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Excessive scratching by a dog or cat can cause shivers down the pet’s spine. The last thing you want is fleas or ticks in your home, not to mention the possibility of disease-carrying parasites harming your family. We’ve rounded up vet-recommended flea and tick treatments to protect pets and people from this scourge.
Best Thing For Fleas And Ticks On Dogs
Every product we recommend treats fleas, but fleas aren’t the only parasite you have to deal with. Depending on where you are in the country, there are many area-specific ticks that you may need to watch out for, as well as internal parasites such as heartworms or tapeworms. And some treatments may be used in different ways or with different regimens. So consult your own vet: they will be the best resource to advise you on the appropriate treatment based on your pet’s medical history and the prevalence of infections in your area.
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Provecto lasts up to three months, so you can use it less often than other topical treatments we recommend (and it’s also chewable for dogs with sensitive skin). But a prescription is required. For dosages for treating small or large dogs, see below.
Bravecto for cats lasts up to three months and is one of the only brands we’ve found to offer a version that protects against heartworms. But Prevecto requires a prescription. See below for links to correct sizes for cats outside of weight specifications.
Who should use it: Prevecto Emergency Solution for Dogs and Provecto Topical Solution for Cats If you like the idea of going three months between treatments, your main concerns are fleas, American dog ticks, black-footed ticks, and brown dog ticks. Tick. (in dogs) or fleas and black-legged ticks (in cats). Pravecto also comes in an oral form if you have a dog that chews and swallows instead of taking a throat treatment. Provecto protects against these mites in a 12-week cycle, and fights Lone Star ticks (in dogs) and American dog ticks (in cats), but only for eight weeks at a time. This gives you a four-week window during which your dog or cat will be exposed.
What it treats: Our vets agree that Provecto is one of their favorite flea and tick treatments for cats and dogs. We recommend that this is the only brand that sells a dose that lasts three months between uses. But if you live in an area where Lone Star ticks are common, including the eastern, southeastern, and mid-south states, it’s best to opt for a monthly treatment like Frontline Plus. Prevecto protects against the single-star tick for only eight weeks (as opposed to its 12-week protection against other tick species). You can leave your pet unprotected against star ticks for an entire month between Prevecto treatments — or you should use it more often (PDF).
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Bravecto is one of two options that offer formulations to protect cats from heartworms, roundworms and pinworms. (The flu also protects cats from some parasitic worms.) The American Heartworm Association says there is no cure for heartworm disease in cats, so you should prevent your cat from getting it in the first place.
Bravecto Chews and Bravecto for dogs provide up to 12 weeks of protection against fleas, black-footed ticks, American dog ticks and brown dog ticks, and up to eight weeks of protection against individual star ticks. But they do not protect against heartworm. The chewable formula is convenient because you don’t have to put messy goo on your pet’s fur. But if you use this mixture, your pet will have to bite to expose the pesticide. In comparison, topicals are delivered through your pet’s fur and oil glands, so when an infection comes in contact with the fur, it’s toast. (If your pet is particularly sensitive to insect bites, choose a topical lotion instead of a medicated lotion.)
Prevecto topical solution for cats protects for 12 weeks and against American dog ticks against fleas and black-footed ticks for eight weeks. Bravecto Plus for cats protects against fleas, black-legged ticks, heartworms, worms and small insects for up to eight weeks.
Known side effects: Neurological adverse reactions including ataxia (lack of coordination), seizures and tremors; Other known side effects – vomiting, hair loss, rash, lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dry skin and itching
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Variations: Bravecto Chews for dogs 4.4 to 9.9 pounds, 9.9 to 22 pounds, 22 to 44 pounds, 44 to 88 pounds, 88 to 123 pounds; 4.4 to 9.9 pounds, 9.9 to 22 pounds, 22 to 44 pounds, 44 to 88 pounds, 88 to 123 pounds; 2.6 to 6.2 lbs, 6.2 to 13.8 lbs, 13.8 to 27.5 lbs; Bravecto Plus for Cats 2.6 to 6.2 lbs, 6.2 to 13.8 lbs, 13.8 to 27.5 lbs
Revolution Plus for Cats fights more pests – fleas, ear mites, worms, roundworms and many types of ticks – than any other treatment we recommend. But frequent monthly applications are required, and you’ll need a prescription. For versions suitable for light or heavy cats, see below.
Unlike other treatments, this formula kills fleas and fights ear mites, sarcoptic mange and heartworm in dogs. But it only treats American dog ticks. It also requires a vet’s prescription and should be used monthly. For versions suitable for light or heavy dogs, see below.
Who should use it: If you have a cat and don’t mind using a monthly dose, Revolution Plus for Cats offers broad coverage that includes fleas, ear mites, worms and some ticks. If you have a dog and you’re not worried about ticks, Revolution for Dogs can protect you from heartworms and ear mites.
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What it does: Revolution Plus protects cats from more germs than other options. This is a great solution for cat owners living in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states, as it is the only topical treatment we recommend against the Gulf Coast tick that thrives in those areas. Our only option is to treat ear mites, which according to VCA Hospitals are the second most common mites after fleas. Like Provecto, Revolution Plus also protects against common parasites in kittens, including worms and small insects. It also works against fleas, black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and heartworms. (The non-Plus version of Revolution for Cats does not protect against ticks, so we do not recommend it in this guide.)
Compared to other flea treatments we recommend, Revolution for Dogs protects against a narrow range of mites – but it’s the only one that protects against heartworms. Kranthi does not protect against the brown dog tick, which is found throughout the world. (Bravecto, Frontline, and Seresto fight it.) Revolution kills fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, American dog ticks, and heartworm.
Variations: Revolution for dogs 5.1 to 10 pounds, 10.1 to 20 pounds, 20.1 to 40 pounds, 40.1 to 85 pounds, 86 to 130 pounds; Revolution Plus for Cats 2.8 to 5.5 lbs, 5.6 to 11 lbs, 11.1 to 22 lbs
Frontline Plus is our favorite over-the-counter topical treatment and protects against a wide variety of flea and tick species. But monthly application is necessary, and it doesn’t fight parasites like heartworms. For correct sizes for dogs of other weights, see below.
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This monthly over-the-counter topical treatment for cats provides the same insect protection for dogs (and requires the same monthly schedule).
Who should use it: Frontline Plus for dogs and Frontline Plus for cats are treatments you can buy without a vet’s prescription, so you can easily take the medication. If you have dogs and cats and want to protect them from the same pests on the same schedule, consider this treatment.
What it treats: Frontline Plus is the only flea and tick treatment that treats the same pests for cats or dogs on the same schedule without a prescription. The active ingredients are slightly different in the two versions because they are species dependent, but you can keep cats and dogs on the same application schedule and treat the same pests. Both treatments combat fleas, lice, lone star ticks, American dog ticks, deer ticks and brown dog ticks. So there’s no need to mix and match different brands of medication to ensure all pets in your household receive the same level of protection. In comparison, Bravecto offers four formulations against different combinations of pests with less coverage in its cat products; This can be confusing for cat and dog pet owners who want to protect their pets from multiple parasites with a single dose. Frontline Plus does the predictive work so pet owners can focus on play time instead of flea bath time.
Frontline Plus is the only topical product that does not require a prescription. So you can quickly pick up a new box while you work
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