Flea & Tick Products 2018
Flea Risk: All pets that go outdoors have risk for picking up fleas. Sentinel is our main product for dogs who have flea risk but no tick risk. Sentinel prevents heartworms, fleas and three types of intestinal parasites.
Cats should be on monthly heartworm medication just like dogs. If they go outdoors or won’t eat Heartgard then Revolution works best. Revolution prevents heartworms, fleas, ticks and one or two species of intestinal parasites as well. For heavier flea and tick risk Frontline for cats works great. It’s more effective than Revolution at flea and tick control. Bravecto, the 12 week oral flea and tick preventive for dogs (see below), comes in a 12 week topical application for cats. Bravecto also kills several species of mites, including Sarcoptes, Demodex and ear mites, so it is used for treating diseases caused by these parasites.
Oral flea and tick preventatives: If you or your dog dislike that wet, sticky spot on the back of the neck or Frontline isn’t working well for you, you might want to try an oral product instead. An advantage of these newer chewable oral products is that you can use them regardless of whether your dog is going to have a bath or just received a bath. (You can’t apply a topical product such as Frontline within 48 hours of bathing.) With Nexgard and Bravecto it doesn’t matter when your grooming appointment is and you won’t need to worry about getting the stuff on your hands or having an area of hair loss on the back of the dog’s neck.
Bravecto is made by Merck. It is an oral dose of medication that you give once every 12 weeks. It would be more convenient to use it every 3 months but the company is careful to emphasize that to stay effective it needs to be applied a few days earlier than just at the first of each month. It lasts 84 days, not quite 90. You would want to set up a reminder for yourself so you remember to give it to your dog when it’s due.
In addition to killing fleas and ticks, Bravecto is now the medication-of-choice for treating Demodex and Sarcoptes mange mites in dogs.
Bravecto is the most expensive tick control product by the pill but costs a little less than the monthly pill, Nexgard, on a per month basis. Merck is also offering coupons to use when you purchase both Bravecto and TriHeart Plus heartworm preventative.
Nexgard is made by Merial, the company that also makes Heartgard and Frontline. You can give it to your dog on the same day you give your monthly heartworm medication each month. Many clients find this easier to remember than giving Bravecto every 12 weeks. If you don’t check a calendar regularly so that you would remember to give Bravecto, Nexgard would be a better choice. Merial is also offering specials when you purchase Nexgard along with Heartgard, but Heartgard is more expensive than TriHeart Plus.
Bravecto and Nexgard circulate in the bloodstream. This means the tick has to actually bite the dog to ingest some of it. However, once that happens the tick will die within a few hours. Ticks crawl around for a while before they latch on and begin feeding and oral tick preventatives won’t have any effect during this time.
Topical flea and tick preventatives: The most well-known topical flea & tick product is Frontline Plus. Frontline has been around for a long time now. It kills ticks more quickly than the new oral products, usually before they bite. If you don’t like to see any ticks on your dog, Frontline would be the product you’ll want to use. (However, deer ticks are so tiny that we often never see them at all anyway.) It also doesn’t seem to work as well as it did in the past. We have had a lot of clients complaining over the last couple years that when they go up north, where there are a lot of ticks, it doesn’t control them sufficiently.
There is a lot of counterfeit Frontline on the market and it also is heat sensitive and can be damaged during shipping, making it ineffective by the time you put it on your dog. We do not recommend buying Frontline on-line or from a big box store for this reason. Be careful where you get it from and store and apply it properly, or you may be wasting your money. Remember that we get our product directly from the manufacturer and our rebates and free product deals often make purchasing from us just as good a deal as getting it elsewhere for less per tube. Plus if you buy it from us, it’s guaranteed.To counter some of the problem with insects being resistant to it, we have a new Frontline product that provides better flea control. It’s called Frontline Gold and it includes an extra ingredient for better and faster flea kill.
Revolution™ is a great product, a topical that is a heartworm and roundworm preventive as well as a flea and tick insecticide. It’s especially useful for cats who go outdoors and dogs with food allergies who can’t take oral chewable heartworm medication.
Tick collars: If your dog doesn’t swim, the Preventic collar, which contains amitraz, is a good option and it’s inexpensive compared to topical medications. The Preventic collar lasts four months. If you use Sentinel for your heartworm and flea protection, adding a Preventic collar works out well. Preventic collars have no effect against fleas. You can purchase these collars through our on-line store.
Over-the-counter products: There are many over-the-counter flea and tick products on the market. Many contain pyrethrin or permethrin, or a synthetic chemical in that same family of compounds. These chemicals were developed in the 1970’s. They are much more toxic than modern products, especially to cats, and many insects are now resistant to them. Both safety and efficacy can be poor compared to Frontline and the new oral medications. If you have no cats in your household and your pet is healthy, using these products is reasonable, although they wouldn’t be our first choice.
Regular Frontline is available OTC, as are some knock-off generics. See notes about counterfeit products on the previous page.
If you want a flea and tick collar, Seresto would be our first choice. It’s a safe product that is waterproof and lasts 8 months. It’s available at our on-line store. Flea collars in general do not provide whole-body protection as well as an ointment or an oral medication.
Overall recommendations: For heavy tick risk – going up north, taking your dog hunting, living in the boonies with lots of wildlife – we recommend using Bravecto, Nexgard or a Preventic collar. If you use an oral product be aware that you will still see ticks on your dog but they will die and fall off within a few hours of taking a bite out of your pet. It’s fine to use these heavy duty products only for months when you have more exposure to ticks and not all year round if you like. For example, you could use Sentinel year round and add Bravecto or Nexgard when you go up north in the summer or when hunting with your dog in the fall.
If your dog has had whipworms in the past and has risk for ticks, use Sentinel plus Frontline or Nexgard.
If your dog has food allergies and can’t take chewable tablets use Revolution to prevent heartworms, fleas and ticks. You can add a Preventic collar for extra tick protection if needed.
As always, please ask if you have any questions or concerns about any of our products or services!