Dog Tick Prevention

The Best Tick Prevention For Dogs - Suited For Australian Conditions

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

Nexgard Spectra Chewables

  • Most complete parasite protection available
  • Kills ticks within 48 hours of consumption
  • The beef flavour makes it tasty

While you and your pooch are looking forward to spring weather and field trips, there’s one thing you’re certainly not looking forward to - ticks. These tiny bloodsuckers are disgusting to look at and even more difficult to get rid of. If you leave them on your dog for too long, they might get him infected with a dangerous bacterial disease.

That’s why it’s crucial to regularly check the dog for ticks and remove them as soon as possible. However, ticks are tiny and can easily hide in thick fur. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so in this article, we’ll talk about different options when it comes to tick prevention for dogs.


How To Choose The Right Tick Prevention

When it comes to ticks, there are several possible prevention options you can choose from - pill, spot-on treatment, collar, spray or shampoo. To find out what’s the best choice for your dog, you need to know the difference between them (1).

Oral

Oral medication is the fastest way of getting rid of tick infestation. Some pills can kill these pests within a couple of hours. When taken, oral treatment gets into the dog’s bloodstream and body tissues. So, when ticks bite the dog, they ingest the medication and die. But don’t worry! The pills are only poisonous to insects but won’t hurt your dog. In most cases, tick pills offer 30-day protection.

With that being said, if your dog has seizures or certain food allergies, oral prevention isn’t recommended. Sensitive pooches might experience upset stomachs and might throw up the pill before it gets absorbed. Furthermore, some medication isn’t tested for safety in pregnant or lactating females. Finally, some dogs simply can’t be fooled into swallowing the pill. You might need to get extra creative when hiding it in food, and that’s still no guarantee the endeavour will succeed.

Topical

Topical medication, also called a spot-on treatment, is directly applied to the dog’s neck or other hard-to-reach areas. Through the fat layer of skin, it’s distributed across the body. The chemical attacks a tick’s brain, causing it to become paralyzed and die. Some topical treatments affect ticks of all life stages, including eggs.

A spot-on treatment is typically applied between the dog’s shoulder blades. It takes 8 to 12 hours to get absorbed into the skin, during which you should avoid bathing the dog. Most topical medications should be reapplied every 30 days. However, if your pooch gets regular baths or swimming sessions, this should be done every 2 to 3 weeks.

Keep in mind that, unless otherwise stated, spot-on treatments for dogs are poisonous to cats. If your dog has a feline friend, keep them separated until the medication gets fully absorbed.

Collar

While spring is the peak season, in bushland and long grass areas, ticks stay active for most of the year. If you live in such a region, a collar might be a better option for you. Unlike topical and oral medications that last a month, a collar protects the dog for up to 8 months. When you do the math, it turns out that’s a more affordable option than buying a spot-on or a pill month after month.

The collar works in a similar way to spot-on treatments. It continuously releases a certain chemical that’s absorbed into sebaceous glands and spread via coat and skin oils. Some types of collars only repel ticks while others feature ingredients that also kill these pests and their eggs. Most tick collars are water-resistant, so they’re a better option for dogs who get wet often.

There’s also a natural alternative to tick collar, which is made of different essential oils that are known for their insect-repellent ability. These are usually more affordable but simply not as effective as those with pesticides. They do well at repelling ticks, but they won’t kill them.

Spray

This is the fastest tick treatment. Unlike spot-on treatments that take hours to spread across the dog’s body, the spray does that instantly. It basically kills ticks on the spot, and that’s what makes it perfect for dealing with an already infested pet. You can apply it directly to those hard-to-reach areas where ticks usually hide.

Be cautious when using this treatment, as you don’t want the mist to get into your pooch’s eyes and mouth.

Shampoo

Tick shampoos kill them on contact, but their effect lasts for a short time. It’s great for removing tick infestation, but it does nothing to prevent it from happening in the future.


Tick Control For Dogs: The Top List

#1: Best Overall: Nexgard Spectra Chewables

  • Most complete parasite protection available
  • Kills ticks within 48 hours of consumption
  • The beef flavour makes it tasty

Most dogs will gladly eat cat poop when given a chance, but when it comes to swallowing pills, they firmly refuse to open their mouths. But Nexgard Spectra is no ordinary pill. It’s a beef-flavored chewable tablet that even the pickiest of dogs won’t refuse.

