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How We Decided On A Tick Control Product For Our Dogs

How We Decided Which Tick Control To Use On Our Dogs


As I mentioned in Monday’s post I found a tick attached to Leroy’s head last Friday.

On Saturday I found a tick attached to Sherman’s head.

Tick season is here.

I knew it was coming but I was dragging my feet on starting any type of control because I wasn’t exactly sure what route I wanted to go. Last year was the first year that we had an issue with ticks and I wasn’t using anything until I started seeing them so this year I knew I had to plan.

I’ve been thinking about tick control for months but I guess I just needed to actually see one before I decided what course of action to take.

There’s a lot of tick control options out there for dogs.

So much so that it can get overwhelming.

Where do you start?

How do you know which one to use?

Which one works best?

Which one is the safest? Topical? Oral? Collar? Sprays? Oh my!

Here’s how I weeded through all the tick control products out there: 

I picked my top 4 favorite products. That included Frontline Plus, Wondercide, Bravecto and Seresto.

It actually worked out that I picked one from each category..

Frontline Plus is the topical treatment that I used for many years.

I’ve never had an issue with it. I didn’t use it last year until I saw ticks on the dogs and then after I applied it, I didn’t see them again.

I got Frontline Plus for free when I worked at the vet clinic. I stockpiled so much that I had enough for 2 years after I left there. For me the pros to this were that it worked, it was free, it was a topical that lasted for 30 days.

Cons: I had to use 2 different doses for the dogs because of their weight. It’s a topical that stays in their system for 30 days.

Wondercide is a spray that I used last year but unfortunately didn’t see results with. I love the product but it just didn’t work well for us. I will use it to treat our yard this year though.

Pros: all natural tick, flea and mosquito repellent, safe for pets, kids and adults.

Cons: You have to spray the dog’s coat and rub it into the skin.

In order to do that with Newfs I have to use almost 1/2 bottle between the 2.

The cedar smell is overpowering when you have to use that much and it left their coat feeling oily but it does some in a lemon scent.

Bravecto-Oral chew that controls fleas and ticks.

Pros: One chew lasts 12 weeks.

That’s 3 months of protection that you only give once.

Cons: I would have to give 2 chews to each of the boys due to their size. It’s listed as a very safe product with clinical trials done, but it stays in their system for 12 weeks so if they had a reaction to it what would happen?

Leroy has IBD and he could have a reaction to it but there would be nothing that I could until it was out of his system. That scares me

Seresto Collar.-Collar that repels fleas, ticks, and lice.

Lasts up to 8 months.

Pros: It lasts up to 8 months! Slow release method. Imidacloprid and flumethirin are released in low concentrations.  If one of the dogs don’t respond well, I can just take the collar off.  The ingredients in Seresto flea and tick control collar are distributed externally throughout the skin, where they are able to kill fleas and kill and repel ticks through contact – which means the parasites don’t have to bite your dog to be affected.

Cons: It’s a collar. I don’t normally keep collars on the boys unless we are out and about.  It can wet but if a dog gets a bath more than once a month or is a frequent swimmer it will shorten the duration of the collar.

After heavy consideration off all the products mentioned above, I decided to go with the Seresto collar for both dogs and Wondercide to treat our yard and for added protection to use when we go for hikes in the woods.

Updated 04/19

I’ve been using the Seresto Collar for the past 3 years and have great success with it. Last year I didn’t find a single tick on either of the boys and I just bought them today at our local Pet Valu store and they were 25% off. 

Here’s what I took into consideration before making my decision on a tick control product:

The age and health of my dogs. Leroy suffers from serious GI issues so I need to be careful with what I give him orally.

It’s not likely that he would suffer any ill effects from taking an oral tick medication but I’m really not that into taking chances with him.

Most of the known side effects of oral and topical tick medications are vomiting, which is something we try to avoid with him.  If he would have a reaction it could be a disaster.

Sherman has mildly elevated liver enzymes, so again, an oral medication that his organs continually have to process over 3 months mildly concerns me.

Cost.  Seresto is very affordable for us. $60 for a large collar that lasts up to 8 months is very cost effective.

For Frontline and Bravecto I would have to give 2 doses to each of the dogs because of their size. For 3 months of protection, it would be about $143(multiply that by 2 because I have to treat for at least 6 months) for Frontline Plus and $160 for 3 months of Bravecto. (That’s just a quick glance online)

Duration.  Seresto works for 8 months as long as I follow the directions. I have to buy it one time and put it on once. There’s no missing a dose on accident.

What I didn’t use to base my decision on:

I did not read many customer reviews of the products on purpose.

I’m a firm believer that what works for one dog may not work for another.

Tick medications are like human medications, some can have reactions and some can’t.

I’m allergic to penicillin and break out in horrible hives. My husband is taking penicillin right now. It works for him. It doesn’t work for me and that makes me a little jealous because penicillin is a good antibiotic used for many things.  

I mention this because I see so many looking for good tick control and then someone says “My neighbor’s dog almost died from using that product.”

This may all be well and true…….or it may be a total exaggeration of the truth.  

When you read about side effects or hear what may have happened to your neighbor’s sister’s cousin’s dog, your only getting pieces of the story. Was the dog healthy prior to the medication being given? was the medication given properly? Where was the medication purchased at? 

So choosing a tick control product for us came down to the current health of our dogs, cost, and duration.

How do you pick your tick control products?


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2 Brown Dawgs

Tuesday 24th of May 2016

We still use Frontline Plus for all three dogs. It has not let us down. We use it April through hunting season (Oct-Nov) depending on weather. Good thing you made a choice. I heard it will be a bad tick season this year.


Thursday 19th of May 2016

I use a natural spray, soak them hard at the nape of the neck and top of their heads (because that's where those little suckers love to attach.)

For years I used Frontline but then I found a tick on my dog and when I called the number they told me that the tick still has to bite the dog, the only difference is the tick will then die. Sampson used to cringe when we had to apply it and I hate the idea of something so toxic in my dog's system that it will kill ticks and fleas.

My vet told me that ticks are not active below and above certain temps, so I spray the dogs good in the spring and fall. This yearI found a couple of ticks in March and just Monday night we pulled one tick off each dog, other than that, the spraying seems to work very well.

I'm glad you found something that works and that you are comfortable with.

Monika & Sam

Thursday 19th of May 2016

Since Sam doesn't get up to the mountains or woods much (I know, how stupid is it to live so close and not take advantage) so fleas/ticks are rarely an issue. That said, because of our hospital therapy work and being around other dogs in the hood, I use an essential oil blend on him so none of those nasty little bastards hitches a ride on his fluffy coat. Sounds like you did some responsible sleuthing for your boys-kudos. ღ


Thursday 19th of May 2016

Thanks for sharing Monika! Now I do have to ask, can therapy dog use a topical? Do they have to be treated?

Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom

Thursday 19th of May 2016

Shadow and Ducky are both on Bravecto. Our vet - who we trust impicitly - recommended it last year. No reaction from either one.


Thursday 19th of May 2016

That's great to hear! I'm glad the Bravecto is working for them!


Thursday 19th of May 2016

We don't like the added collar, so that option is out for us, and many of the natural things are just not good enough or are too much work to always be applying every time we go out. We too do what works for us and don't go by the reviews of others. What works or doesn't work for one, may be totally the opposite for another.


Thursday 19th of May 2016

Yep! That's exactly how we feel!

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