rest 95% are hiding in your furniture, carpet, and other nooks of your home in the form of eggs, larvae, and pupas.
Not only dogs who explore outdoors are at risk.
If your dog is an indoor boy, he still is in danger.
Pests can make their way to your home by sticking on your clothes or shoes if you go for walks in nature or in the mountains.
How Do Dogs Get Fleas and Ticks?
Dogs can pick up fleas and ticks from ANYWHERE. It can be your local dog park, veterinary clinic, your yard, through grass, or weeds. Dogs can get fleas and ticks from other animals as well, either directly or indirectly.
What Are The Health Risks to Your Dog?
Fleas and ticks are more than something that can make your dog sick.
They can seriously damage your dog’s skin and can develop an allergic reaction.
Apart from that, these pests can bring some other parasites along that can cause life-threatening diseases.
Like, say, cat scratch fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and even Plague.
Fleas and ticks can also make your pet anemic from blood loss.
What Options Are There for Ticks and Flea Medicine?
Tick and flea medicine for dogs comes in a variety of options.
Some focus on flea and tick prevention; others are designed to treat these pests.
The available choices can be oral medications, pills, topical treatments, specifically formulated medical collars, anti-flea, and tick shampoos, medicated sprays, and you name it.
For a better understanding, let’s discuss the multiple usable options.
1. Flea and Tick Prevention Medicines
If there is one best cure to any sickness, that is PREVENTION.
The preventative medicines to treat pests in dogs are Topical treatments and Collars.
Some preventative medicines are only effective against fleas, whereas some are capable of protecting against both – fleas and ticks.
Topical Flea Treatments
Topical treatments are the most popular way to control fleas in dogs. They usually come in liquid drop form. They help treat existing infestations and are also effective in treating upcoming outbursts.
Mostly, you just need to apply such treatments once a month at a single spot on your doggo’s back.
Later on, the medicine spreads to the entire body through your pet’s skin follicles.
Topical treatments are ideal because:
- They are safe and effective.
- Protect against current and future infestations of fleas and ticks.
- Mostly work on all dog sizes and breeds.
- Need only once a month application.
You might not like topical solutions to keep pests away. The reasons can be:
- Topical treatments are messy.
- They include ingestion hazards.
- Some dogs with sensitive skin might develop a reaction against the topical solutions.
- They demand great care. (Make sure your skin doesn’t contact the content while you apply for the medicine onto your pet’s skin)
- They are time-consuming as you have to wait longer to let them dry.
In case you have kids and other pets, you’ll have to put extra effort to keep everyone safe.
Flea collars are the most economical choice. They are long-lasting and are the easiest way to prevent fleas and ticks.
Flea collars are also available in varieties.
You may find some medicated flea collars. They are thin, flexible, and adjustable bands coated with some anti-flea and tick repellent – either chemical or natural to shoo the pests away.
The other types of collars are bands that use sound waves to turn the pests away. They are high-tech and modern.
Flea collars are great because:
- They are affordable.
- They last longer – as long as eight months!
- They don’t demand much time to administer.
Some drawbacks to using flea collars can be:
- Their least effectiveness – they may not work as well as other options for full-body protection.
- The medicine delivery method of collars is limited to the neck.
- The collars contain medicines that might be harmful to humans or other pets if touched.
2. Flea and Tick Treatments
When it’s too late to go for preventative methods, and your pet is dealing with blood-sucking critters, it’s time for some solid treatment.
The most famous type of anti-flea and tick treatment is treating them with the help of oral pills.
Other choices can be the use of shampoos and sprays.
Flea Pills for Dogs
Flea pills work to exterminate the flared-up pests.
The oral pills or chews take action against different kinds of pests. Some kill adult fleas, while others eliminate the eggs and larvae.
Some even perform both tasks.
What function will a particular medicine carry out depends on the active ingredient of the medicine.
You may opt for Flea pills because:
- They are no mess treatments.
- They act fast.
- They are effective for whole-body treatment as the medicine works through your dog’s bloodstream.
The cons of oral medications include:
- They can be hard to give – if your dog is a picky eater.
- They may cause potential side effects.
The above-mentioned types are the three main popular options often used to either prevent or treat pests.
However, there are some other choices as well to keep your dog pest-free.
Though the remaining options do not earn great favor from the dog owners, still, they are useful for treating ticks and fleas.
Flea and Tick Shampoos
An affordable and easy option for pest treatment is using Flea and tick shampoos. You can use such shampoos like any other bath product. These shampoos are the best way to wash off a large number of pests at once.
But these shampoos are not a long-term solution.
You’ll have to go for multiple applications to rinse off the pests on your dog’s skin, and that takes a lot of time and patience.
However, you can avail better results if you coordinate shampoos with some other anti-flea and tick treatment. Such as pills.
Flea and Tick Sprays
Flea sprays are another inexpensive yet effective solution.
Plus, they are easy to use. But the thing is spraying your dog will also demand much time and multiple squirting.
Besides, you’ll have to take care that your dog doesn’t inhale or ingest the spray fume.
