Should you consider a dog flea and tick treatment? If you live in a warm weather state such as Florida, Alabama or Louisiana, fleas and ticks are something to be concerned about year round. If you live in the Midwest or northeast – almost any part of the country that isn’t classified as semi-arid – you will need to watch out for fleas and ticks in the spring, summer and maybe even in the fall.
While fleas and ticks are both active in warmer weather, the way they infest your dog is far different. Dogs don’t actually contract adult fleas. They contract flea eggs when sitting or lying on the ground. But ticks are blood-feeding parasites that attach themselves to your dog as it passes by a tree or shrub.
Once the tick has filled up on its host’s blood, it will generally drop-off. But this may take several days. In some cases, ticks will live for some time on the blood of a single animal. Ticks carry diseases such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness, Tick-borne Relapsing Fever and Tularemia.
When a dog carrying flea eggs comes into your house, some of the eggs will remain on it. Unfortunately, others will fall off and can infest your house. While dog fleas might be very tiny creatures, they are incredibly tough. There are two reasons for this. First, they can develop immunity to almost any kind of anti-flea product you might use. Second, the flea’s lifecycle has four stages – egg, larvae, pupae, and then adult. And when the flea is in the pupae stage, it creates a silk-like cocoon around itself, which is almost impervious to anything. In fact flea pupae can live within this cocoon without feeding for as long as a year.
Why A Dog Flea And Tick Treatment?
If you believe there are no ticks in your area, you could choose a dog flea treatment that just kills adult fleas and prevents further infestations.
However, since fleas and ticks are usually found in the same areas, the same time of the year, it makes the most sense to choose a dog flea and tick treatment. These medications may be a bit more expensive than the flea-only treatments, but the incremental cost is small compared to the extra protection you’re giving your dog.
Today’s flea and tick medications have proven to be very effective. Following is a list of the flea and tick medications considered to be most effective in protecting your dog.
This product is a monthly topical flea and tick treatment. Its manufacturer claims that Frontline Plus kills 100% of adult fleas on your dog within 18 hours and 100% of all ticks within 48 hours. It has an insect growth regulator, S-methoprene, which kills flea eggs and larvae. It is said to be effective against all stages of the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, the lone star tick and the dear tick – which is the major carrier of Lyme disease.
One application of Frontline Plus provides a full month of protection and is great for dogs that swim because it’s waterproof.
Cost: $46-$52 depending on the size of the dog.
K9 Advantix is also a once-a-month topical flea, tick and mosquito controller. It will stop biting fleas within 3-5 minutes. Its manufacturer also says it will kill 98% to 100% within 12 hours. K9 Advantix kills ticks and mosquitoes and remains effective after swimming or bathing. Its manufacture also says this product offers a more comprehensive protection against fleas and ticks when compared with other veterinarian-recommended brands.
Cost: $58 to $67 depending on size of dog
Advantix K9 Flea Killer Plus
The manufacture of this product says that it kills 98% to 100% of fleas on dogs within 12 hours and continues to protect the dog for at least four weeks. In addition to killing fleas, Advantix K9 Flea Killer Plus kills ticks and mosquitoes.
Cost: $57 to $66 depending on size of dog
Frontline TopSpot for Dogs
Frontline TopSpot is often recommended by veterinarians and is considered to be the first or second most popular dog flea and tick treatment. It is an easy-to-apply topical treatment that provides your dog with protection against fleas and ticks that’s guaranteed. It will kill 98% to 100% of existing fleas in less than 24 hours and continues killing them for 30 days or more. It also remains waterproof for 30 days, even if your dog swims or is bathed. Finally, Frontline TopSpot is said to be gentle enough for use on puppies eight weeks of age or older.
Cost: $39 to $46 depending on size of dog
This product is described by its manufacturer as a once-a-month topical parasiticide that can be used to treat a wide range of external and internal parasites. Revolution is different than the other dog flea and tick treatment products because it not only kills fleas and the American dog tick, it can be used to fight heartworm disease, ear mites and canine sarcoptic mange.
The manufacture of Revolution says that it is not greasy, dries quickly and can be used in just one spot. Moreover, you can bathe your dog two hours after applying Revolution.
Cost: $82 to $88 depending on size of dog.
How Effective Is A Dog Flea And Tick Treatment?
While there are literally hundreds of pesticides, repellents, and growth inhibitors that have been approved or licensed to control fleas and ticks, these five products are considered to be among the most effective dog flea and tick treatments. They are all easy to apply, and, as noted, most of them will kill 98% to 100% of fleas within 12 hours – as well as ticks and mosquitoes. And most of these will continue to protect your dog for an entire month.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dog Flea And Tick Treatment
The advantages of these dog flea and tick treatments are clear. They represent a very effective way to kill fleas, ticks, and in some cases even mosquitoes. Also, as noted, they are easy to apply and provide up to a month’s worth of protection against a re-infestation. The only disadvantage of these treatments is their cost, which can be nearly $50 if you have a large dog.
In past years, the most effective way to treat fleas and ticks was with a collar or a complete flea and tick dip. However, today, topical flea medications such as Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix have become the first choice in dog and flea control for many veterinarians. These are followed in efficiency by ant-flea sprays, shampoos, flea powders and, finally flea collars. The flea collars, which used to be very popular, have fallen out of favor with most vets because they contain harsh chemicals that could actually harm your dog.
The fact is, if you live in areas where there is likely to be both fleas and ticks, your best bet is a dog flea and tick treatment. This way you can relax because your dog will be completely protected against fleas, ticks, and even tapeworms.