Fleas and ticks are a total nuisance to dogs. They cause itching and irritation, robbing your dog of peace and comfort. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are more prone to an infestation than those that mostly stay indoors. As they play and roam outside, they are likely to pick them up from their surroundings. If your dog is mostly indoors and has fleas and ticks, it may have picked them up from people’s clothes or other pets.
Whichever the case is, you should address the issue urgently as these pests, especially fleas, tend to reproduce fast. Soon enough, your whole family is also likely to suffer its effects.
Effects Of Fleas And Ticks On Dogs
Other than causing irritation and discomfort to your pet, fleas and ticks can cause:
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
This is an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. Fleas inject them into the dog’s skin when biting. They can cause your dog to overly scratch itself, leading to hair loss, scabs, oozing, darkening of the affected area, and inflammation. If the situation is not remedied, it may progress to secondary bacterial and fungal infections.
Infections And Diseases
Both fleas and ticks spread infections and diseases. If fleas infest your dog, it is likely to suffer from bubonic plague. The disease is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Though dogs are known to be resistant to the bacteria, some breeds are susceptible to it.
The infection from the bacteria causes fever, inflammation, skin breakage, enlarged tonsils, anorexia, discharge from the eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive pain. You may also notice that your dog refuses to eat and is depressed. In worst-case scenarios, it may go into a coma.
On the other hand, ticks cause diseases such as anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, tick paralysis, Rickettsia parkeri, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If your dog has a tick-borne disease, it may experience fever, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, anorexia, and lethargy.
If your dog ingests an adult flea infected with tapeworm larvae, the intestinal parasite will end up inside its gut. The presence of tapeworms can be established by checking for segments in your dog’s stool.
Note that you can also get fleas from your dog. Similar to dogs, they cause irritation and itchiness. Luckily for humans, flea bites do not necessitate any specific treatment. You only need to apply an anti-itch cream to prevent yourself from scratching and causing inflammation in the affected area.
To avoid the effects mentioned above, you must treat your dog as soon as possible. Also, depending on whether the surroundings and your home are infested, you may need to enlist the service of a pest exterminator.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Treatment
There are many treatments available on the market. Some are effective, others not so much. To ensure you are not shortchanged, here are some crucial factors to consider when shopping.
1. Application Method
Flea and tick treatments are mostly available in either chewable tablets that your dog can take or in liquid form (topically) that you can apply to your dog. The liquid treatment is ideal if your dog has difficulty eating, does not like taking tablets, or has a sensitive stomach. However, you should be cautious and ensure that other pets or young children do not touch your dog until it is dry.
Oral treatment is suitable if you do not have sufficient time to administer treatment, your dog has a skin condition, or it loves swimming and is constantly exposed to water. Contact with water tends to dilute and weaken the effectiveness of some liquid treatments.
2. Your Dog’s Age
Before buying any treatment, check the ideal age recommendation. Usually, the minimum age for tick and flea treatments is 6–8 weeks. If your pup is younger than this, seek your vet’s advice to find a suitable solution. It is also advisable to get your vet’s advice on senior dogs or those with underlying health conditions.
Check the treatment’s ingredients to see if there are any harmful chemicals. The best treatments use natural ingredients that will not harm your dog. If you are not certain about the safety of any ingredient, consult your vet.
4. Geographical Location
Different geographical locations have different types of fleas and ticks. Following this, manufacturers come up with treatments specific to a given species. Thus, what may work in a given location may not work in another.
Utilize the information provided by Companion Animal Parasite Control to determine the types of pests in your area.
5. Access To The Outdoors
Before anything else, find out where your dog will likely have gotten the fleas or ticks. Is it from your backyard, the park, or other dogs in the neighborhood? Once you establish the source, you can gauge how severe the infestation is and choose an effective treatment method to counter it. If you can also fumigate the source, the better, as it will prevent re-infestation.
Best Flea And Ticks Products For Dogs
When dealing with fleas and ticks, there is no one-size fits-all method. You must evaluate the situation and consider the factors above to pick the perfect product and treatment plan.
We have done the homework for you to find the best product to effectively treat your dog depending on the situation, size, and age. Here are our top picks.
Best Overall – PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Prevention for Dogs
Seeing your fur baby suffer from a tick or flea infestation can be heartbreaking, and you may want to offer an effective solution that puts them out of their misery as soon as possible. The PetAmor Plus is a perfect choice. It has a powerful formula that kills pests within 24 hours. The pesticide also eliminates fleas, eggs, and larvae to prevent re-infestation.
Its effects will last up to 30 days. It is odorless and does not leave any oily residue when applied. Additionally, getting in contact with water does not affect its efficiency, as it is waterproof.
- Highly effective
- Quick results
- Prevents re-infestation
- It poses a health hazard to kids and other pets when wet.
Click here to buy the treatment on Amazon.