A better way to avoid the risk is to use the spray in the open air.
Best Tick and Flea Medicine for Dogs Reviews
Here we have reviewed some of the best flea medicine for dogs keeping multiple options in mind.
Read on to explore all the picks one by one.
1. Best Overall Oral (Soft Chews): NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs
Are you looking for some top-rated prescription medication that’s hard on fleas and ticks but gentle on your pet’s tummy?
Looks like your search is over.
NexGard soft chew for dogs is our top choice on the list.
Great taste and great functionality are what these soft chews offer as their highest traits. The chew tablets are fast-acting, safe, and effective.
It’s a safer option for dogs and puppies of 8 weeks of age, weighing as little as 4 lbs.
- Takes fast action against adult fleas without giving them a chance to lay eggs.
- Comes in a tasty beef flavor that your dog won’t resist
- Contains Afoxolaner that absorbs in the bloodstream after ingestion and eliminates parasites
- Effective against Lone Star Tick, Black-legged Tick, American Dog tick, and Brown Dog Tick
- Prescription-based medicine
- Vet recommended
- Flavored and Easy-to-give
- Usable with other medications
- Prevents Lyme disease
- Needs only once a month administration
- Can cause seizures even in dogs with no such history
- Not suitable for cats
2. Runner up Oral: Bravetco Soft Chews for Dogs
Combining ease of administration and rapid action, Bravetco Soft Chews is our runner-up choice.
If you can’t wait longer for flea and tick elimination, Bravetco Soft Chews might be the right choice for you.
It provides long-term protection against parasites and kills 98.7% within 24 hours.
- Contains Fluralaner as the active ingredient
- Safeguards against tick and fleas for 12 weeks and eliminates Lone Star ticks for up to 8 weeks
- Terminates adult fleas, helps treat, control, and prevent further tick and flea infestations
- Chews are flavored; also available in a topical solution
- Prescription-only medicine
- Functional with other drugs and food
- Convenient administration; once every 3 months
- 3x longer-lasting protection
- Has some possible side effects, such as digestive troubles, weakness, and seizures
- Not functional against Lone Star Ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing
3. Best Collar: Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs
Feeding chew medicines and applying topical creams are so much work.
Do you want a simple anti-tick and flea solution? We are sure you want one.
Nothing beats the ease of putting a collar on, right?
So, opt for Seresto Flea & Tick collar and repel the tiny bloodsuckers with great comfort.
- Has two active ingredients; Imidacloprid and Flumethrin to control flea infestations
- The collar works through contact. So, parasites will die before biting your dog.
- Features rapid action that starts functioning within 24 hours
- Besides terminating ticks and fleas, it also helps treat sarcoptic mange and kills lice
- Avail 8-month long protection
- Bite-free action
- Odorless and non-greasy
- Easy-to-wear and adjustable
- As the collar only surrounds the neck so it might not be much effective for the whole-body treatment
- Size adjustment can be tricky.
4. Best for Small Dogs: K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs
Those dog owners who are big fans of topical anti-parasitic solutions recognize K9 Advantix as a safe and quick flea and tick terminator.
It not only supports ease of application but is also ideal for a year-round treatment for small dogs.
- Contains Imidacloprid, Permethrin, and Pyriproxyfen as active ingredients
- Specifically formulated to repel and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without painful biting
- The water-proof formula continues to work up to 4 weeks after swimming and bathing
- One topical application kills fleas in 12 hours and keeps working for the next 30 days
- Broad-spectrum treatment (Kills mosquitoes, all life stages of fleas, and prevents re-infestation)
- Easy to apply
- For dogs only
- Can cause neurological side effects
5. Best for Large Dogs: Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs
When it comes to protecting your pet against re-emerging nasty fleas and ticks, every dog owner wants something simple to use yet outlasting, right?
So, here we are with our next product, Frontline Plus.
Frontline Plus is a topical treatment that is easy to apply, kills the current swarm of parasites, and prevents future infestations as well.
- Includes two active and effective ingredients; Fipronil for action against parasites that come in contact and (S)-methoprene to kills eggs and larvae
- Earns trust of vets for over 20 years
- Stops infestations and prevents new ones
- Kills fleas, ticks – their all life stages including those who may transmit Lyme disease and chewing lice
- Needs a single point application, soon, the medicine deposits into sebaceous glands and keep replenishing pests
- One dose lasts all month long, suitable for dogs eight weeks or older weighing at least 5 lbs.
- No prescription needed
- Long-lasting treatment
- Caused burns and irritation
- Does not protect against mosquitoes
- Not for dogs younger than 8 weeks
6. Best for Puppies: Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs
Hate the strong odor of topical formulas?
You must be looking for a better alternative. If so, Capstar Tablets can be the best.
Just giving one tablet will do the trick.
However, if you want to include the tablet in your pet’s daily routine, you can rely on Capstar.
It’s an odorless and No-mess treatment, easy for you, and effective against pests!
