When caring for our pets, we always strive to provide the best life that they can have. After all, they are a family that we chose. No matter what breed of dog they are, big or small, they deserve human love and respect.
However, even if we do our best to give them a safe environment to live in, we cannot always control everything. There are things out there that may affect our beloved dogs, such as fleas and ticks. These pests are incredibly harmful to animals and may even cause more serious diseases if not treated properly.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat these situations. This article will find the best fleas and tick medicines for dogs, so your pet won’t have to suffer anymore. Continue reading if you are interested to learn about them.
Best Flea And Tick Medicines For Your Dogs at a Glance
One of the ingredients of Comfortis is Spinosad, an insecticide that targets the nervous system of pests. It works by making the fleas and ticks enter hyperexcitation, which progresses into paralysis and eventually death. Keep in mind that it only affects insects, so it would be safe for your dogs to ingest.
Comfortis is an excellent product for controlling flea infestations. Its mode of action can be considered unique, as not many products use this style to eliminate fleas and ticks.
You can give to your dog once a month, partnered with a full meal. Comfortis come in several sizes, and choose the one that best suits your dog’s size. Dogs despise most medications due to their unlikely taste and smell, but this is a chewable flavored tablet that most dogs will surely enjoy.
Comfortis is safe to administer to dogs older than 14 weeks old. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your veterinarian if your dog is nursing, pregnant, breeding, and has existing neurological conditions.
Effectivity starts 30 minutes after ingestion
Kills 100% of mature fleas within four hours
Treats flea allergy dermatitis
It comes in flavored chewable tablets
Spinosad – kills fleas and prevents further infestation
Milbemycin oxime – kills worms living inside your pup’s intestines
Best for active dogs
Safe for puppies and older dogs
It may cause irritation
May induce adverse effects on cats
Nexgard helps improve your dog’s health by eliminating fleas and ticks. Many claim this product works faster than most flea medications and may even clear the infection in a few hours. One of its active ingredients is the Afoxolaner, an ectoparasiticide that kills parasites in your pet’s fur and skin. Aside from that, this product also helps provide month-long protection from flea eggs and further infestation by paralyzing the pests.
Like most flea medications out there, this targets the nervous system of the insects and stops the movement of ions in their nerve cells. From this, the fleas and ticks will eventually die before they can lay more eggs.
You can administer Nexgard during one of your dog’s feeding times. It comes with a beefy flavor that your pup will surely love. However, if they are particular with everything that they consume, you can try to mask it with different foods such as a piece of meat, peanut butter, fruits, and more.
After consumption, the medication will immediately get absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream and start working. Don’t worry because it would not affect their nervous system like how it affects the fleas. Keep in mind that the pests will only get infected by the medicine if they try to bite your pet for a meal, and this will almost instantly kill them.
Nexgard is a highly recommended medication for dogs in combating annoying fleas and ticks. It works effectively and quickly, so they won’t have to be exposed to excessive medicines.
Safe for dogs and children
It helps eliminate certain kinds of worms
Provides month-long protection
Afoxolaner – kills parasites living on your dog’s fur and skin
Milbemycin oxime – targets parasites and worms inside the body
Good for Lyme disease
Delicious beef flavor
Safe for all dog breeds
Offers month-long protection from fleas and ticks
Not recommended for dogs with seizures
The medication will only infect ticks and fleas if they bite the body
The active ingredient Bravecto uses is the fluralaner, which acts mainly as an ectoparasiticide. It helps kill live parasites in the infected animal’s skin, fur, and ears. Bravecto prevents the risks of B. canis canis infection, which affects the reproductive system of dogs. Severe cases may even lead to abortions and infertility.
It requires the pests to attach to the dog’s skin and start feeding to be exposed to the substance. It also kills fleas, mites, and ticks that your dog might have accidentally ingested to prevent the risks of worms and internal complications.
Bravecto claims to kill fleas within eight hours of administration and 12 to 48 hours for ticks. If you use this product for cats, you can expect the medications to take action within 12 hours for fleas and 48 hours for ticks.
Safe for puppies and pregnant dogs
Useful for killing mites
Fluralaner – eliminates fleas after they hatch from eggs
Moxidectin – kills fleas and intestinal parasites
Easy to administer
May cause short-term moist dermatitis
Does not kill flea larvae
Simparica is a traditional veterinary-prescribed medicine for fleas and ticks. It is in the form of a chewable tablet that you can administer every month as it provides long-lasting protection from pest infestation. This product is effective in combating flea allergy dermatitis in pets.
It usually targets mature fleas within 8 hours, while it takes around 12 hours for the ticks to get fully exposed. Simparica claims to be able to kill all of the ticks in your dog’s skin and fur within 24 hours. This product can also be used to treat sarcoptic mange and demodicosis.
