Best Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs: Need A Strong Defense?

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With high rainfall and mild temperatures this past winter, we are expecting a higher than average tick population this year. We can’t stress enough that being proactive is the best medicine for your dog and your family.

Learn more about your options, including topical oils, collars, sprays, shampoos, dips and more.

Article Overview

Prevention Is Critical: A Personal Story

Every year the threat of disease-ridden ticks and fleas becomes more ominous, especially where my family and I live in Virginia. While we have a beautiful scenic view of the Blue Ridge mountains from our home with deer often in our backyard, our lawn 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.

One 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. We followed these proactive measures and saw a big difference. Don’t let this happen to you and stop the infestation before it begins.

Best Tick And Flea Control Products

There are a ton of preventative flea and tick products on the market. Here are some of our recommendations for their overall reputation and popularity. We suggest you consult your vet before starting any medical treatment.

Best Topical: Frontline Plus

Frontline PlusView on Amazon

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)

Honorable Mention: Bayer Advantage II

Bayer Advantage IIView on Amazon

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.

Best Collar: Bayer Seresto

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick CollarView on Amazon

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.

Best Shampoo: Adams Plus

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with PrecorView on Amazon

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)


Best Spray: Adams Plus

Adams Plus Flea and Tick SprayView on Amazon

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 Amazon for availability

Natural Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs

Don’t want to cover your dog with potentially toxic chemicals? There are many more natural flea and tick prevention products on the market.

Some experts say (and we believe) essential oils work just as well. Cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella and 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. Check out our tested natural insect repellent for dog recipes.

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. Don’t overdo it though as a dog’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than yours.

If you’re looking for other natural options to prevent your dog from getting fleas and ticks, here are some of our recommendations.

Best Natural: Wondercide

WondercideView Wondercide’s Products on Amazon

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.

Other Natural Products


Cedarcide Vet's ChoiceView Cedarcide’s Products on Amazon

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.

Learn more in our detailed article on homemade flea and tick prevention.

Vet’s Best

Vet's Best Flea and Tick Advanced Strength Dog ShampooView on Amazon

This advanced strength flea and tick dog shampoo contains 100% certified natural essential oils and plant-based ingredients (no harsh chemicals). It kills fleas, flea larva, flea eggs and ticks on contact. This shampoo also cleans and deodorizes your dog’s coat with a pleasing rosemary and peppermint scent. It’s safe for puppies 12 weeks and older.

Price (12 oz)


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 (see below), but with different pests come various problems to conquer.

Safeguard Your Yard

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 Flea Control 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

Don’t wait 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

If you have a serious problem, you may want to get professionals to treat 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.

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.

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.

Check Your Dog For Ticks Daily

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.

Consider Professional Yard Pest Control

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.

How To Remove Ticks From Dogs

If your dog gets a tick, watch the following video to learn how to check for and remove them from your dog.

Flea & Tick Prevention Infographic

Check out this infographic we created that summarizes how to prevent fleas and ticks, how to remove ticks and our recommended DIY natural flea and tick treatment.

Flea Prevention Infographic

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

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 on your pets and in your home.

You can also read our review of Frontline vs. Advantage to get a better handle on which of these popular flea prevention products may be a better fit for your family.

Is your dog protected or have they experienced fleas or ticks?

About The Author:

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets).

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.

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Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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July 21, 2020 12:09 pm

I just read the comments and reviews of Frontline at the Amazon site it seems it got only 1 star for effectiveness. Why is this product so bad right now and did you recently check up on the reviews?

Mohammed Yahya
May 12, 2020 2:53 pm

I hesitated to pay $50 for a flea collar that might not work, but took the chance and ordered this Seresto collar. We put it on the dog two days ago, and I’m amazed! The first day, we noticed that the fleas on the front half of his body were gone. Today we didn’t find one single live flea on him, nostrils to tail tip. We did notice some dead ones on him. This is the first thing we’ve ever found that got rid of/killed the fleas! He was lying happily in the sun this morning, not scratching or twitching, for the first time in months.
You can buy from amazon.

Two Labs
April 5, 2020 10:56 am

I have a ten year old Yellow lab and a 6 month old yellow lab. All I ask is that you research before you put poison onto or into your dog. My older dog has been bitten literally hundreds of times. I live in the northeast where it is not unusual to go for a walk and pull off 40-50 ticks, or more…you can’t find them all. My dog has been tested for all tick borne diseases several times, and has been positive for years. He exhibits no symptoms. When I put Frontline on him he is a mess by the next morning, lethargic, and limping. If you look at the links to pretty much all of these remedies, and read the 1 star reviews on Amazon, you will find thousands of people reporting SEVERE adverse reactions in their pets. Please research, your pet can’t tell you how they feel. Animals have a different immune response than humans, and often can and do live symptom free. Lyme is treatable if it becomes symptomatic, sometimes, seizures are fatal.

side note, highly recommended leptospirosis vaccine has caused lameness in my pup that comes and goes randomly. My fault, and I live with it every day.

Personally, I feel like big industry, and people trying to make money push these things on people trying to do right by their pets, and often times these products cause more harm than benefit.

Apiffany Gaither Billings
April 6, 2020 10:41 am
Reply to  Two Labs

I want to share my experience with essential oils versus regular flea and tick prevention for my five pups. We use lemongrass and citronella essential oil diluted on their collars. We live in the southeast and have noticed a difference. We haven’t used a flea/tick preventative in almost five years. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us.

Also, I hate to hear that the Lepto vaccine has caused lameness in her pup. Unfortunately, vaccines have potential side effects and I’m sorry your pup has had this issue. I can honestly say we are lucky and none of our dogs have had any issues with their Lepto vaccine. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Buck Turl
December 1, 2019 11:00 am

Best flea, tick, ant treatment ever is diatomaceous earth. Non toxic to animals and humans. We use it on our Doberman’s coat and treat the entire yard to eliminate these pests without chemicals. Also treat around the house to avoid termites. Does not cost much for a fifty pound bag usually at pool supply stores. It is used in swimming pool filters and a variety of products for human use. Check it out. Regards…..Buck

Reader Questions
May 22, 2018 7:09 pm

I live on a farm and my big dogs run around in the woods. What flea preventative actually works?

June 14, 2018 12:20 am

Either get something from your Vet. They carry flea / Heartworm combo pills OR I recommend Advantix (applied once a month) or the 8 month Seresto flea and tick Collar. Then you would do the Heartworm tab separately.
I work in a pet store and am quite knowledgeable on the subject after 13+ years and I get this question a lot. Do Not try the cheap generic type (Adams, Sentry, PetArmor, etc…) drops or regular old flea collars. They don’t work and some cause severe skin reactions. Plus you’ll waste your money and still have to buy one of the above.
I’ve also noticed Frontline becoming ineffective on some dogs and cats.

DogFlea Mom
August 29, 2017 4:49 pm

My dog’s fleas are the worst, I’ve tried everything and am desperate! Hoping one of these does the trick…