How to Compare Dog Flea and/or Tick Treatment Products

Dog flea and tick products rely on active ingredients to kill parasites. While some active ingredients work fine for one pet, they aren't great for another. Understanding the different ingredients and their side effects and contraindications helps ensure you're getting the right product for your pet.

Options for Dog Flea and Tick Products

When looking into dog flea and tick products, your choices are:

There are disadvantages and advantages to each. A main concern is that over-the-counter medications are linked to toxic reactions. If you use a prescription product, never pair it with a flea and tick collar, the potential for overdose is heightened.

Understanding Fipronil

Fipronil is a key ingredient in Frontline topical dog flea and tick treatments. Fipronil affects adult fleas and ticks by paralyzing their nervous system leading to their death within two days. It's safe for use on puppies eight weeks of age and older. The medication is squeezed from a tube to a point between the dog's shoulder blades every three months.

Frontline protects against fleas for three months, but you should be aware that it only kills ticks for 30 days. Discuss the medication with your vet before use if your dog is elderly, pregnant, nursing or suffers from a severe illness.

Understanding Imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is a main ingredient in Advantage topical flea and tick medication. It's the only flea medication to kill fleas within 12 hours and stops their biting within five hours.

Imidacloprid attacks the flea's nervous system killing them quickly and is safe for puppies seven weeks and older. It is important to note that the medication is an irritant to humans. It's generally best to wear gloves while administering the medication. The medication shouldn't be used on elderly, ill or pregnant/nursing dogs without discussing it with your veterinarian.

Understanding Lufenuron

Program is an oral flea remedy for dogs. The medication is safe for puppies older than six weeks and can be used with topical medications to increase protection.

Lufenuron prevents proper development of flea eggs and larvae effectively ending their life cycle. It's given to a dog monthly. Lufenuron is safe for pregnant and nursing dogs. If your dog suffers from flea allergy dermatitis, Program does not prevent adult fleas from biting, so other medications may be better.

Understanding Permethrin

BioSpot and K-9 Advantix use permethrin as the key flea control. The topical medication is applied between the shoulders and kills fleas and ticks for 30 days. The medication works by paralyzing adult fleas and preventing the growth of eggs and larvae.

Permethrin is not safe on puppies under six months of age. If your cat grooms your dog and ingests permethrin, you must contact a veterinarian immediately.

Over-the-Counter Flea Products Containing Pyrethrins

Most dog flea and tick shampoos contain pyrethrins. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issues warnings against using products with pyrethrins for extended periods of time because of their potential danger.

In small doses pyrethrins are fine. If used too much or too often, they can cause neurological problems including seizures, convulsions, vomiting and skin rashes.