11 Best Flea and Tick Prevention Products
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Looking For The Best Flea and Tick Prevention Products
We do so much to protect the ones we love. We put locks on our doors, create passwords for our social media, and give our kids water wings when they go swimming. Most of these protections occur to us automatically, we don’t need to think about putting a lock on our front door because, obviously, we want to protect ourselves and our families. However, when was the last time you thought about protecting the most important thing in your life, your pet?
You should be considering this year-round, but especially now more than ever as it’s the most wonderful time of the year if you’re a flea or a tick. Temperatures are rising and the snow has melted away, meaning bugs are crawling out from the underground and onto our cats and dogs. Sadly, it’s not enough to put a helmet on them. Prevention is the best defense against ticks and fleas.
It can be daunting to try and find the best flea and tick prevention products since you won’t know if they work until after the fact. Thankfully, I’ve put together this list of the best flea and tick treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter treatments. I’ll also tell you how you can sift through them and find the right product for you, plus answer a few frequently asked questions.
The 11 Flea and Tick Prevention Products
1. NexGard Chewables (RX)
Flea and tick chewables are the easiest form of treatment to administer to dogs because they don’t require any extra effort from you. That’s the case with NexGard Chewables, the #1 flea and tick treatment recommended by vets. You only need to administer it once a month and you can do it with or without food. Likely, your dog will be more than excited to chow down on these chewables since NexGard coated them with an irresistible beef flavor.
NexGard Chewables are scalable to dogs of all sizes and ages. Puppies as young as eight weeks old and as small as four pounds can use these chewables just as well as dogs as large as 120 pounds. Each chewable can quickly kill ticks and fleas over the course of a month. That means you’ll have to readminister your dog this treatment every month, but with a regular schedule, you shouldn’t have any issues with mites.
It’s important to know how large your dog is because NexGard Chewables come in four different sizes. These sizes break down into the following ranges:
- 4 to 10 pounds
- 10 to 24 pounds
- 24 to 60 pounds
- 60 to 121 pounds
Luckily, all NexGard Chewables cost the same regardless of the size of your dog. A box of three NexGard Chewables costs $43.
Customers say: “We have been using NexGard for more than 2 years now! If it’s great results your looking for look no further. Our little terrior uses the 10.1 – 24.0 lb chewable she gobbles it up almost like she can’t live without it! A little pricy but only the best for our little Ally!”
- #1 vet-recommended flea and tick control product
- Only need to be administered once a month
- Average score of 4.6/5 stars based on more than 1,080 pieces of customer feedback on PetMeds
2. Simparica TRIO (RX)
Simparica TRIO is a prescription chewable with a few similarities to NexGard Chewables, like the fact that it’s also administered on a monthly basis and that it scales based on weight. However, Simparica TRIO has more weight options and can be consumed by pups as small as 2.8 pounds. So yes, your baby Yorkshire Terrier can also enjoy a summer free from ticks and fleas.
The dog sizes Simparica TRIO serves are as follows:
- 2.8 to 5.5 pounds
- 5.6 to 11 pounds
- 11 to 22 pounds
- 22 to 44 pounds
- 44 to 88 pounds
- 88 to 132 pounds
You’ll be protecting your dog from more than fleas with this prescription. Simparica TRIO is one of the best flea and tick prevention products because it also kills hookworms and roundworms. Furthermore, it can prevent heartworm disease, which is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis that spreads through mosquito bites.
You can pick up a box of six Simparica TRIO chewables for $225.
Customers say: “My 2 corgis are currently on this medication and so far is has worked extremely well!! We hike alot and haven’t found any buggies wanting to live on our babies! Ticks don’t want to stick!!!”
- Available for dogs of all sizes
- Effective against hookworms, roundworms, and heartworms
- Average score of 3.4/5 stars based on more than 15 pieces of customer feedback on PetMeds
3. Bravecto Chews (RX)
Bravecto Chews is the option for people who aren’t great at sticking to treatment schedules because of their long-lasting effects. These chewable prescription meds can last for up to 8 weeks against lone star ticks and up to 12 weeks for other species of ticks. You only need to provide a single dose every 12 weeks and there’s no reason to take breaks throughout the year.
As such, the Bravecto Chews is great with regard to flexibility and timing. They’re also fast-acting, killing ticks and fleas inside dogs within hours of administration. A single dose costs $98.
Customers say: “On the recommendation from our vet, we have been using Bravecto on two dogs for several years and in that time we have NEVER seen a flea or tick on our dogs. Not one. Used to be a major problem. Pretty amazing.”