Nexgard Spectra is probably the most complete parasite prevention on the market. Besides ticks and fleas, it also keeps your pooch safe from mites, heartworms and intestinal worms. Each chewable contains afoxolaner, a chemical that keeps a dog protected for one month. This ingredient is safe to be given to puppies over 8 weeks of age, if they weigh over 2 kg. Adverse reactions are rare and mild. However, the product should be used with caution in dogs with seizure disorders (2). Furthermore, it’s not yet evaluated for use in pregnant or lactating dogs.

Nexgard Spectra can be given with food or as a treat, and once consumed, it rapidly treats and controls parasites. In the case of ticks, it kills them within 48 hours. It also effectively controls a pre-existing Paralysis tick infestation within a day from consumption. It comes in a package of six chewables, which is a half-year dosage.

Pros

Cons

  • Most complete parasite protection available
  • Can have adverse reactions in dogs with seizures
  • Kills ticks within 48 hours of consumption
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  • The beef flavour makes it tasty
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  • It starts working within the first 12 hours
  • Applied only two times per year
  • Safe for pregnant and lactating canines

Most spot-on treatments have to be reapplied monthly, and for busy pet owners, a month fly by. Before you realize it, you’re 15 days late with the next application and that puts your dog at risk of being attacked by these horrible pests. Bravecto had forgetful pet parents in mind, and they created a spot-on treatment that protects pooches for up to 6 months. It comes in single-dose packs for dogs weighing 2 to 56 kg.

Bravecto has a simple application. On the so-called Twist'n Use tube, the cap doesn’t come off. Instead, you twist it once, thus breaking the seal. Then, apply it as you would any other topical treatment. The manufacturer recommends not bathing the pooch within three days after applying the treatment. It works fast - it kills ticks within the first 12 hours.

FDA approved Bravecto to be safe for puppies at least 6 months old. It’s also approved for use in pregnant pooches. Side effects are very rare and mild, but if your dog has seizures, use it with caution. Closely monitor your dog for the first few days after application (3).

Pros

Cons

  • It starts working within the first 12 hours
  • Not suitable for puppies under 6 months
  • Applied only two times per year
  • Use with caution in dogs with seizures
  • Safe for pregnant and lactating canines
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#3: Best Tick Collar: Seresto

  • Equal protection for 8 months
  • Water immersion doesn’t affect the collar's efficacy
  • Comes in two sizes

Seresto collar is one of the best-known tick prevention products on the market. It’s loved by dog owners all over the world, and for a good reason. Why? Because it does what it says.

This collar protects your pooch from ticks and fleas for 7 to 8 months. But while the effect of chemicals on other collars starts wearing down after a certain time, that’s not the case with Seresto. Thanks to its innovative technology, it releases a controlled dose of the active ingredient at all times. This means that during the 7th month of usage it works just as well as during the 1st.

Don’t worry about your pooch smelling like pesticides as Seresto is odourless. This is great for both dogs and owners with sensitive noses. It can be worn by pups older than 7 weeks. It comes in two sizes. The smaller is 38 cm-long and it’s suitable for dogs under 8 kg. For those weighing more than that, there’s a 70 cm collar.

This collar is water-resistant, meaning it’s a great option for dogs that enjoy swimming and walking in rain. No matter how soaked they get, they’ll stay protected no matter what. Keep in mind though that the protection period in such a case is reduced to 5 to 7 months, but there’s no such thing as a 100% waterproof tick prevention product.

Pros

Cons

  • Equal protection for 8 months
  • Sensitive dogs can develop a reaction to chemicals
  • Water immersion doesn’t affect the collar's efficacy
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  • Comes in two sizes
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#4: Best Tick Repellent For Dogs: Advantix 6-pack

  • Works against different types of insects
  • The packaging features a 6-month supply
  • Waterproof

As a pet parent, you’re probably terrified from just the thought of annoying pests biting your pooch. Advantix is a topical treatment that both repels and kills ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, lice and stable flies. These pests die before they manage to attach and feed off your dog’s blood. Without biting, the chance of irritation and infestation is way lower.

When buying, you can choose an appropriate dosage for your dog’s weight. For dogs under 25 kg, apply the entire product between the shoulder blades. For dogs heavier than that, spread the tube’s content evenly from the dog’s shoulders to the tail. Don’t rub the product into the fur, allow it to air dries.