Best Collar (Large Dogs) – Seresto Flea and Tick Dog Collar
Best Collar (Small Dogs) – Seresto Flea and Tick Dog Collar
If you are looking for an easy-to-apply, effective, and long-term solution to your dog’s tick and flea problem, then the Seresto flea and tick dog collar is your best bet. As its name suggests, it is a dog collar that you simply put around your furry friend’s neck. It helps kill and repel ticks and fleas through no-contact action. Therefore, fleas do not have to bite your dog for them to die.
It contains two main ingredients: imidacloprid, which helps get rid of fleas, and flumethrin, which helps get rid of ticks. The duo offers protection to your fur baby for up to eight months.
The collar is odorless, non-greasy, and has a quick-release feature. Moreover, it is waterproof; thus, swimming or bathing will not interfere with its effectiveness.
- Long-lasting effects
- Easy to use
- Water-resistant formula
- It can be used by adult dogs and puppies
- Vet approved
- Relatively expensive
Best Oral Treatment – Bravecto Chews for Dogs
(Consider your dog’s weight before purchase)
Safeguard your dog from ticks and fleas with Bravecto chews. They taste good, so you can give them directly to your dog as a treat or mix them up with its food. The chews kill 98.7% of fleas and ticks within 24 hours and remain effective for up to 12 weeks.
The treatment is easy to administer, as you only need to give your dog a single dose every twelve weeks. It is ideal for all dogs, regardless of breed, size, or age.
- Taste good
- Effective for up to 12 weeks
- Quick results
- Your dog may experience side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Click here to buy the chews on Chewy.
Best Shampoo – Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
Get rid of fleas and ticks instantly with this lathering dog shampoo. All you need to do is give your dog a thorough wash. The shampoo will help eliminate adult fleas, flea eggs, lice, and ticks on contact. Moreover, it helps remove loose dandruff, dirt, and scales.
Afterward, your dog will smell all nice and fresh, courtesy of lightly scented fragrance leaves. It is also made with coconut extract, oatmeal, and aloe vera, which help keep your pet’s coat soft, shiny, and easy to brush.
Using the shampoo is quite economical, as you only need about 1 1/3 tablespoons per five pounds of your dog’s weight. It is ideal for adult dogs and puppies 12 weeks of age or older.
- It can be used by dogs with sensitive skin
- Leaves your dog smelling good
- Effective up to 28 days after use
- It is also suitable for cats
- Offers temporary relief
Click here to buy the dog shampoo on Chewy.
Best Natural Treatment – PetHonesty Flea & Tick Defense Soft Chews
Most flea and tick treatments rely heavily on chemicals to get the job done. Not the PetHonesty Flea and Tick Defense. It contains no GMOs, chemical preservatives, soy, corn, or wheat. Thus, it is a safe alternative for repelling flea eggs, flea larvae, adult fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, among other pests.
As a bonus, the soft chews contain vitamins and omegas, which help sustain the results for a long time and boost your pup’s health.
Their hickory-bacon flavor makes them irresistible. So, you can serve the chews as a treat 1-3 times a day, depending on your dog’s weight. All types of breeds can benefit from this treatment.
- Taste great
- Chemical free
- Builds up resistance to tick and flea infestation
- Supports the immune, skin, and joint health
- It does not produce instant results
Click here to buy the chews on Chewy.
Best For Puppies- K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Prevention for Small Dogs
K9 Advantix II is recommended by veterinarians for puppies. It kills ticks and all life stages of fleas within 30 minutes of application and is effective for up to 30 days. If your pup comes into contact with water within this period, its efficiency will not be affected as it is waterproof.
The topical treatment comes in convenient packages of 1, 2, 4, and 6. You can use one pack at a time without interfering with the rest of the product or getting the measurement wrong. The treatment is easy to apply. You only need to have your pup standing and evenly spread the solution on its back from the shoulder to the base of the tail.
- Easy to use
- Conveniently packed
- Some dogs may experience side effects such as itching after use.
Click here to buy the product on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to get rid of fleas and ticks on dogs?
Topical treatment tends to work faster than oral treatment. Spraying your dog or washing it with a flea and tick treatment shampoo will kill the pests on contact, offering your pet quick relief. On the other hand, you may begin to see results after several hours, days, or even weeks with oral medicines.
What do vets recommend for fleas and ticks on dogs?
Some tick and flea treatments indicate on their labels that they are vet-approved. While this may be true and show that the product is safe to use, you should not rely on it alone. It is advisable to consult your vet anytime you want to apply any treatment to your dog. They will offer sound advice based on your dog’s medical history, age, breed, and size.
How long does it take to get rid of fleas and ticks on dogs?
It depends on the product or treatment you intend to use. You can check the label to see its specified time frame. Also, the severity of the infestation may determine how long you will need to wait to get satisfactory results. Too many fleas and ticks may require you to reapply treatment, thus lengthening the period.