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Every year seems to be more ominous when it comes to the threat of disease-ridden ticks and fleas, especially where my family and I live. While we have a beautiful scenic view of the Blue Ridge mountains from our home with deer often in our backyard, our yard backs up to tall grasses and woods that attract ticks and other pests. Our dog, Tiny, loves to roam our surroundings, but he’s brought unwelcome pests into our home.
In early Spring, after finding many ticks in our house (and on me!) — and having one of my daughters with suspected Lyme disease — I had had enough. So I searched for preventative measures to rid Tiny of his (and our family’s) ongoing pest problem. Keep reading to see some recommendations for the best flea and tick prevention for dogs. I can’t stress enough that being proactive is the best medicine for your dog and your family!
What’s the Best Tick Prevention for Dogs?
There are several proactive measures you can take to keep your dog away from tick-infested areas, so you minimize the risk of him picking up ticks.
Avoid Certain Ecosystems
This tip may seem like a no brainer, but it’s important to remember. Keep your dog away from natural tick habitats. Ticks thrive in dense, wooded and vegetative areas. When walking your dog, avoid woods, tall grasses, overgrown shrubs and decaying leaves on the ground. If you take your pup hiking, make sure he stays on the trail. And if he strays off-trail (as they love to do!), check him thoroughly for ticks before getting home.
Have a Well-Kept Yard
Maintain a tick-free yard. If you have a large, open lawn, you shouldn’t have tick problems (as long as you keep your lawn trimmed regularly). Ticks don’t typically live out in the open. But if your yard borders a wooded area or you have lush gardens and shrubs and shady areas with decaying leaves, your dog is at risk if he roams your yard. Rake up decaying leaves, keep your garden area and shrubs well-groomed. Another great tip is to make sure your outdoor trash cans have tight lids to keep away rodents and their accompanying ticks from your yard.
Look Your Dog Over
Check your dog for ticks every day. Be sure to check between your dog’s toes, in and around his ears and head, his neck and belly and around his tail. Part his fur with your fingers to make sure ticks haven’t embedded in his skin.
Get Professional Help
Consider professional pest control for your yard. Many pest control companies can treat your yard for both ticks and fleas. But first, do your homework about the types of chemicals they use. Some companies are starting to incorporate more natural treatments without the use of questionable chemicals.
Tick Prevention Products
Use a tick control product on your dog. There are a ton of options, including topical oils, collars, sprays, shampoos, dips and more. Click here to jump to some of our product recommendations, including all natural tick prevention for dogs.
How to Remove Ticks From Dogs
Check out the following video to learn how to check for and remove ticks from your dog.
What’s the Best Flea Prevention for Dogs?
If you don’t want a major flea infestation in your home, it’s crucial to know how to prevent fleas on dogs. Every female flea can lay up to 600 eggs in her lifetime. It’s frightening to think about the possibilities! Some of the preventative measures you can take to avoid fleas are the same for ticks, but with different pests come various problems to conquer.
- Safeguard your yard against unwelcome trespassers. Since fleas spread like wildfire, it’s important to limit wildlife access to your yard. Opossums, raccoons, skunks, deer, coyotes, and even untreated cats and dogs can easily shed flea eggs into a yard. Consider fencing off your yard for starters. And your local nursery landscape professional may have some tips — specific plants and other landscaping options can help deter animals from your yard.
- Use a flea control product on your dog. These include topical oils, collars, sprays, shampoos, dips and more. There are also oral medications you can give your pup that work to control fleas. Click here to jump to our product recommendations, including natural flea prevention for dogs.
- Act fast if you find even one flea on your dog or in your house. Where there’s one flea, there are likely more fleas or eggs. Treat your pup with a flea control product that kills live fleas and eggs. And be sure to check out our article on how to get rid of fleas in your home.
- Consider professional pest control for your yard and house. But do your homework about what kinds of chemicals they use. Some companies may offer natural extermination remedies instead of toxic chemicals.
As we mentioned above, there are a ton of preventative flea and tick products on the market. Here are some of our recommendations.
Frontline Plus Topical Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs
This monthly topical treatment kills adult fleas and larvae before they hatch, all life stages of four major tick species, and chewing lice. It comes in a 3-pack or 6-pack, with a range of products based on your dog’s weight.
Prices (3 Month Supply):
- 5 to 22lbs – $34.99
- 23 to 44lbs – $35.69
- 45 to 88lbs – $36.49
- 89 to 132lbs – $37.08
- Cats and Kittens – $34.99
Bayer Advantage II Topical Flea Treatment for Dogs
Advantage II is another monthly topical flea treatment that kills adult fleas and larvae before they hatch (but not ticks). It’s safe and repels fleas from your dog. It comes in a 4-pack or 6-pack, and there are products for small, medium, large and extra large dogs.
Prices (4 Doses):
Be sure to check out our article comparing Frontline and Advantage II to learn more about these popular, veterinary recommended products.
Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs
This waterproof and odorless flea and tick collar kills fleas within 24 hours of initial application and reinfesting fleas within 2 hours. It also prevents tick infestations within 48 hours after application and kills and repels reinfesting ticks within 6 hours. This collar lasts for eight consecutive months and comes in a variety of sizes.
We do not recommend Bravecto due to ongoing concerns from our readers.
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Dogs and Cats
A #1 Best Seller on Amazon, this shampoo kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae and lice and provides 28 days of control for pre-adult fleas. It contains soothing aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal and is safe for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens.
Price (12oz): $8.48
Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs
This easy to apply spray gives your dog quick relief from biting fleas. It kills adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae and ticks and breaks the flea life cycle for up to two months. It’s also helpful in repelling mosquitoes.
Price (32oz): Check on Amazon
Don’t want to cover your dog with potentially toxic chemicals? There are many more natural flea and tick prevention products on the market, but some experts say essential oils work just as well. Cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella and rose geranium oils are a safe way to go, but be sure to dilute them in olive oil or sweet almond oil before applying them to your dog. We recommend soaking your dog’s collar in a bowl of water with a drop each of citronella (flea) and geranium (tick) once a week. And remember not to overdo it. Your dog’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than yours. We recommend a more detailed article on homemade flea and tick prevention.
If you’re looking for other natural options to prevent your dog from getting fleas and ticks, here are some of our recommendations. The following companies carry a variety of preventative products.
Wondercide Natural Products
Wondercide’s products include organic, human-grade ingredients that kill the flea & tick life cycle upon contact and provide ongoing prevention. They offer natural sprays, shampoos, oils and tonics, as well as yard and home control products.
Cedarcide offers several 100% natural and eco-friendly sprays that kill and repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, ants, chiggers, flies, moths and more. They also carry pet-safe flea and tick repellent granules for your yard. And their pricing is very reasonable for natural products.
Arbico Organics has been specializing in the livestock and agricultural industry since 1979 to help transition farms to organic standards and sustainable practices. Their flea and tick preventative products include herbal collars, fast-acting treatments, sprays, shampoos, dips, and itch relief shampoos and sprays, as well as yard treatments.
Flea Prevention Infographic
Check out this infographic we created that summarizes how to prevent fleas and ticks, how to remove ticks and our DIY natural flea and tick treament.
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Want More Info on Flea and Tick Control?
Dog flea and tick prevention is just the first step in the ongoing worry we pet owners have about keeping these pests at bay. We hope we’ve given you some tips to prevent them from infesting your home. But if you need more information about how to kill fleas once you’ve reached that point, be sure to read our article on getting rid of fleas, which gives you more tips about how to rid your pets and your house of a flea infestation.
What solutions would you recommend for tick and flea prevention?