- Has Nitenpyram as its active ingredient
- Exterminates the existing infestation of fleas in dogs and puppies
- Comes in form of an oral tablet
- Includes 6 doses for use – for dogs weighing 2-25 lbs
- Ideal for dogs and cats of 2 lbs of weight and over 4 weeks of age
- Starts action within 30 minutes of administering the oral pill
- Easy oral delivery
- Vet recommended
- No prescription required
- Safe for pregnant and nursing females
- Unused tablets are storable
- It’s a flea treatment only – not effective against ticks and mosquitoes
- Doesn’t provide ongoing protection
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider When Purchasing Flea Medicine for Dogs
When you are about to shop for something for your pet, it’s not an easy task.
It’s important to understand how the ingredients used in the product will fare.
Will it go with your dog’s skin, digestive system, and lifestyle?
Will it conform to your dog’s specific medical conditions?
There are so many things to look for…
And they make purchasing medicines tricky.
Therefore we have listed some major factors you shouldn’t skimp before you buy any treatment or prevention product.
1. Active Chemical Compounds
It’s crucial to look at the label of the medicine before you decide to buy it. This is because different ingredients react differently to each dog.
The biggest advantage of keeping a check on active ingredients is you can avoid the medicine that contains any ingredient your dog is allergic to.
Following chemical compounds in flea and tick medicines are the most effective:
- Afoxolaner (Brand name NexGard)
- Nitenpyram (Brand name Capstar)
- Fipronil (Brand name Frontline)
- Fluralaner (Brand name Bravetco)
Some flea and tick medicines for dogs contain toxins as active ingredients that may pose serious health risks to kids, pregnant ladies, and other pets.
Therefore, it’s more than necessary to beware of the risks included with the use of a particular treatment.
Below is the list of some toxic ingredients that might be harmful to your family members other than the infected dog.
- Carbaryl, Propoxur, and Tetrachlorvinphos (Often used in Flea Collars)
- Pyrethrins and Permethrin (Harmful to cats)
- Isoxazoline (can cause seizures and neurological problems in dogs and cats)
- Permethrin, Fipronil, Pyrethrins, or Imidacloprid (Cancer-causing and nervous system toxins)
3. Possible Side Effects
Most of the flea and tick preventative or treating medicines for dogs are FDA approved.
It means they have little or no side effects.
However, that’s not the case with every solution available out there.
Most of the medicines have caution regarding seizures. So, carefully read the label before you use the treatment.
4. Conformability to Your Dog’s Size and Weight
Many medications are suitable for only a particular size and weight of the pet. And many are breed-specific.
Therefore, it’s vital to check the dosage guide beforehand.
5. Medical Interaction
Sometimes the ingredients of one medicine don’t go well with the ingredients of another. In that case, the two ingredients can cause some kind of reaction.
Make sure the medicine you are going to give a try is safe to use with other drugs.
Some Tell-tale Signs That Your Dog Has Fleas or Ticks
Catching up the pests disturbing your pet is nothing hard. You can spy on your pet’s scratching habits and look for some signs that reveal that your dog has fleas and ticks.
Aggressive scratching is the first sign that your pet has flea – or some other pest – infestation.
Also, there is a chance that you might see some flea dirt, those black specks on your furniture and floor. You may see some crawling on your dog’s coat as well.
Ticks are adept at hiding themselves in your doggie’s coat. So, you are more likely to feel a bump in your skin rather than noticing a tick on your pet’s skin or hair.
If you suspect your dog is affected by ticks and fleas, examine your pet immediately.
You can run a flea comb through your dog’s hair to confirm your suspicion.
Areas to Look for Fleas and Ticks on Your Dog
You should look for fleas and ticks on warm and dark areas of your dog’s body.
You can search for pests:
- under your dog’s front legs,
- under the collar,
- near the eyelids,
- around the eyes,
- around the tail,
- between the back legs,
- between the toes,
- or in any fold of his body.
Ticks or other pests are dark-colored and cling to your pet’s skin so tightly that you can misinterpret it as a scar.
Therefore, frequent checkups and the use of a flea comb can help you determine if your pet is infected by pets or not.
Other Strategies to Prevent Your Dog From Getting Fleas and Ticks
There is no doubt in the fact that keeping a check on your pet’s day-to-day condition is a must. And regular vet checkups go without saying.
There are some other ways you can use to prevent your dog from getting fleas and ticks.
- If you live in an area where your dog is at high risk of getting heavy infestations, collaborate with your vet to decide on the best flea or tick medicine for your dog.
- Keep your pet’s bedding, carpets, and rugs clean and wash them often.
- Examine your pet on and off. Especially, after your pet comes back from the outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flea and Tick Medicine for Dogs
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Conclusion: Our Top Pick
With just one easy monthly administration, NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs is our top pick. It treats, controls, and prevents pests in a better way.
NexGard are spot on chews, containing Afoxolaner – one of the toughest elements against pests that assimilate into your pet’s bloodstreams and start its action to help you win the battle against pests.
However, every product has its pros and cons.
A product that suits a pet can be inappropriate for another.
Therefore, always speak to your vet before you opt for ANY anti-flea and tick medicine for your dog.