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An excessively itchy dog or cat can send shivers down a pet owner’s spine. The last thing you want is a flea or tick infestation in your home, not to mention the possibility of disease-carrying parasites wreaking havoc on your household. To protect pets and people from this fear, we have collected the most effective flea and tick products recommended by veterinarians.
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All of the products we recommend will treat fleas, but fleas may not be the only parasites you have to deal with. Depending on where you are in the country, you may have many region-specific ticks, as well as internal parasites such as heartworms or roundworms. And some treatments may be applied in different ways or with different regularity. So consult your veterinarian: they are the best source to advise you on the appropriate treatment based on your pet’s medical history and the pest infestation in your area.
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Bravecto lasts up to three months, so you can use it less often than any of the other topicals we recommend (and it’s also great for dogs with sensitive skin). But it requires a prescription. See below for dosage for treating small and large dogs.
Bravecto for cats also lasts three months and is the only brand that has offered us a version that will protect against heartworms. But Bravecto requires a prescription. See the link below for dosages outside of cat weight specifications.
Who should use it: Bravecto Topical Solutions for Dogs and Bravecto Topical Solutions for Cats are great if you like the idea of a three-month break between treatments and are concerned about fleas, American dog ticks, black-legged ticks, and brown dog ticks. there is (in dogs) or fleas and black ticks (in cats). Bravecto also comes in an oral form if you have a dog that is happier swallowing chews than food. Bravecto protects against these pests for a 12-week cycle and also fights single ticks (in dogs) and American ticks (in cats), but only for 8 weeks at a time. This gives you a four-week window during which your dog or cat can be exposed.
What it treats: Our vets agree that Bravecto is one of their favorite flea and tick products for cats and dogs. We recommend that this is the only brand that sells a single dose that lasts three months between uses. But if you live in an area where solitary ticks are common, including the eastern, southeastern, and south central states, you may be better off opting for a monthly treatment like Frontline Plus. Bravecto protects against developing ticks for only eight weeks (as opposed to 12 weeks of protection against other types of ticks). That means your pet may be protected against Lone Star ticks for a full month while on Bravecto treatment — or you may need to use it more often (PDF).
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Bravecto is one of two options that offer a formula to protect cats against heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. (Revolution also protects cats from some parasitic worms.) There is no cure for heartworm in cats, notes the American Heartworm Society, so you need to protect your cat against it in the first place.
Bravecto Chew and Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs protect against fleas, black-legged ticks, American and brown dog ticks for up to 12 weeks and against older ticks for up to eight weeks. But they do not protect against heartworms. The chewable formula is convenient because you don’t have to get dirty slime on your pet’s fur. But if you use this formula, the insect would have to bite your pet to be exposed to the pesticide. In comparison, topicals deliver to your pet’s fur and oil glands, so if the bugs come in contact with the fur, it’s toast. (If your pet is very sensitive to insect bites, choose a topical ointment rather than a medicated ointment.)
Bravecto Topical Solution protects your cat from fleas and black-legged ticks for up to 12 weeks and from American dog ticks for up to eight weeks. Bravecto Plus protects your cat against fleas, black-legged ticks, heartworms, roundworms and hookworms for eight weeks.
Known side effects: adverse neurological reactions, ataxia (impairment of coordination), seizures and tremors; Other known side effects are Vomiting, hair loss, rash, lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dry skin and itching.
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Versions: Bravecto Chew 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; Bravecto Timely Solution for Dogs 4.4 to 9.9 lbs., 9.9 to 22 lbs., 22 to 44 lbs., 44 to 88 lbs., 88 to 123 lbs.; Bravecto Timely Solution for Cats 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 than any other product we recommend – fleas, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and many other types of ticks. But it requires more frequent monthly use and you will need a prescription. See below for versions suitable for lighter and heavier cats.
Unlike other products, this formula kills fleas and also treats ear mites, sarcoptic mange and heartworms in dogs. But it only treats American dog ticks. It also requires a veterinary prescription and must be applied every month. See below for light or heavy dog-friendly versions.
Who should use it: If you have a cat and don’t mind a monthly dose of medication, Revolution Plus for cats provides a broad spectrum of action that includes fleas, ear mites, roundworms and some ticks. If you have a dog and are not particularly concerned about ticks, Revolution for Dogs offers protection against heartworms and ear mites.
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What it treats: Revolution Plus protects cats from more pests than any of our other products. This is a good solution for cat owners living in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states because we recommend it against the Gulf Coast ticks that thrive in those areas. Our only treatment option is ear mites and according to VCA Hospitals they are the second most common pest after fleas. Like Bravecto, Revolution Plus also protects against common kitchen parasites, including roundworms and hookworms. 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 products we recommend, Revolution for Dogs protects against a narrower range of pests, but is the only solution that protects against heartworms. Revolution does not protect against the brown dog tick, which is found all over the world. (Bravecto, Frontline, and Seresto fight them.) Revolution kills fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, American dog ticks, and heartworms.
Versions: 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 that protects against a number of flea and tick species. But it requires monthly application and cannot fight parasites like heartworm. For doses suitable for dogs of other weights, see below.
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This monthly over-the-counter topical treatment protects cats from the same pests as dogs (and requires the same monthly schedule).
Who should use it: Frontline Plus for dogs and Frontline Plus for cats are over-the-counter products, so you can easily take your medication. If you have dogs and cats and want to protect them from pests at the same time and on the same schedule, consider this treatment.
What it treats: Frontline Plus is the only flea and tick product we recommend that treats the same pests for cats and dogs, without a prescription and using the same regimen. Because they are species-specific, the concentrations of the active ingredients in the two versions are slightly different, but you can put cats and dogs on the same regimen and treat the same pests. Both products control fleas, lice, Lone Star ticks, American dog ticks, deer and brown ticks. Therefore, there is no need to mix different brands of medication to ensure that every pet in your home will have the same level of protection. In comparison, Bravecto offers four formulas that protect against different combinations of insects, with less coverage in cat products; This can be confusing for pet owners of both cats and dogs who want to protect their pets from multiple parasites with a single dose. Frontline Plus takes the guesswork out so pet owners can focus on playtime, not flea baths.
Frontline Plus is also the only topical product we recommend that does not require a prescription. That way, you can quickly pick up a new box while running errands
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