Unlike other medications, you can also use Simparica to treat ear mite infections, intestinal worms, and heartworms. All of that power is in one convenient pill.
Requires one doe per month
It also treats ear mites
Sarolaner – help treat and control flea and tick infestations
Kills fleas within 3 hours
Rare reports on adverse reactions
Suitable for Collies (known to be sensitive to drugs)
Safe for smaller breeds
Do not repel fleas and ticks
Not approved for pregnant, breeding, and lactating dogs
Credelio’s active ingredient in combating flea infestations is the lotilaner, an ectoparasiticide. It helps kill the parasites living in your pup’s skin and fur. However, they need to attach to the skin before they can get exposed to the medication.
Pests that are exposed to lotilaner have their nervous systems affected. The substance in the medicine blocks the normal movement of flea’s charged particles in and out of the nerve cells. This eventually leads to paralysis and death. Lotilaner immediately kills fleas before they can lay more eggs, thus reducing the risk of contamination and further pest problems for your animals.
Fast and powerful
Gentle on dogs
Can be administered to puppies
Suitable for dogs with sensitive skin
Lotilaner – kills parasites living on your dog’s fur and skin
100% efficacy in eliminating flea infestation and 97% for ticks
It starts effectivity within 4 hours
Works excellent for flea and tick prevention
Infrequent reports on side effects
Not applicable for tick bite treatment
Works on mature fleas only
What Are Dog Fleas, And What Do They Look Like?
There are around 2,500 species of fleas worldwide, but only a few are common in the US and can affect humans. This includes Ctenocephalides canis (dog flea) and Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea). Despite their names, the cat flea is the one that affects most domestic animals in the United States, like cats and dogs.
Due to their size, it is easy to miss them when you are not exactly looking. This gives them time to grow in number and feast on your poor dogs. They can even crawl and jump into surfaces, affecting your favorite spots like beds and couches.
Fleas are known to be carriers of various diseases, so you must treat your pet immediately upon the first flea sighting. Fleas are usually tiny, around 3 mm long. Their bodies are dark brown and flat, living under the fur and near your puppy’s skin.
If you suspect a possible flea infestation on your dog, you can look for signs of excessive redness and scratching on the groin, belly, and base of the tail. It can also take the form of red and bumpy rashes.
You can also look for flea eggs, which are oval, light-colored, and very small. They usually fall off the animal, but they are difficult to see due to their almost-transparent appearance. Flea also leaves behind dirt, the feces they produce after a blood meal. It is easy to miss them because they look closely similar to dirt. You can check it by placing them on a moist tissue. If they stain red, then it is flea dirt.
What Do Fleas Do To Dogs?
Fleas can do more harm to your dog than just itching. It can be pretty uncomfortable for them, especially if the flea has already multiplied on their body and is continuously feasting on their blood. You can spot a flea infestation if your pup is experiencing hair loss, constant scratching, and red patches all around the body, specifically on the groin, base of the tail, and belly.
1. Contact Dermatitis
The most common symptom of a possible flea infestation is contact dermatitis. Flea bites can irritate your dog’s skin. Some dogs may even be allergic to a flea’s saliva, and this condition is known as flea allergy dermatitis.
Dogs experiencing this will instinctively lick, scratch, and chew on their flea bites. However, this can eventually break the skin and cause swelling and wounds, exposing the body to more bacteria and secondary infections. If your pup has more sensitive skin, you can ask your vet for a prescription to keep the fleas away.
Regular lawn maintenance and home vacuuming can lower the risk of flea contact dermatitis.
2. Tapeworm infestation
Tapeworms are a common problem for animals. They are long, flat, and segmented, which steals all the nourishment the host body eats. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, and accidentally ingesting said fleas may allow the eggs to mature inside the body.
Fortunately, tapeworms are not fatal. The worst thing it can do to your dog has deprived them of the nutrients they should be getting for a healthier body. However, this may cause severe intestinal problems if your dog is very young, immunocompromised, and geriatric.
One of the first symptoms of a tapeworm infestation in a dog is when they are constantly scooting their bottoms to the floor. This is due to irritation and anal itching. You can consult your trusted vet for a medication to kill the tapeworms.
Fleas are parasites that feast on the blood of their hosts through bites. Although a single bite from a flea would not cause any harm other than itching, the continuous biting and blood drawing from the host can eventually lead to anemia.
Anemia can be dangerous for certain breeds of dogs, puppies, and the ones with existing low red blood cell count. It can even lead to severe illnesses and death if it remains untreated.
4. Canine Bartonellosis
Aside from worms and parasites, fleas also carry harmful bacteria. One of the most common is Bartonella, which can infect domestic animals. It results in Bartonellosis, a set of complex infectious diseases that can be fatal. Ticks and lice can also transmit this to other animals.
