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Most Effective Flea & Tick Protection for Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Fleas and ticks can cause serious health problems for your dog. Fleas may transmit tapeworms, cause an allergic reaction that results in itching and hair loss, or cause anemia from blood loss. Ticks transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Consistently using flea and tick prevention methods allows you to avoid these problems and keep your dog in good health. Flea prevention methods for dogs may be toxic to cats and should not be used on the family cat.

Topical Preventives

Topical flea and tick preventives, such as Frontline Plus and Advantage Multi can be applied to your dogs once per month.

The active ingredient in Frontline Plus are fipronil and S-methoprene. In addition to killing fleas and ticks, it also kills chewing lice on your dog. Advantage Multi is another topical medication that uses imidacloprid and moxidectin. It kills a variety of parasites including fleas, ticks, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, sarcoptic mange and heartworm.

Oral Medications

You can select an oral medication to prevent fleas such as Comfortis or Sentinel; however, these medications do not kill or prevent ticks.

Comfortis is a monthly pill that kills fleas for up to a month. The active ingredient in the medication is spinosad. Sentinel uses milbemycin oxime and lufenuron. Sentinel does not kill fleas, but prevents flea eggs from hatching. Sentinel also prevents roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworm. Sentinel Spectrum also has praziquantel to provide additional protection against tapeworms.

Collars and Shampoos

Flea collars kill fleas and ticks for three to eight months. Some flea collars may not be used on younger puppies. For example, the Spectra SHIELD Flea and Tick Collar can be used only on dogs who are at least 6 months old.

Shampoos and sprays also may be effective at killing fleas and ticks, but may need to be applied more often. For example, Bio-Groom Flea and Tick Shampoo must be used every week. These products do not provide protection against other parasites such as the topical and oral preventatives.

Other Prevention Methods

Most natural flea and tick prevention methods, such as garlic and brewer’s yeast, have proven ineffective, advises WebMD. Diatomacious earth can control flea larvae, but contains microscopic silicone that can be hazardous if inhaled.

Control flea and tick populations in your yard by keeping tall grasses trimmed and cleaning up leaves and other litter. Consider spraying an insecticide for fleas and ticks along the fence line and under shrubs, but be sure to allow time for the product to dry before letting your dog out in the yard.