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Flea and Tick Prevention For Dogs
The 21st century is a good century to be a dog in. As recently as one decade ago, flea and tick prevention bordered on archaic. Horrible flea collars that made Fido’s hair fall out, horrible sprays that made both you and him cough and sneeze, God-awful shampoos that sent him running under your bed, leaving a nice, sudsy trail of nasty smelling bubbles all over your home. Welcome to the future – those days are long since gone. Today you have options that offer Fido flea, tick and internal parasite control. That is a serious improvement for man’s best friend. However, it’s very important you educate yourself before picking one of the many products out there.
None of them do exactly the same thing. Some offer lots of protection, some don’t. If the product you choose doesn’t cover something like Heartworm prevention, realize you are going to have to buy something separately and add that to Fido’s regimen.. I’m not going to include all the products available, just the major ones I’ve researched and/or used for my own dog. The important thing to remember here, is Big Pharma is just like Big Tobacco. They’re always going to paint the prettiest picture they can about their product, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you buy. I’m listing both the US and EU product names.
This is the one I use on my own dog. I strongly recommend it. It’s a monthly spot treatment that’s placed between the shoulder blades. It protects against a number of things, but it's important to note that there are differences between Europe and America as far as the indications are concerned. It is the SAME product in both places, though! I called Pfizer UK to ask why, and they told me it has to do with differences in licensing practices.
In the US the indications are: Fleas, American Dog Ticks, Ear Mites, Sarcoptic Mange and Heartworm.
In the UK and Europe: Fleas, Ear Mites, Sarcoptic Mange, Hearworm and Roundworm (toxocara canis). If you would like to verify that for yourself you can view the NOHA website and read the government approved uses for Selamectin. Obviously, the reason American Dog Tick isn't listed, is because the species is American. This doesn't mean it won't be effective against EU ticks, it could just mean that the product hadn't been tested against them before Stonghold was put on the market.
Cost: 3 month supply $35
Frontline Top Spot/Spot On (Merial)
Another monthly spot treatment. Most of you have probably heard of Frontline, it was definitely one of the pioneers and I used it with great success on my cat when it first came out. I personally do not trust Frontline for flea and tick prevention anymore, because I’ve seen too many studies suggesting fleas and ticks are now becoming immune to it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It just means that if you notice the efficacy to be lacking, you should switch to something else.
Protection is ONLY against Fleas, Ticks and biting lice. That’s it. I did see one site claim the PLUS version protects against Lyme disease, but until I see further evidence on that, the jury is still out. Personally, I suspect that’s just a clever marketing strategy – the site mentions it kills all ticks, including those which transmit Lyme disease. But I have yet to see them explain what part of the chemical composition actually prevents the transmission of Lyme disease if a tick does latch on.
Remember, there’s no guarantee a tick won’t bite your dog, just because it’s been given a monthly spot treatment. So until I see Merial explain this claim, I’m going to assume they’re being a typically smarmy company and misleading dog owners. Which puts them straight at the bottom of my list. I could be wrong, of course – but regardless, I don’t consider Frontline to even be in the running. Not when there are products like Stronghold offer so much more protection for the same price.
Cost: 3 month supply approx $35
K-9 Advantix (Bayer)
I am not a fan of this one. Advantix is marketed as repelling/killing mosquitoes before they can reach your dog (the implication here is that Advantix protects your dog from Heartworm by killing mosquitoes before they can bite and infect your dog). Funnily enough the next sentence on their website mentions a 95% success (5% failure) rate in preventing them from feeding. That means it doesn't kill/repel ALL of them, now doesn't it? Sorry, Bayer, that’s an unnecessary risk on a product which already offers me FAR less than Stronghold/Revolution does. Protection covers Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes. Cost of 3 months supply of Advantix: $45
Advantage Multi/Advocate (Bayer)
This is Bayer’s response to Pfizer’s Revolution/Stronghold product. It’s a monthly spot on treatment that protects against Fleas, Ear mites, Sarcoptic Mange, Heartworm, Roundworm, and Hookworm.That’s everything Revolution/Stronghold does, plus Hookworm. Sounds great until you realize it has one very big minus: NO TICK PROTECTION. Hello? What kind of company makes a product like that and leaves out tick protection? Wait, I have a better question for you – why would you even bother with something like this, when you could just buy Revolution/Stronghold? I won’t, that’s for sure. Cost of a 3 month supply of Advantage Multi/Advocate: Approx $35
You only have to drop into your local pet shop to know there are other products out there. I don’t consider them to be worth mentioning, so I haven’t. I had a hard time listing Frontline, as it was. I only did so because I know so many people use it, and I wanted to show them it’s time to move on the next step in prevention. Also, remember that NONE of these products cover all the parasites, etc your dog might encounter. But things like Revolution/Stronghold offer more protection than others – and the benefit is you don’t have to figure out how to get a pill down, or give 5 meds to cover what’s listed here. I vote for Pfizer’s Revolution/Stronghold – but make your own decision. Research what’s out there and make the best decision as it relates to you and your dog. Fido will thank you for it!