2020’s 7 Best Tick Repellents for Dogs for Protection and Prevention

Best Tick Repellents for Dogs for Protection and Prevention

The first time I took Maggie to the vet as a puppy, I heard a whole lot of terms that didn’t make any sense to me.

She got her routine shots and I scheduled her for future appointments, but I felt a little lost when presented with options.

One of the most confusing parts was deciding which kind of tick repellent to give her.

There are so many options, but in the years since, I’ve come to know quite a few of them.

Check out everything I know about the best tick repellents for dogs.

They’ll protect your dog and prevent future ticks from catching a ride, so your dog stays safe and healthy all year long.

The Best Tick Repellents for Dogs

Trusting a tick repellent is a big decision.

You don’t want to waste money on something that doesn’t work, so try some of these options instead.

Whether you want an oral medication or spray, you’ll find what’s right for your dog.

ProductTypePrescription Only?RatingPrice
SimparicaChewableYes4.9$$$$

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Frontline PlusTopicalNo4.1$$$

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Flea AwaySupplementNo3.5$$

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Bayer SerestoCollarNo4.1$$

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NexGardChewableYes4.7$$$$$

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Veterinary Formula Clinical CareShampooNo4.2$

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Black Flag Flea & Tick KillerYard SprayNo4.0$

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Best Choice Overall

Simparica

Simparica overall best tick medication chewable prevents infestation

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When you want the most powerful protection against ticks, trust one of the biggest brands in the game.

Simparica is a chewable medication that kills ticks and fleas that try to reproduce in your dog’s fur.

It features powerful ingredients that will get rid of infestations and keep them from happening again.

What I Liked

Here are a few of the reasons why so many dog owners trust this formula:

  • It blocks the transmission of Lyme disease
  • It protects for 35 days
  • It’s the only chewable medication that kills the Gulf Coast tick
What I Didn’t Like

You should know that this brand also:

  • Isn’t available online without a vet’s prescription
  • Isn’t for dogs under 6 months old
  • May take a few hours to start working on current infestations
Conclusion

The downsides to this brand don’t outweigh the benefits for me.

Another huge plus is that Maggie loves the taste of Simparica, which is often hard to find in other options.

Safest Tick Repellent

Frontline Plus flea tick topical spot treatment for dogs waterproof

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Frontline Plus

Another major brand you can trust to make safe tick repellent is Frontline.

They created their Frontline Plus line with two powerful ingredients that won’t bother your dog at all.

It’s a waterproof topical spot medication, great for outdoor dogs.

Pet parents around the world trust this brand because it’s built its company on reliability.

What I Liked

Frontline Plus is great because:

  • Fipronil and methoprene kill adult ticks and disrupt their life cycle
  • It’s a waterproof formula
  • It protects up to a month per dose
What I Didn’t Like

There are a few things you should be aware of before buying this product:

  • You dog can’t bathe for three days before or after application
  • It must be applied between their shoulder blades
  • Is harmful for cats that come in contact with it
Conclusion

You’re in good hands if you choose to go with Frontline Plus.

They’re trusted by many loyal consumers because they make a product that keeps your dog safe, even if your pup is as young as eight weeks old.

Best Natural Tick Protection

Flea Away vitamin supplement carbon dioxide for dogs keeps ticks away

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Flea Away

Some dog owners prefer to give their dogs only all-natural treats and products to avoid any long-term side effects of chemicals or irritants.

If that’s your style, try Flea Away natural tick repellent.

It’s a daily vitamin that repels ticks by masking the CO2 in your dog’s coat that attracts them.

What I Liked

Flea Away’s tick pill is amazing because it:

  • Repels ticks, fleas and mosquitoes
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids to help your dog’s skin and coat
  • Eases joint pain caused by old age
What I Didn’t Like

A few consumers have complained that this product:

  • Must be given as a daily tablet
  • Takes 30 days to build up your dog’s immunity
  • Is a bit big for small dogs to chew on
Conclusion

Flea Away is a great option if you prefer all-natural solutions

Break the pill in half if you have a small dog and you’re good to go. Given a few weeks, your dog will be protected from ticks and other pests they might encounter while out in the yard or at the dog park.

