It’s important to make sure your dog is protected from fleas and ticks, especially if they spend most of their time outdoors. Flea and tick prevention doesn’t just keep your dog protected from irritating bugs, but it also protects them from contracting tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease. With so many different options on the market, though, it can be hard to decide which ones to choose. Flea and tick prevention is offered in pills, chews, ointments, and shampoos. Each option differs in their delivery method and the frequency with which you need to use them.
Topical flea and tick treatments are available without a prescription and are one of the best ways you can keep your dog flea and tick free. The reviews in this article will give you the best topical flea and tick treatments for dogs this year to help you narrow down your search.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs||
|Best Value||TevraPet FirstAct Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs||
|Premium Choice||Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs||
|Best for Puppies||K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs||
|Best for Large Dogs||Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment||
The 10 Best Topical Flea and Tick Treatments for Dogs
1. Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs — Best Overall
|Usage:||Prevention and treatment|
|Lifestage:||Prevention and treatment|
Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs is our best overall choice for topical flea and tick treatment. It serves a dual purpose for both the treatment and prevention of fleas and ticks. A single treatment lasts for up to 3 months, so you won’t have to put it on constantly. It also provides 8 weeks of protection against Lone Star ticks.
This treatment comes with an applicator that makes it easy to put on your dog. Reactions to the medication appear to be extremely rare.
2. TevraPet FirstAct Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs — Best Value
This topical waterproof flea and tick treatment from TevraPet is a prevention-only solution. It will not work if your dog already has fleas, but it does a great job of keeping them away. TevraPet FirstAct Plus is the best topical flea and tick treatment for dogs for the money. It’s significantly cheaper than other brands, but it’s still effective.
It comes in packages of three treatments and is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about letting the solution dry in order for it to work. However, keep in mind that the ingredients in this formula are poisonous to cats so please keep your dog away from cats for at least 48 hours after application.
Some owners who live in high-risk areas report that they need repeated applications to obtain maximum effectiveness.
3. Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs — Premium Choice
Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs is a treatment applied every 30 days to protect your dog from fleas, ticks, heartworms, ear mites, and mange. This product is expensive and requires a prescription from your veterinarian to buy.
Your dog needs to be checked for an existing heartworm infestation before administering revolution. This product is a strong parasiticide that protects against several parasites. So, if you live in a heartworm high-risk area, it may be worth the extra cost to get the extra protection that it provides.
4. K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs — Best for Puppies
A good percentage of flea and tick treatments aren’t recommended for puppies, so it’s important to read the label and check with your veterinarian for dogs under 6 months of age. K9 Advantix II is safe to use on dogs as young as 7 weeks and on adult dogs weighing under 10 pounds.
This treatment contains three ingredients to stop fleas and ticks at all different stages of their lifecycles. It kills on contact and starts working within 12 hours of application. You’ll have to apply it once a month during flea and tick season, but it’s one of the only options available for young and very small canines.
5. Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment — Best for Large Dogs
Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment contains two different ingredients to kill adult fleas and ticks and flea eggs and larvae, respectively. It comes in a snap-open tube that’s easy to use. You simply apply the solution between your dog’s shoulder blades, where it’s absorbed and stored for up to 30 days.
Frontline is not waterproof until 48 hours after application, which means you’ll have to keep your dog dry once you apply it. It’s also poisonous to cats in the first 48 hours, so you’ll want to be careful if you have a cat in the house. Unfortunately, this solution also leaves a greasy patch of fur on your dog’s back that doesn’t clear up after using the product.
6. Sentry Fiproguard Plus Squeeze-On Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs — Best for Small Dogs
|Usage:||Treatment and prevention|
Small dogs don’t require the same dosage of flea and tick prevention that large dogs do, which is why we love this treatment from Sentry Fiproguard Plus that’s designed specifically for dogs 4–22 pounds. It should be applied every 30 days and kills fleas, flea eggs, larvae, and even lice on contact. This product is waterproof once it’s dry, which is within a few hours after application.
The one downside to Sentry Fiproguard Plus is that it’s difficult to open the tubes. They don’t snap open easily, and you’ll require scissors to open them. If you cut them too far, it’s easy to lose the medication or for some to drip out, leaving your dog with less than a full dose. Please keep in mind that this formula should not be used on cats, and if you have a cat it is safer to keep it apart from your dog for at least 48 hours.
7. Wondercide Topical & Indoor Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats
If you’re looking for a natural alternative flea and tick treatment, Wondercide has developed a spray solution to help you battle these pests. Be aware that this product contains chemicals that are regulated in some states, so if you live in Maine, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, or South Dakota, you won’t be able to purchase this product.