- Long-lasting results
- Available in pork flavors
- Useful against many tick species
- For dogs as small as 4 pounds and as large as 123 pounds
4. Trifexis (RX)
Trifexis stands above the other best flea and tick prevention products if you’re only looking at how quickly it takes effect. It starts to work in under half an hour and can kill all biting fleas in as little as four hours. Your pet will probably thank you later in the day for the fast relief.
There are other reasons why you’d want to pick up Trifexis, like the fact that it can also kill hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. It also has preventative agents to combat heartworm disease. A package with six monthly Trifexis servings is available for $176.
Customers say: “I love that Trifexis allows me to pet him without worrying about an icky spot where flea repellant was put. I’m free to pet him freely any time of the month without worrying about a gross goo on his fur. He has tolerated this medicine just fine since he was a puppy. I stopped using it for a little while in 2011 to try to save money and… we got fleas!! I haven’t taken him off it since.”
- Contains spinosad and milbemycin oxime
- Effective against invasive worms
- Begins taking effect in under 30 minutes
5. Simparica (RX)
There are some reasons why you’d choose the original Simparica over the aforementioned Simparica TRIO, but the main advantage is its price. This version is more affordable, coming in at only a fraction of the price of its successor. It’s also as effective on ticks and fleas, killing the latter within three hours and starting to kill the former in eight.
Simparica doesn’t affect worms like Simparica TRIO, though you may not mind that lack of coverage when considering the price. Three Simparica tablets, one for each month, are available for $79.
Customers say: “This really works on my 39# female Brittany. I find ticks on her, but they are dead . . . all dead, everytime. Yet to find a flea on her in almost 6 years . . .”
- More affordable version of Simparica TRIO
- Each tablet is effective for up to a month
- Safe to use year-round
6. Revolution (RX)
Revolution is my first pick for the best flea and tick treatment for cats, though it’s also effective for dogs. It’s a topical ointment you need to apply monthly to your furry friends. Besides getting rid of ticks and fleas, Revolution can also terminate ear mites, hookworms, and roundworms in your cat. The advantage of a topical treatment like Revolution is that it can find and eliminate internal and external infections.
You only need a 3mL dose every month, meaning the small packages go further than their size implies. Three servings of Revolution cost $92.
- Easily applied to the base of your pet’s neck
- Specialized effects on both dogs and cats
- Prescription topical ointment
The next option for one of the best flea and tick prevention products is scientifically designed for immature fleas. Sentinel’s active ingredient is lufenuron, which can disrupt the insect life cycle at the egg stage, thus preventing flea eggs from hatching. The other ingredient is milbemycin oxime, which targets heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
Sentinel’s treatment process is pretty simple – you just feed it to your dog once a month, and I doubt they’ll complain about an extra beef-flavored chewable tablet. You can grab six servings for $70.
Customers say: “Penny has been on Sentinel for years and it works so very well. Have never seen a single flea on her and her health has never been better. PetMeds also consistently has a cheaper price for Sentinel and I certainly appreciate that fact!”
- Much more affordable than other treatments
- Targets fleas during their infancy
- Average score of 4.5/5 stars based on more than 970 pieces of customer feedback on PetMeds
8. K9 Advantix II (OTC)
If you need the best flea and tick treatment for dogs without a vet prescription, then consider K9 Advantix II. This topical treatment not only kills fleas and ticks, but it repels them from your dog too. Plus, it can repulse mosquitos and discourage them from infecting your dog with more parasites.
K9 Advantix II is an over-the-counter medication that goes above and beyond. It acts in as little as 12 hours and its effects last for up to a month. As such, it’s just as good in a pinch as it is as a preventative treatment.
You can grab two monthly doses of K9 Advantix II for $46.
Customers say: “We have used K9 Adventist ll for years. Our Border Collie/Cattle dog has never had a problem with it. We live in the Adirondacks, ticks, mosquitoes and other crawly critters are potential threats but K9 Advantix ll keeps them all at bay. It is easy to apply, effective, and not messy. “
- Deflects mosquitos, ticks, and fleas
- Easily applied to dogs
- Effective at all stages of a flea’s life cycle
9. Frontline Plus (OTC)
Frontline Plus contains S-methoprene, one of the most recommended ingredients by vets for flea and tick treatment. S-methoprene attacks fleas at their most vulnerable stage – when they’re larvae. Frontline Plus also contains fipronil which specifically targets the nervous systems of insects, working especially well against adult ticks and fleas.
