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There are so many options for your dog regarding flea and tick prevention… 

So how do you choose which to use? 

You can consider different factors when the choice feels more overwhelming than you anticipated. You should always consult with your veterinarian once you have narrowed down your options. See what they recommend for your specific pet and why. 

In the meantime, as you do your research, we’re here to help you keep it organized and informative. 

So, what factors should you be considering?  

Coat Type 

Does your dog have a long or short coat? If your dog has a long or thick coat of fur, some tropical treatments may get soaked up in the fur without much contact with the skin (which needs to occur). Short-haired dogs don’t tend to have that issue.  

Age  

Some flea and tick preventatives are not safe for young puppies. Be sure to check with your veterinarian and read the labels on the prevention to make sure you are using something age-appropriate. 

Medical history 

Preventatives can have varying ingredients, and some may or may not interact with other medications. Review your dog’s medical history with your veterinarian and consider any medications or supplements they are currently taking before choosing a preventative. 

Location 

Depending on where you live, different parasites may be more present in the environment. Flea and tick preventatives sometimes deter other parasites as well. Explore your options to see if a particular product would work against other parasites your dog is at risk of coming in contact with.  

Lifestyle 

Is your dog an active hiker or camper? Are there children in your home who may have access to touching a flea collar on your pet? Different lifestyles bring about other risks. Before choosing a preventative, consider what your dog likes to do and what they’ll be exposed to. 

What are your options for flea and tick preventatives? 

Collars 

Long gone are the days when flea collars are considered ineffective. As a result of them now being a very viable option, they tend to be more expensive than they used to be, but still a great value. For example, a Seresto collar is a popular and proven practical choice for many dogs. It usually retails between 59.99 and 64.99, but it is effective for up to eight months. You shouldn’t need to purchase more than two in a year, making it relatively cost-effective. If you have small children in the home, this might not be the best option. It releases chemicals to the touch, so a small child may be at risk of touching the collar and putting their hands in their mouth. Some dogs may be sensitive to the collar, so look out for skin reactions if you choose to try a flea and tick collar for your dog. 

Topical 

Topical options are very popular, and many are proven effective. Some of the more popular ones are K9 Advantix II and Frontline. They get administered monthly, so be sure to note in your calendar each month should you choose this route. If your dog has very long or thick fur, you’ll want to ensure the treatment is reaching their skin when administered. Some dogs may have skin reactions to topical treatments, so keep an eye on the site after using to make sure it agrees with your dog.  

Oral 

Another form of preventative is a pill your dog can take periodically. Some brands require administration every month, while others are every three months or so. These oral options are great for dogs who may have young children in their environment. It will ensure the kids are not coming into direct contact with the chemicals used in preventatives. Some examples to discuss with your veterinarian are Bravecto and Trifexis.  

Every type of flea and tick preventative has a risk of certain side effects, but most are mild. The risk of untreated fleas and ticks can often be much more dangerous. Collect as much information as you can and have an educated discussion with your veterinarian about the right choice for your dog.