The active ingredients in this product are lemongrass and cedarwood oil. It can be sprayed directly on your dog, or on household items and furniture to kill fleas and ticks. While this product comes in various scents, we don’t recommend the peppermint. It uses peppermint essential oil, which can be toxic to dogs and cats if they ingest it. Lemongrass oil can cause stomach upset to dogs and cats, the spray contains 1.5% care should be taken to avoid its ingestion. Due to its ingredients, this spray must be applied on a regular basis on your dog’s entire body to be effective.
8. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo
If you’re past the prevention stage and already have a flea-infested dog, Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo should be your next line of treatment. This shampoo will kill fleas and ticks on contact and leave your dog squeaky clean. It’s great for sensitive skin because it contains lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal. You only need a small amount for it to work, so the bottle should last a long time.
Fleas are killed and prevented for 28 days after using this shampoo, but this product is primarily for the treatment of an established infestation. Further prevention methods should be used after clearing the infestation, or you will have to shampoo your dog frequently.
9. Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs
For some pet owners, particularly those who live in areas densely populated by ticks, a collar may be the best prevention. It can be combined with other flea and tick preventatives, although this should be discussed thoroughly with your vet before combining medicinal ingredients. Seresto collars are cost-effective options that kill fleas and ticks for up to 8 months while your dog is wearing one. It’s water-resistant and comes in two sizes. Unlike some flea collars, this one isn’t greasy and doesn’t smell bad, so you can feel good about leaving it on your dog.
The biggest problem with flea collars lies in their design. For your dog’s safety, the collar is designed as a breakaway. This is a necessity because if your dog gets it caught, you need it to break loose instead of choking your dog. This safety feature inherently means that most dogs won’t keep the collar on for long. It also can’t be put back on after it’s come off, so you’re forced to use a new collar every time.
10. Frontline Shield for Dogs
|Usage:||Treatment and prevention|
Frontline Shield is a topical treatment that helps fend off fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. It works on all life stages and must be re-applied every 30 days. It is waterproof after 24 hours. The parasiticide contained in this product holds warnings in the state of California. It’s called N-methylpyrrolidone, and it’s a chemical purported by the state to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.
This product doesn’t work as well as many others on this list. It sometimes requires multiple applications to kill fleas, particularly for dogs with thick coats. If your dog already has a flea infestation, there are better products to use to clear it. It does seem to do a good job of preventing insects, however.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose The Best Topical Flea and Tick Treatments for Dogs
What to Look For in Flea and Tick Prevention Products
1. Delivery Method
There are several different delivery methods for flea and tick prevention products. We only covered topical methods in these reviews, including liquids, shampoos, and collars, but there are also oral products available. Oral products have the advantage of being ingested, so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting wet or the treatment being washed off. The disadvantage, however, is that orals are often more expensive than topicals.
2. Active Ingredients
Most topical flea and tick prevention products have some sort of insecticide contained in them. It’s important to research the exact chemicals in each product to determine which insects it kills and its safety around other animals and children. Some chemicals also come with a higher risk of causing an adverse reaction in your dog, so discuss with your vet which ones are best for your situation. They will have a good grasp of which insects live in your area and the ones that can harm your dog. Not all areas have heartworm-causing mosquitos, for example, so you may not need to expose your dog to extra chemicals to prevent these.
Different products work for different amounts of time. Some must be applied weekly or monthly, while others last for several months. This not only affects how often you need to administer the treatment, but it will also dictate how much money you have to spend.
How Do You Tell If Your Dog Has Fleas?
How Do You Prevent Fleas?
There are a few things that you can do in addition to flea and tick treatment to reduce the chances of your dog getting fleas. Fleas live in shady areas outdoors, in sand, leaves, or other piles of debris. Keeping your grass cut short or keeping your dog from playing in leaf piles can reduce their chances of coming into contact with these bugs.
The best overall topical flea and tick treatment for dogs is Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs. This treatment lasts for up to 3 months and provides extra protection against the West Nile carrying Lonestar Ticks. The best value for the money in topical flea and tick protection is TevraPet FirstAct Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs. It is just as effective in keeping your dog parasite free, but at a budget-friendly price tag. Using the characteristics of flea and tick treatments listed in our buyer’s guide will help you know what to look for the next time that you shop for flea and tick treatment for your dog.
- You may also be interested in: How to Get a Tick off a Dog With Dish Soap (Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured Image Credit: Chutima Chaochaiya, Shutterstock