This spot-on treatment should be reapplied monthly. It comes as a pack of six tubes, which is a half-year dosage. Keep in mind that Advantix is toxic to cats, so make sure to prevent your pooch from interacting with cats for at least 48 hours, until the skin fully absorbs the product.

After the product gets into the skin, the dog can continue to enjoy water games and rainy walks. You can even bathe your pooch with a soap-free shampoo, and it won’t decrease Advantix’s effect.

Pros

Cons

  • Works against different types of insects
  • Poisonous to cats
  • The packaging features a 6-month supply
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  • Waterproof
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#5: Best Natural Tick Treatment For Dogs: Beloved Pets Green Fort NEO Collar

  • Made with natural essential oils
  • Safe for puppies over 7 weeks old, as well as pregnant and allergy-prone dogs
  • Water-resistant
  • Protects from ticks for up to 6 months

If you’re looking for a 100% natural and organic collar for your pooch, then the Green Fort NEO Bio collar from Beloved Pets might be the right product for you.

This product combines 5 essential oils that repel ticks and other parasites attacking your pooch, like mosquitoes and lice. The collar is safe to use on puppies over 7 weeks old, ill and pregnant dogs. Unlike most natural collars on the market, this one has a light, pleasant scent that doesn’t overwhelm you every time your dog approaches. However, keep in mind that some dogs are allergic to certain essential oils (4).

The collar is 65 cm long, which basically makes it suitable for dogs up to 35 kg. Unfortunately, there’s no L-sized version that fits big pooches like Rottweilers or St.Bernards.

The Green Fort protects your canine companion from parasites for up to 6 months. It’s water-resistant so you don’t have to remove it every time you bathe your pooch. Since it’s made with natural active ingredients, it can safely be used with other chemical collars and medications.

In general, this collar is a great natural alternative, but if you live in a dense tick region, it won’t 100% protect your dog from ticks.

Pros

Cons

  • Made with natural essential oils
  • Not as effective as collars with pesticides
  • Safe for puppies over 7 weeks old, as well as pregnant and allergy-prone dogs
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  • Water-resistant
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  • Protects from ticks for up to 6 months
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#6: Budget Pick: Kiltix Tick Collar

  • Affordable
  • Safe for pups as young as 3 months
  • Water-resistant

If you live in a warm and humid climate, ticks are troubling your canine friend during all seasons. In such a case, a collar is the most practical tick prevention method. While most tick collars cost a pretty penny, that’s not the case with the Kiltix collar from Bayer.

This affordable collar contains the ingredient flumethrin (5). This is one of the most efficient tick treating chemicals. It works its way fast into the dog’s skin, killing ticks currently feeding, while repelling those trying to attach to your pooch’s skin.

Kiltix protects from Brown Dog and Bush ticks up to 5 months. However, in the case of a Paralysis tick, the protection only lasts 6 weeks. Since this is the more dangerous type of tick, you’ll probably want to get a new collar every month and a half.

Besides the shorter Paralysis tick protection, there really isn’t a lot to complain about this collar. It costs less than half of any other popular tick collar on the market. It’s safe for three-month-old puppies and during pregnancy and lactation. The collar’s also water-resistant, so you don’t have to remove it every time your pooch goes for a swim.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable
  • Only a 1.5 month-long Paralysis tick protection
  • Safe for pups as young as 3 months
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  • Water-resistant
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#7: Best Chemical-Free Option: Tickless Pet Ultrasonic Tick Repeller

  • Chemical-free and odourless product
  • Safe to use on pets of all ages and sizes
  • Protects up to 12 months

This ultrasonic tick repeller from Tickless is a great option for puppies and pregnant dogs, as it doesn’t use any chemical. Instead, it emits a series of ultrasonic pulses. Neither we nor our pets are able to sense these pulses, but ticks are. The repeller makes them disoriented, and so they stay away from your pooch.

This repeller comes in 5 colour options, so you can pick the one that compliments your dog’s collar best. It runs on one CR2 battery that allows it to operate for up to 12 months. To make it work, attach it to your pooch’s collar and remove the “pull” tab. A red light will flash to indicate it’s on. Since this device only repels ticks but doesn’t kill them, you should bathe your pooch with a tick shampoo before using it.

Keep in mind that this product is splash-proof but not waterproof, so if you’re taking your dog for a swim, make sure to remove it first. A clinical study proved Tickless to be 94% efficient against these pests.

