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The Best Flea and Tick Preventatives and Treatments For Dogs

Treatments to ward off transmission this flea and tick season.

by Rebecca Caplan
July 18, 2022
A woman in beige overalls a striped shirt and a straw hat, smiling, with her arm around her black dog sitting in the grass on a green hill.
Alba Vitta / Stocksy

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Ah, summer. It’s a wonderful time of year filled with barbecues, brewskis, and blood-sucking demon bugs the size of a sesame seed. Yup, it’s flea and tick season — and personally, I am already over this boogeyman-bug horror show. Thankfully, there are more options than ever for combating these blood-thirsty pests and keeping both your pets and your non-fur family safe.

Tick control is important not just to take care of pets, but also to prevent establishing a transmission cycle where the pathogens can be transmitted to the humans in the household,” says Dr. Maria Esteve-Gasent, an assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Even better, more products are coming to the market that utilize natural methods to stave off fleas and ticks; these chews, collars, sprays, and treatments can give you some peace of mind about keeping your pup safe from both bugs and harsh chemicals. Ahead, our choices for the best flea and tick preventatives for dogs to keep your whole family safe this summer.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Best Oral Chew

the flea and tick medicine in a white box

In the last ten years or so, the pet market has seen a huge surge of oral prescriptions for flea and tick prevention. At the head of the pack is Nexgard, which works against black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and brown dog ticks — all of which are the most common ticks found in the continental United States. Each prescription, flavored chewable is effective for one month and is available in dosages for dogs between four and 121 pounds.

$29 at Chewy

Best Oral Chew for Large Dogs

flea and tick prod in red box

For added protection, consider Simparica Trio, which also works against black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and brown dog ticks — in addition to fleas and heartworm. Released in 2016, Simparica is newer to the flea and tick game than NexGard, but has proven to be just as safe and effective. Simparica also comes in a flavored chewable and is also prescription only. However, Simparica has the added bonus of having a larger weight range than NexGard, with doses available for dogs between 2.8 pounds and 132 pounds.

$181 at Chewy

Best Topical Spot Treatment

the flea and tick treatment with a dog on the box

When it comes to flea and tick prevention, topicals hold one key advantage over oral medication: “Tablets don’t work so much as a repellent, so the tick will still get on your pet, but the tablet will kill the tick fairly well once it bites,” says Dr. Elizabeth Shines, an associate vet at Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland, Oregon. “Topicals tend to work more as repellents and then if the tick does bite your pet, it will still kill the tick.”

So if you’re looking for more of a repellent or your dog doesn’t respond well to oral flea and tick medication, consider this topical option by K9 Advantix. Available online and over the counter, K9 Advantix is applied between your dog’s shoulder blades and should not come into contact with water for at least 24 hours. This topical also works to kill fleas and ticks on contact, so neither bug has to bite your dog before dying. Available in monthly doses for dogs four pounds and up, K9 Advantix also claims to repel mosquitos, so your pup can enjoy a truly comfortable summer.

$75 at Amazon

Best Collar

the seresto collars with blue labels

Applied simply by fitting the collar onto your dog’s neck, the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar works for up to eight months to both repel fleas and ticks and kill them on contact. This mess-free topical application works by slowly dispensing medication throughout its wear — so it should never be paired with other oral medications or topicals. The collar is available in two sizes, one for dogs under 18 pounds and one for dogs over 18 pounds, with no minimum or maximum weight limit. Just be mindful if you have a dog who likes to swim more than once a month, as it will reduce the collar’s effectiveness to five months against fleas and seven months against ticks.

$122 at Amazon

Best All-Natural

the kin and kind spray

If you’re looking to stay away from strong chemicals, this plant-powered bundle by Kin + Kind can get the job done just as well. Available in either lavender or lemongrass scents, this shampoo and spray combo is super effective when used consistently. To use the shampoo, simply leave it on your pet’s fur for up to two minutes for maximum effectiveness and rinse. For the spray, use before venturing out on tick-heavy activities like hiking, hunting, or playing with other pets. 

$32 at Amazon

Best Spray

Keep in mind that even when using these products, experts recommend you be on the lookout for signs of any tick-borne illness after finding a tick on your pet. “Most of the clinical signs associated with tick-borne diseases are lethargy, fever, weight loss, joint pain and swelling, weakness, enlarged spleen or lymph nodes, and changes in gum coloration” says Dr. Esteve-Gasent.

Even so, these products are the first line of defense in keeping you and your pet safe from a (blood) sucky summer.

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rebecca caplan

Rebecca Caplan

Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.