When it comes to flea and tick control, there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that, unlike the old days of flea collars, there are now a multitude of safe and effective products to choose from. The bad news is that there is a multitude of products to choose from… often making it difficult to know which one is best for your pet! And it seems like more and more options are constantly becoming available, making it hard to know if you should modify your prevention program. It is best to discuss your pet’s needs with your veterinarian and/or staff so that we can help you sift through all the options and find the perfect solution for you.
The first thing to remember is that some products are not suitable for both dogs and cats, so don’t assume that if you purchase a product for your dog that you can safely give it to your cat too, because some dog products are toxic to cats. Always carefully read and follow all package directions.
The delivery system for flea/tick products includes topical (collars, sprays and spot-on applications) and oral medications. Some products are for flea control only, some are for ticks only, and yet others will cover both flea and tick control. Most flea/tick preventatives do not require a prescription, however, some do and these products often include additional coverage such as heartworm prevention and/or intestinal parasite control. The active ingredient in the product makes a difference in terms of how quickly it starts to work and how long it will be effective.
For cats, topical spot-on products seem to work well because getting a cat to voluntarily take oral medication can be challenging. Most of these products are applied monthly, however, one product is applied once every 3 months. Here are some popular choices:
Advantage - fleas only
Cheristin - fleas only
Frontline - fleas and ticks
Bravecto - fleas and ticks, lasts for 3 months
Advantage Multi - fleas, heartworm, ear mites, roundworms/hookworms - prescription required
Revolution - fleas, some ticks, heartworm, ear mites, roundworms/hookworms - prescription required
For dogs, there are more options ranging from topical to oral. The newest line of products that work very well for both fleas and ticks are oral medications that are given either monthly or once every 3 months. These are palatable chews that most dogs will readily eat, they take effect quickly, and are not affected by swimming or regular bathing. Some dogs don’t like the feel or smell of topical medication on their skin, and some people don’t like it either, especially if their dogs are sleeping in bed with them or there are small children in the house that may be petting the dog in the area where the product was applied. Nevertheless, topical flea/tick control remains a very popular option, and there are many different products available. Finally, while traditional flea collars do not tend to work very well, there are a couple of newer collars that are quite effective, particularly for tick control, and work for several months.
Here are some popular Topicals:
Advantage - fleas only
Advantage Multi - fleas, heartworm prevention, GI worms (roundworm/hookworm/whipworm) - Rx required
K9 Advantix - fleas, ticks, chewing lice - toxic to cats
Certifect - fleas, ticks, chewing lice - do not use on cats
Frontline - fleas, ticks, chewing lice
Revolution - fleas, ticks (not all ticks), heartworm prevention, ear mites, lice, GI worms - Rx required
Comfortis - fleas only, Rx required
Trifexis - fleas, heartworm prevention, GI worms - Rx required
Bravecto - fleas/ticks - give every 3 months - Rx required
Nexgard - fleas/ticks - Rx required
Simparica - fleas/ticks - Rx required
Credelio - fleas/ticks - Rx required
Preventic - ticks only, lasts for 3 months, toxic to cats
Seresto - flea/tick, chewing lice, lasts for 8 months
Some products are available only through a veterinarian, some require a prescription, and many are over-the-counter and widely available. One danger to be aware of with over-the-counter products is quality control. Some of these products come from foreign countries, may be tainted or expired medications that have been re-packaged to look much like the true product, and are offered at lower prices. Please take the time to check out this link to educate yourself on this potential scam:
Let us know if we can help you customize your pet’s parasite preventative program to their own special needs. Our staff is trained and keeps up to date with all of the latest technology available to keep your favorite furball safe and comfortable.