Four Ways to Protect Your Dog from Ticks and Fleas

Keep your dog happy and healthy, and your home free of parasites, with one of these tick and flea defenses.

Ticks and fleas are the scourge of dogs and dog owners everywhere. If your dog gets anywhere near tall grasses or other dogs—or even just places where other dogs have been—there’s a chance that your dog will be exposed to fleas and ticks. That’s especially true if you live in places with a high deer population, or if you board your dog.

Deer ticks, dog ticks, and wood ticks can carry and transmit several types of diseases that affect both dogs and humans, from Lyme Disease to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fleas can also transmit diseases, as well as tapeworms. Dogs can scratch off ticks and fleas, which may then find and bite you. That makes tick and flea protection not just important, but critical for any dog owner.

Fortunately, there are several different ways to protect your dog and yourself from ticks and fleas. The four main types are topical ointments, body washes, collars, and oral medications. There are several different types in each category, too. The best one to choose depends on what your dog will tolerate, your personal preferences, and your lifestyle, though you should note a treatment that works for one dog may not work well for another. Also, although these products have been used safely on millions of dogs, closely monitor your dog for any ill effects along with the product’s efficacy.

Kills Eggs and Larvae

This choice lasts a full 30 days before it needs to be reapplied. Frontline


Topical flea treatments are vials of liquid—typically a teaspoon or so—containing chemicals that kill fleas and ticks. The dog’s skin absorbs the chemicals, which are then slowly released by the dog’s oil glands, coating the dog’s fur. There’s no need to apply the product all over the dog; the chemicals will spread naturally over your pet’s entire coat. You must apply the product to the dog’s skin (which can be difficult on heavy- or curly-coated dogs) and reapply once a month to retain effectiveness. Once the ointment is absorbed, it’s not evident to the touch. Some of these products are waterproof, making them ideal for dogs that spend a lot of time in the water. Several types are available.

Kill-on-Contact Topicals

These kill ticks and fleas soon after contact with the dog, as well as flea eggs and larvae, which prevents re-infestation.

Kill-and-Repel Topicals

These liquids do a dual job of killing ticks and fleas as well as repelling them, along with mosquitoes. Heartworm, which is deadly to dogs, is spread by mosquitoes, and these topicals provide an extra protection for those living in mosquito-prone areas (though your dog should be on a heartworm preventive if that’s the case), and of course keep your dog more comfortable in the process.

Pleasant Scent

To use this, simply brush your dog’s hair the opposite way of growth and pull the trigger. For best results, massage into the coat until it reaches the skin. mdxconcepts


Flea and tick sprays are helpful for people who don’t use a tick and flea preventive solution on a regular basis or want to augment what they already use. They’re also inexpensive.

Kill-on-Contact Sprays

Tick- and flea-killing sprays are useful for people who only occasionally have their dogs in places where they may encounter the parasites, such as a kennel or a romp in the woods, and want to rid their dog of any hitchhikers after such an outing, or apply a preventive before a trip.

Kill-on-Contact Shampoos

Shampoos are handy for dog owners who occasionally board their pet or otherwise put it in close contact with other dogs. After bringing the dog home, immediately give it a bath with such a shampoo. You can also use these in place of standard dog shampoos. Note that not every shampoo will kill every type of tick, so check before you buy.

Simple to Administer

One order of this contains a six-month supply and doesn’t require a prescription. Capstar


There are two types of over-the counter oral meds for dogs that are designed to control parasites.

Oral Medications that Kill Fleas

These contain a chemical that enters the dog’s bloodstream and is fatal to biting fleas. Although you need to administer the product orally, these medications work quickly.

Oral Medications that Make Dogs Unattractive to Ticks and Fleas

These contain natural ingredients that change the dog’s natural odor, so parasites aren’t attracted to the animal. They are designed to keep pests away, not kill them.


Put this around your pet’s neck and it will keep them safe for up to two-thirds of the year. Seresto


Flea and tick collars are impregnated with chemicals that prevent the parasites from infesting your dog. There are several types available.

Collars that Kill Fleas on Contact

These collars are impregnated with chemicals that are absorbed by the dog’s skin and are emitted by the dog’s oil glands. Because they kill fleas and ticks on contact, these collars prevent healthy, live ticks and fleas from coming into your house, and then possibly being scratched off by the dog, exposing you to the parasites.

Collars with Natural Flea and Tick Repelling Ingredients

If your dog seems prone to skin irritations, look for a collar that uses natural ingredients to prevent fleas and ticks from getting on your dog. Such hypoallergenic collars use plant-based derivatives that are natural insect repellents and are designed to be comfortable for dogs to wear.

Collars that Repel Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes carry the larva of the deadly internal parasites, so if you want to augment the dog’s heartworm treatment—or if you live in an area with many mosquitoes, and simply want to make your dog more comfortable—look for a collar that will ward off mosquitoes as well as ticks and fleas.