Pros

Cons

  • Chemical-free and odourless product
  • In heavily populated tick areas, must be used along with a different prevention product
  • Safe to use on pets of all ages and sizes
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  • Protects up to 12 months
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#8: Best Tick Spray For Dogs: Frontline Tick Spray 100ML

  • The spray gives the fastest results
  • Can be used on puppies and kittens
  • Easy application

When we think about tick control, sprays aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. That’s a pity, considering there are multiple reasons why a spray might be the right tick prevention method for you. Especially in the case of this classic Frontline product.

The Frontline spray protects the dog for up to 30 days. If you live in an area dense with Paralysis ticks, you should apply it every three weeks. You can use it not only on cats and dogs, but puppies and kittens, too. The application is simple and fast - spray over the entire dog’s body until it is damp. Then massage the fur to get the product deep into the skin. Make sure to either wear latex gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after applying the product.

Like every tick spray, Frontline works fast. In case your dog comes back from the walk covered with ticks, this product will be your best friend in getting rid of these pests. Keep in mind that this product isn’t water-resistant, and in case your dog gets wet often, its effect will wear down. When bathing your pooch, opt for soap-free pet shampoo.

Pros

Cons

  • The spray gives the fastest results
  • Water reduces the spray’s effect
  • Can be used on puppies and kittens
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  • Easy application
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The Verdict

Now that we’ve covered different tick prevention methods, it’s clear how there isn’t a product that will work the best for everyone. If you’re looking for a fast treatment that deals with a variety of different parasites, then Nexgard Spectra is a great option for your pooch. One tasty chewable per month will keep your dog parasite-free. However, if you’re having a hard time keeping up with the following dosage due, then a treatment that’s applied two times a year, like Bravecto, is a better choice.

Whichever product you end up choosing, make sure to follow the instructions on how it’s used. Never apply more product than recommended for your dog’s size. Monitor the dog for any possible side effects.

For more information, check out our below guides:

FAQ

How do ticks get on dogs?

Contrary to popular belief, ticks can’t jump. The way they get onto their future host is by gathering on top of high grass and shrubs. As the dog walks through and brushes onto the grass, the tick attaches to him (6).

How to check your pet for ticks?

Comb your fingers through your dog’s fur while pressing gently. Make sure to inspect every part of the body, as ticks can be as tiny as a sand grain. They are attracted to dark and moist body parts, such as under the collar, around the ears and eyes, between toes, under the tail and in the groin region.

How do you remove a tick?

If you discover a tick on your dog, you should remove it as soon as possible, to prevent any possible infection. There are special twisters made specifically for removing these pests, but in case you don’t have one close at hand, curved tweezers or forceps will do.

Hold the tool as close to the skin as possible and grasp the tick’s head. Without twisting, pull the head gently away from the dog’s skin. After you remove it, clean the bite site with soap and water.

What diseases can ticks carry?

Australian ticks are carriers of several serious bacterial diseases, such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis. So far, there’s no definite evidence that ticks in Australia are infected with bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.

All three of those tick-borne diseases are difficult to treat and have dangerous health consequences not only to dogs but humans as well.

References
  1. Kvamme, J. February 16, 2012. “Types of Flea & Tick Control Products”. Retrieved January 30, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_multi_types_of_flea_tick_control_products
  2. AVMA October 31, 2018. ”Four flea, tick products linked to seizures, ataxia”. Retrieved January 30, 2021. https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2018-11-15/four-flea-tick-products-linked-seizures-ataxia
  3. Klein, J.  October 25, 2018. “FDA Alert On Flea and Tick Products for Pets”. Retrieved January 31, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/fda-alert-flea-tick-products/
  4. Smith-Janssen, K. January 22, 2016. “Nontoxic Ways to Protect Your Pet”. Retrieved January 30, 2021. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/nontoxic-ways-protect-your-pet
  5. Stanneck, D., Kruedewagen, K., Fourie J., Horak, I., Davis W. and Krieger, K. 30 May 2012 “Efficacy of an imidacloprid/flumethrin collar against fleas, ticks, mites and lice on dogs”. Retrieved January 30, 2021. https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-3305-5-102
  6. Lantry, S. May 08, 2020 “Do Ticks Jump?” Retrieved January 30, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/do-ticks-jump
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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