In our neck of the woods we’ve been treated to an early spring. Phineas and I have been outside a lot. It’s safe to say we’ve been outside more than inside most days.
On one of the warmer evenings I was swatting little bugs more than I would have liked. I like the warmer weather, but despise the little winged creatures that take it upon themselves to bite human flesh. What this also means is those little pests will be setting up camp on my dog. One thing I hate to see is Phineas scratching and scratching. Having fleas in my apartment is not an option either. So, I guess it’s time to start flea and tick prevention for the season. Ugh.
There are a few options for flea and tick care. Depending on what heartworm medicine, your pup may already have some flea protection. Before you try something new, please check with your vet.
So, Phineas has been using Frontline Plus for most of the year. I just gave him his first spring dose a few weeks ago. For those who haven’t seen or used Frontline, it is a liquid that is applied to the area between the shoulder blades. It’s best to pull back as much fur as you can so the medicine is in contact with the skin. Directions are included which are very helpful.
So, this was Phins 6th application of Frontline. Even though there are directions to follow, it seems like it doesn’t go according to plans. I feel like I applied it correctly and at an area he can’t reach, but again I was proven wrong. The little bugger had a little dirt on his paws. With those dirty paws he managed to scratch where the Frontline was applied. This left a nice dirty spot on my pup and, worst of all, prompted him to lick his paw with Frontline on it. I ran to get a wet paper towel to clean his paw, which he didn’t lick anymore, thank goodness. Next I used my trusty phone to Google “dog licked paw with Frontline”. I was glad to see that Phineas isn’t the first to do this. The online concensus is that a little lick shouldn’t hurt and to keep an eye on the for different behavior. Still it bugged me how messy and potentially harmful Frontline could be.
After some time behind the PC, I learned of more flea and tick medications along with some natural options. The 3 I am most interested in trying are Nexgard, Bravesto, and Seresto. The first 2 are oral medications and the latter is a collar.
Here is a little bit o info on these 3 options. I found info and reviews from 1800petmeds and amazon. I also called Phins vet to see if they have an oral flea and tick that they use and recommend.
Nexgard is a pill that should be taken monthly. It is available with a prescription from your vet. It is made by Frontline and claims to kill adult fleas and 3 types of ticks; the American dog tick, the black-legged (deer) tick, and the Lone Star tick. The cost is more than Frontline Plus, but they claim it is a yummy chewable that your pup will love. If we try this, I will add peanut butter to it just to be sure.
Nexgard is the flea and tick preventive Phins vet uses. It is FDA approved, but still, like human meds, has a few possible side affects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. On average, 1800petmeds customers rated Nexgard 4 out of 5 stars. Cost wise, it’s more bills than Frontline Plus, but again, way easier to use.
Next is Bravecto. What sets this pill apart from Nexgard is the fact that one pill lasts 12 weeks. Yes, 12 weeks! Bravecto claims to kill fleas within 2 hours and will kill 4 types of ticks; black-legged tick, American dog tick, brown dog tick, and the lone star tick (protects for only 8 weeks).
Seems like the possible side affects are the same as Nexgard. However, there are some not-so-encouraging reviews from owners that have had serious side affects or death. It is hard to say if Bravecto caused the death of their dog or if it aggravated an unknown existing condition. Regardless, customers of 1800petmeds have rated Bravecto a whopping 4.7 out of 5 stars. Cost wise it is just a smidge more than Frontline Plus. You can purchase 1, 2 or 4 pills at a time with a prescription.
Since some of these pills worry me, I looked into collars. One that stood out is the Seresto collar for fleas and ticks. The Seresto collar claims to kill fleas and ticks for 8 months. The product description doesn’t specify which ticks it will protect your dog or cat from. It is also waterproof which is great if you bathe your dog often or if it loves the water. This is the cheapest option of all and doesn’t need a prescription to purchase.
After reading reviews online, it appears that some pets have had reactions like skin irritation, diarrhea, lethargy and more. 1800petmeds customers give it a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars and on amazon it is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars.
I’ve also discovered some natural methods to keep your pup flea and tick free. While I would love to try some, right now just isn’t the time. Phin and I really enjoy our walks outside and I like knowing that something is consistently working for him. Of course if Phin has a reaction or the treatment stops working, then we will be forced to try something natural. We do have a soap that I plan to use if we are in the woods for a longer walk than usual. It is called No-Bite-Me by Sallyeander Soaps. It wasn’t exactly made for dogs, but people have reported that it has helped their dogs or cats.
If you do happen to find ticks on your pup, there is a tool I strongly recommend. It’s a TickKey. Just a few bucks at outdoor stores or online. It is small and will easily fit in a first aid kit or on a key chain.>jh
I unfortunately had to use the TickKey this fall. Phin and I went for a group walk in the woods and his Frontline was reaching the end of it effectiveness. I’m guessing that is how he got a tick on his neck. I was hesitant to remove the little stowaway. Eventually I got the key out and calmly gave it a go. The first time didn’t work. Amazingly Phin was calm and sat still for this little procedure. The second time I got the TickKey lined up over the tick properly and pulled. And pulled. Phins poor skin was pulled out so far, but he didn’t whine or put up a fight. Eventually the tick broke free along with a few of Phins white hairs. The fact that the whole tick was removed and not a whimper from Phineas makes this little item a winner in my book.
So, what are your thoughts on flea and tick prevention? What has worked for you and your pet?