Best Tick Collar for Dogs

Bayer Seresto flea tick repellent collar kills repels vet recommended

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Bayer Seresto

Many dogs wear tick collars all year round for protection against infestations.

They’re often more affordable and easier to manage, which is why people invest in Bayer’s Seresto Flea and Tick collar.

Check out why it might be right for your dog and what’s made people fall in love with this easy pest solution.

What I Liked

This collar beats its competition because it:

  • Doesn’t have a smell
  • Doesn’t leave behind greasy residue
  • Protects dogs for up to eight months at a time
What I Didn’t Like

These features may not please everyone:

  • Some dogs had allergic reactions to the ingredients
  • It may take a few days to fully protect your dog
  • It’s about the same price as a prescription medication
Conclusion

You might find cheaper tick collars on the market, but none will give you the guaranteed, lasting protection of a Seresto collar. Give it a try with your dog to see it in action.

Best Oral Tick Protection for Dogs

Frontline Vet Labs NexGard chewable medication with afoxolaner prevents ticks

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NexGard

When you don’t want to try out a collar and don’t like topical treatments, try NexGard’s chewable oral tick protection.

It’s got a beef flavor dogs won’t be able to resist, even those who are picky about taking medication.

This option does require a prescription from your vet, but it’s a popular choice for dogs of all ages and sizes.

What I Liked

NexGard got its great reputation because:

  • It protects for up to 30 days at a time
  • It kills the three most common ticks
  • It’s safe to take alongside standard heartworm medication
What I Didn’t Like

Even with its many benefits, some owners don’t prefer this oral tick protection because:

  • It may result in dry, itchy skin for some dogs
  • Although it’s chewable, it’s not a soft pill
  • Some dogs don’t prefer the taste

Conclusion

With your vet’s recommendation, try out NexGard to banish ticks from your dog’s coat.

If your dog enjoys the taste, they can get lasting protection from the same brand from the moment they turn eight weeks old.

Best Tick Shampoo for Dogs

2020's 7 Best Tick Repellents for Dogs for Protection and Prevention

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Veterinary Formula Clinical Care

You might come back from a walk through your favorite wooded paths to find your dog covered in ticks.

When you don’t have them on some kind of lasting medication or collar, use Veterinary Formula’s Clinical Care Flea and Tick shampoo.

It kills ticks on contact, so it’s the perfect solution to a current infestation.

You can also bathe your dog with this shampoo before taking them into the woods as a tick preventative, though you should wait seven days between uses.

What I Liked

This shampoo ranks above its competitors because:

  • It uses pyrethrum, a natural insecticide, to soothe skin while it kills ticks
  • It doesn’t contain soap, so it won’t dry out sensitive skin
  • It’s available for dogs 12 weeks and older
What I Didn’t Like

Before you start up the shower for your pup, make sure you know that:

  • It doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream, so it only kills the ticks it touches
  • Some dogs don’t enjoy the smell
  • May cause an allergic reaction in some dogs
Conclusion

It’s always smart to try tick shampoo when you spot more than one or two on your dog.

When that happens, try Veterinary Formula’s Clinical Care Flea and Tick shampoo to solve your dog’s pest problem.

Best Tick Spray for Yards

Black Flag Flea Tick Killer concentrated yard treatment spray with Nylar

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Black Flag Flea & Tick Killer

Many dog owners forget that when your dog has a tick problem, those bugs have also crept into your pup’s favorite places around your home.

That includes your yard, where ticks can breed for generations.

Make sure you treat your yard with an effective solution, like Black Flag’s Flea and Tick Killer yard treatment spray.

What I Liked

This spray is popular with dog owners because:

  • One bottle treats up to 5,000 square feet
  • Each round of treatment protects your yard for 12 weeks
  • The bottle attaches to your garden hose for easy spraying
What I Didn’t Like

Before you head outside, you should know that this spray:

  • Should not be touched by people or pets until it dries
  • Comes out in a fine mist and may blow back with the breeze
  • Should not be sprayed around vegetable gardens
Conclusion

It’s difficult to get between every blade of grass to spot ticks and kill them, but Black Flag’s yard treatment spray will do the job with ease.

As long as it gets a chance to dry, it’ll end your tick problem and keep your yard a safe place for the people and pets who belong there.

Why Should You Use Tick Protection on Your Dog?

