Compare The 3 Types Of Flea And Tick Medication For Dogs From Topical to Flea Pills for Dogs - Which One Is Right For Your Dog?

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Advantage II for Dogs

Flea & Tick
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With all of the different flea and tick medications out there, from topical and collars to flea pills, choosing can be a bit overwhelming. Here are 3 types of flea and tick medications compared so you can make a decision.

When it comes to flea and tick medications, there are three types of options out there. Some, like Nexgard, take care of fleas and ticks. Others, like Advantage Multi, work on fleas and various worms. Learn the differences so youโ€™ll be able to quickly eradicate a parasite infestation on your pup.

1. Topical Flea and Tick Medication for Dogs

Topical flea and tick medication, like shampoos, powders, and spot-on treatments, eliminate fleas with varying degrees of success. Flea powders last up to one week, while shampoos kill fleas for about one day. Both only eliminate adult fleas and are best used when combined with pills or other treatment options.

Topical spot-on treatments are most effective, destroying adult fleas, larvae, and eggs, and other parasites, and lasting about 30 days.

Topical treatments for dogs should never be used on cats unless the medication specifically indicates.

Popular Flea and Tick Topical Treatments for Dogs Include

Advantage II

  • Eliminates flea infestations at all stages of the growth cycle
  • Effective against lice, but does not kill off ticks
  • Administered monthly, lasts up to 30 days
  • The waterproof one hour after application
  • Minimum pet age: 7 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Pyriproxyfen

Frontline Plus

  • Kills ticks, chewing lice, and fleas at all stages of growth
  • Eliminates fleas in up to 12 hours
  • Used monthly, effective for 30 days
  • Waterproof
  • Minimum pet age: 8 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Fipronil, S-methoprene

K9 Advantix II

  • Effective against ticks, lice, biting flies, mosquitoes, and fleas at all stages
  • Begins working within 12 hours
  • Applied monthly, lasting up to 30 days
  • Minimum pet age: 7 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Imidacloprid, Permethrin, Pyriproxyfen

Revolution for Dogs

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and heartworm!
  • Treats and controls the spread of ear mites and sarcoptic mange
  • Applied monthly, lasting up to 30 days
  • Quick-drying and non-greasy
  • Ingredients include: Selamectin

2. Flea Pills for Dogs

Flea pills for dogs typically guarantee the most successful in fighting off parasites, but there are a few points to consider when choosing this treatment. Some orally administered drugs will require a prescription from your vet and can come with side effects. And oral pills typically target either flea eggs or adult fleas, but not both, so you may have to pick up several drugs to eradicate the infestation. Currently, there are no oral medications that destroy ticks.

Flea pills are the fastest way to eliminate these pests, with some treatments killing off infestations within four hours. If your dog doesnโ€™t like swallowing capsules, look for oral medications available in chewable tablets.

Popular Flea Pills for Dogs Include

Capstar Flea Killer

  • Kills off flea infestations within 6 hours
  • Administered daily, effective for 24 hours
  • Minimum pet age: 4 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Nitenpyram
  • Sold over the counter


  • Chewable, beef-flavored tablets
  • Kills fleas and flea eggs
  • Begins working within 30 minutes
  • Administered monthly, prevents fleas for up to 30 days
  • Minimum pet age: 14 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Spinosad
  • Prescription required

3. Flea and Tick Dog Collars

Flea and tick collars are most often used to prevent parasites from taking up residence on your pet. While preventative dog collars are most effective, some varieties of collars can also treat infestations by eliminating pests and their eggs via chemicals released into your dogโ€™s skin. Look for the word โ€œkillโ€ on the package to ensure that the collar will treat an infestation, not just prevent it.

Flea and tick collars can last up to eight months and are ideal for treating tick problems. Because collars are fastened around the neck, they are more concentrated around the face and neck area, where ticks more often inhabit.

Flea and tick collars are especially useful when you are in the process of eliminating a pest infestation as they will help prevent a new outbreak, and most of them can be combined with other treatment options. (Talk to your vet before combining a Seresto flea collar with any other medications.)

Popular Dog Collars that Eliminate Fleas and Ticks Include

Seresto 8 Month Flea and Tick Collar

  • Eliminates fleas and ticks
  • Prevents and treats pests for up to 8 months
  • Available in small and large sizes
  • Minimum pet age: 7 weeks
  • Ingredients include: Flumethrin, Imidacloprid

Does Breed Matter for Flea and Tick Products?

If you are in the market to kill or prevent pesky fleas and ticks from bothering your pet, there are a few things to keep in mind while perusing the product isle. First and foremost, never give a cat a dog flea and tick medication or vice versa. Species matters.

What surprisingly doesnโ€™t matter when choosing a treatment option? Breed. As long as you stick to buying separate products for cats and dogs, the heritage of your pet will not play a part in their specific treatment option. However, depending on your course of flea and tick prevention (shampoos, collars, spot-on treatments, or orals like Sentinel Flavor Tabs), physical factors such as hair length and skin sensitivity can come into play. For example, dogs with long hair often require a flea and tick comb in order to thoroughly check your petโ€™s mane for infestation.  

Note: for other kinds of medication (not flea and tick), like Ivermectin found in Heartgard, breed does matter. Certain breeds like collies may have serious sensitivities to certain drugs. Your vet will know this, however, and not prescribe them to your dog. When in doubt ask your vet if a medication is safe for your pet's heritage, but for flea and tick medication, breed does not matter.

Size does matter

Once you decide on a product, it is incredibly important to pay attention to the varying dosage levels based on the size of your pet. Smaller cats and dogs often require a smaller dose than larger animals for equal effectiveness (and safety). The correct dosage by weight is clearly marked on the box. Do not confuse age with size. Many flea and tick products cannot be used until your kitten or puppy is 8 weeks or older. Always read those labels! When flea and tick products are taken as recommended they are generally safe and very effective.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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