You can use Frontline Plus on dogs or cats, so it’s a great purchase if you have both. A 3-serving package costs $59.
Customers say: ‘We live in Florida where not only fleas are a problem but also ticks. Frontline is the only product we have found to be effective for both. Cricket is 17 now and has now been on it for years. I apply it, wait 2 days and then bathe her.”
- Targets adults and infant fleas and ticks
- Works on cats and dogs
- Over-the-counter topical solution
10. Revolution Plus (RX)
This is the only one of the best flea and tick prevention products I’ve included that’s specifically designed for cats. That’s not bias, it’s just that Revolution Plus stands tall above the competition. You’ll apply it once a month to protect your cat from black-legged ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, and American dog ticks, as well as ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms.
Revolution Plus seeps into the skin and begins to kill fleas within six hours. Meanwhile, it can take up to 12 hours to start targeting ticks. Thankfully, its effects last for a full month. You can grab a three-pack for $90.
Customers say: “I bought this at my veterinarian’s office. They said it was improved over Revolution classic. Revolution classic used to work well and it wasn’t working as well as it used to in my particular case for my 2 cats. This worked and it worked fast. What a relief!”
- Flea and tick prevention for cats
- Targets fleas and ticks at all points in their lifecycle
- Also prevents worms
11. Advantage II
Lastly, let’s talk about Advantage II, the only product thus far that works on dogs, cats, and ferrets. Not only can it kill fleas during their entire lifecycle, but it kills them through contact alone, meaning your pet doesn’t need to be bitten first. It’s a topical treatment suitable for dogs as small as 3 pounds and cats as little as 2 pounds.
Sadly, Advantage II is not a tick treatment. It only targets fleas. You’ll have to supplement it with another treatment for comprehensive coverage. A pack of two Advantage II doses costs $43.
Customers say: “Fast and simple to apply. No reaction problems and it works.”
- Especially good for smaller cats and dogs
- Also works with ferrets
- Treatment lasts a month
How To Shop For The Best Flea and Tick Treatment
So, you’ve learned what the best flea and tick prevention products are, and you’re looking to start shopping. Before you do, consider the following factors to help you decide which product is best for you.
This list included chewables and topical cream treatments because each one has an advantage. Chewables are effortless to deliver while topicals can handle external infections. Whichever method works best for you will depend on the severity of bugs in your area and how well your pet responds to oral treatment.
While the majority of the best flea and tick prevention products are active for a month, some last in the system for up to eight weeks. Fleas can live up to three months, so you may want to consider a treatment that persists longer than others.
The speed at which a flea and tick treatment takes effect only matters if your pet is currently infected. While people always want results as fast as possible, how quickly the treatment begins only matters if your dog is already sick.
Some ingredients you want to keep your eyes primed for include the following:
There are other ingredients worth looking for, but the best flea and tick prevention products I included in this list primarily use those five ingredients.
The price of a product is the summary of its ingredients, its longevity, its manner of delivery, and its availability.
Is NexGard or Frontline better?
While neither NexGard nor Frontline are out-and-out better than the other, each one has distinct advantages over the other. Frontline is an over-the-counter medication so you can access it more easily, but NexGard works more quickly.
Do over-the-counter flea meds work?
OTC flea meds work, but not in the same robust manner as prescription meds. They usually only target one type of flea during their adult life cycle, so their effects aren’t long-lasting. Furthermore, they don’t eliminate heartworms because only prescription drugs carry the proper pesticides to do so.
Which flea and tick medicines do vets recommend?
Your local vet will approve any of the prescription products I wrote about earlier. All the products with (RX) beside their names are prescriptions.
Which is better for flea and tick treatment; orals or topicals?
One study found that, in a study of 128 dogs taking either oral or topical fipronil/(S)-methoprene, the oral treatment was over 99% effective, while topical treatment was nearly 89% effective. Both scores are great, but in that study, it seems orals were better for treatment.
Which months do dogs need flea and tick medicine?
You should start giving your pets flea and tick medicine right before spring. Aim to begin treatment in March or early April, depending on where you live. Treatment should continue into the summer and conclude in the later fall months.
You don’t need to have a bleeding heart to recognize how unpleasant fleas and ticks can be. Treatment is oftentimes simple to find and even easier to administer. Hopefully, this list of the best flea and tick prevention products has gotten you one step closer to helping your furry friend.
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