Why use tick preventative repellent medications with dogGetting extra medication, a special collar, or a topical treatment for your dog may seem like extra work.

After all, shouldn’t flea medication kill any insects living on your dog?

Tick protection is worth going out of your way for.

Here are a few reasons why ticks pose such a big threat to dogs.

They Directly Access the Bloodstream

When ticks survive to adulthood, they know they need to feed on blood.

They wait in grassy or wooded areas for animals to lay down so they can catch a ride. They also reach out their arms to grab onto animals that walk past them, so they can jump onto dogs from nearly anywhere.

After a tick finds a host, they poke their three mouth parts through your dogs skin and sink directly into a vein[1].

While they feed, their saliva travels through the bloodstream and could carry bacteria with it.

They Carry Lyme DiseaseDeer tick dangerous to dogs give pet lyme disease and other illnesses

Sometimes celebrities show up in the news because they announce that they have Lyme disease, but dogs can get it too.

It happens when a dog gets bit by a deer tick carrying a spirochete bacteria[2].

Symptoms occur a few months after the initial bite, which is when your dog will experience:

  • Fever
  • Limping
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

If left untreated, Lyme disease spreads to the kidney, which is when it becomes fatal[3].

Ticks Pose Other Risks Too

You might think the odds of your dog getting Lyme disease are low, but that’s not the only way a tick can make them ill.

Ticks also carry other diseases[4], such as:

  • tick common wood bock ixodes ricinus bloodsucking ectoparasite cause dog diseasesCanine Ehrlichiosis (prevents blood clotting)
  • Anaplasma (similar to Lyme disease)
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (affects the brain)
  • Babesiosis (breaks down the red blood cells)
  • Bartonella (infectious disease that spreads to humans)

Tick Prevention Tips

Keep your dog healthy and happy by following these easy tick prevention tips.

Learn About Tick Season

Whenever the weather warms up, ticks start to wake up from their dormant winter season.

You might see ticks most often starting in March or April until freezing temperatures begin in late fall[5].

Tick prevention tips pet check your dog after spending time outside woods yard

Pet Your Dog Daily

You already spoil your dog with plenty of pets, but keep your senses tuned to anything strange while you pet your dog.

Bumps under their fur or dark spots should be closely inspected, as they might be ticks.

Talk With Your Vet

Your vet will know how much of a threat ticks are in your area.

They may recommend a simple tick collar or prescribe extra-strength medication.

They’ll also discuss if you can wash your dog with tick shampoo while they use their standard treatment, in case your dog spends most of their time outside.

Conclusion

Which tick prevention method you choose for your dog is always a personal choice.

I prefer to give Maggie a lasting oral medication, which is why I have her on Simparica. She loves the taste and smell of the pill, which is a huge bonus because she’s a picky eater.

She hasn’t had any tick problems and I don’t suspect she will while she takes her medication.

Talk with your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s care.

They want to help clear up confusion you might have about how your dog’s current medications may interact with something meant to kill and prevent ticks.

Once you get their approval, you’ll find you can rely on options like these to take care of your dog and keep them from dealing with future pest problems.

FAQs

Do Dogs Need Tick Medicine All Year Round?

Yes!

Most ticks will go dormant during cold weather, but could wake up on warmer days.

It’s safer to protect your dog during all seasons.

What Does Tick Medication Do for Dogs?

Tick medications either absorb into your dog’s skin or bloodstream to kill ticks that try to use your dog for a meal.

They can also prevent ticks from latching on, depending on the ingredients in the medication.

When Should You Give Your Dog Tick Medicine?

Your dog should take their tick medicine on the same day every month.

Most pills only protect dogs for 30 days.

Follow the instructions for your dog’s chosen medication and create a reminder on your calendar so you don’t forget to give them their next pill in the months ahead.

Skipped doses will create a lapse in protection, which opens the door to tick bites.

References

  1. https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-anatomy-of-a-tick.html
  2. https://www.britannica.com/science/spirochete
  3. https://www.americanveterinarian.com/news/tick-exposure-and-kidney-disease-risk-in-dogs
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html
  5. https://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/what-you-should-know-about-tick-season
About the author

Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce is a self-published novelist, award winning short story writer, and freelancer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking and making clothes for dogs.