The symptoms of Bartonellosis in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, eye and nose irritation, fever, and lameness. This can eventually lead to lymph node inflammation, arthritis, seizures, and liver and spleen swelling. It is essential to bring them to a veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has Bartonellosis.
Why Are Fleas Attracted To Dogs?
Upon hatching from their cocoons, fleas are attracted where there are warmth, light, and food. A dog’s fur is the perfect place for them, and the fur makes it easier to hide and reproduce undisturbed. When they are young, they can be very small, which makes them difficult to spot. It can be uncomfortable for a dog to ensure this, leading to even more severe diseases.
Fleas rummage their surroundings for a blood meal in the first week of their life as this keeps them from starvation. Just imagine what kind of a feast a freshly groomed, the warm dog is for them. With humans, it is easy to spot them because we don’t have any fur for the fleas to hide. They also love living with cats and other domestic animals.
It would be best to make it a routine to check your beloved pets every once in a while for a flea infestation so you can immediately take action.
What Are The Consequences Of A Dog Having Fleas?
All pet owners know the risks of what fleas can do to their pets. You can avoid this by maintaining a suitable environment for them, but sometimes it is not enough. It can give rise to several conditions if it is not treated immediately. A dog will also suffer the consequences if they do not receive treatment, depending on its breed, age, and existing medical issues.
The first sign that your dog is infested with fleas is when they start scratching and chewing its skin repeatedly. Fleas can be extremely itchy to the skin, especially with continuous biting. Some dogs also have skin allergies, particularly flea saliva, which may cause swelling and redness.
You may even see tiny brown dots moving around their body and quickly hiding under their coat. Eventually, the dog may also suffer from hair loss and diseases.
Other than skin irritations, the flea may also cause internal complications to the dog. Fleas carry parasites, and an infected dog is susceptible to accidentally ingesting them. One of the most common parasites, fleas, has tapeworm eggs. This can grow up to 12 inches inside the body. It may cause weight loss and malnutrition in dogs.
A flea infestation may also lead to anemia. Small and young dogs are most likely to develop this condition due to the constant decrease in their red blood cell count. It can be fatal if not immediately addressed and is often considered a medical emergency.
These are some additional consequences your dog may get if they are suffering from a flea infestation:
Flea dirt on the bedding and undercoat
Are Certain Dogs At More Risk For Fleas And Ticks Than Others?
Fleas are generally attracted to all dogs, but some breeds tend to be more of a magnet to fleas than others. Fleas thrive in good conditions; one perfect example is your dog’s fur. They love humid and warm environments and can survive all year long.
However, not all dogs hold the same moisture level on their fur. Dogs can only sweat through the glands on their feet. Their skin only gets moist when they lick it or get wet from an external cause. Fleas immediately run around the skin upon landing on the dog. Then, they will start feeding and laying eggs.
Dogs with longer coats are a more suitable habitat for fleas because they can easily hide them. Fleas are also more attracted to dogs with floppy ears and long tails because they serve as good hiding spots than nubby tails and perky ears. Some of the breeds more susceptible to flea infestation are the following:
There’s no particular breed to which fleas are more drawn, but pay more attention to your dog if they have dark and longer fur. There are many ways you can protect them from getting fleas from their environment, but don’t forget to check once they show any of the initial signs.
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog?
It is essential to take immediate action upon noticing fleas on your dog’s fur. They can multiply in weeks if left untreated. After confirming a flea infestation, these are the things that can do afterward:
1. Give your dog a bath
The first solution to help your pup get rid of fleas is bathing them with lukewarm water and mild soap. Dish soap can also help drown the fleas. If you want to use anti-flea shampoo treatments, it would be helpful to consult your veterinarian first in case of possible allergies and complications. The skin may be more sensitive if they are allergic to fleas, and chemicals in various products may only irritate and worsen the situation.
It is not exactly a necessity to bathe your dog when they have fleas. However, it may help relieve some irritations that they are feeling. Experts do not suggest frequent bathing for dogs, but severe infestations may require a few more times per week. It depends on your shampoo, so always talk with your trusted doctor.
2. Comb their fur using a flea comb
Fleas can be tiny, especially when they are still young. Removing them by hand will not only be time-consuming but has the possibility of becoming more infectious. You can start by dipping the comb in a mixture of dish soap and water, as this will help get hold of the flea and keep them from running away.
The teeth of the comb you are using should be able to trap the flea as it runs through the fur. Flea combs are also helpful in removing flea dirt and eggs around the skin. Just be sure to be gentle to avoid irritating your pup’s sensitive skin.
3. Kill the fleas
It is difficult to kill a flea, and it is not recommended for you to try and crush them by hand. They can quickly jump on surfaces and escape your plan. It would be best to soak the pests in hot, soapy water and wait until they die. This is the best way to kill them without using harsh chemicals.
4. Use apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many helpful uses, and one of those is repelling fleas. They don’t like the taste and smell of it, so they are likely to avoid it. You can dilute ACV in water and use a spray bottle. If your dog does not enjoy spraying, you can use a brush instead and apply it during grooming.
5. Do routine checkups
If you believe your dog is more susceptible to fleas, especially when they spend most of their time outdoors, then running a flea comb at least once every week is enough to see if they have fleas. Prevention is always better than cure.
6. Manually remove the fleas and ticks
Many say you should use nail polish, gasoline, alcohol, and petroleum jelly to remove the ticks, but they can only infect the bite more. Instead, you can use tweezers to remove insects from the body manually.
Keep in mind that they usually stick to the skin through bites, so be careful not to squeeze the bloated body of the fleas. Pull up straight gently, and do not twist. Repeat the process until you can remove most insects from the body.
7. Treatments and medications
If you have already tried many solutions, but to no avail, you should contact your vet, who will help you come up with a plan on how to help your pet. Flea collars are an excellent item to start with. It comes with medications that can help kill fleas while providing lasting protection for your pup.
Dogs can also take oral treatments for this condition. Typically, they can kill mature fleas in around 30 minutes. Incorporating it into your pet’s daily meal can help prevent fleas from constantly multiplying.
Shampoos are usually not recommended for getting rid of fleas, as some may include harmful chemicals. Some products can even kill cats if handled with very little knowledge regarding their use.
If you want to use medical treatments for your dog’s flea problem, always cooperate with an expert so you will not endanger their life and the other animals around them.
Can My Dog Get Sick From Flea And Tick Bites?
Yes. Unfortunately, dogs can get sick from fleas and tick bites other than skin rashes. These are some of the most common conditions they may get if the flea infestation is left untreated:
Agent: Spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi
Common symptoms: fever, lameness, lethargy, kidney failure, and decreased appetite
Agent: Hemoprotozoans Babesia species
Common symptoms: bleeding issues, fever, weakness
Agent: bacteria of Bartonella species
Common symptoms: decreased appetite, fever, weight loss, lameness, weakness, coughing
Agent: Ehrlichia ewingii, E. canis, and Intracellular bacteria
Common symptoms: fever, decreases appetite, lethargy, hemorrhage, lameness
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Agent: Intracellular bacteria, Rickettsia rickettsia
Common symptoms: weight loss, lethargy, fever, bleeding abnormalities
Agent: Protozoans Hepatozoon Americanum and H. canis
Common symptoms: decreased appetite, lethargy, fever, dehydration
Agent: Bacteria Francisella tularensis
Common symptoms: decreased appetite, eye abnormalities, enlarged lymph nodes, abscesses, fever
Agent: Neurotoxin spread through tick saliva
Common symptoms: difficulty breathing and progressive paralysis of legs (starting in rear limbs to all four)
Agent: Intracellular bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum
Common symptoms: lack of appetite, dehydration, fever, lethargy
Do I Need A Vet’s Prescription to Get the Best Flea and Tick Medicines for Dogs in 2022?
No. You don’t need a vet’s prescription before you can purchase medication for fleas in 2022. However, some chemicals may harm certain dogs, depending on their size and other factors like existing conditions and risks. You should also consult them regarding your dog’s allergy, and they may help you find the best treatments that will ultimately help your dog.
What Are The Side Effects Of Flea And Tick Medicines For Dogs?
Flea and tick medicines help your dog eliminate the pests that make them unhealthy and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, some owners report serious side effects of medications that mainly affect dogs neurologically. Most of these products target the nervous system of the pests and paralyze them, and it is possible that they can also affect your pup.
Here are the most common side effects of these medications:
Loss of appetite
Some people also claim that their dog suffered seizures before dying. This is after using medications for flea infestation. That is why it is essential to work with a trusted veterinarian so you can find a solution that is effective but would not cause further harm for your beloved pet.
Final Thoughts - Best Flea and Tick Medicines for Dogs
Most of the above medications are proven effective and safe for your dogs. They all help eliminate pest problems, which may be the leading cause of discomfort for your beloved pups.
Thankfully, it is much easier to address such issues these days. Some medicines even have additional effects, such as killing intestinal worms brought by fleas, which sometimes lead to malnutrition. However, one product will always stand out from the rest. In this case, it is the Comfortis.
Comfortis is FDA-approved and recommended by veterinarians for flea solutions. Additionally, it comes in a chewable flavored tablet, making it much easier for puppies and picky eaters to consume. Nexgard can also kill fleas in all stages, not only in mature form. It would take only four hours for it to entirely take effect, making it a better option.
If you are searching for an excellent solution to your pet’s flea and tick problems, Nexgard is the strongest competitor on the list. Still, other products are just as good. If you’re unsure what product to choose, you can always check in with your trusted vet to develop a more personalized treatment plan.