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An excessively itchy dog or cat can send shivers down the pet owner’s spine. The last thing you want is an outbreak of fleas or ticks in your home, not to mention the possibility of disease-carrying parasites harming your family. To protect both animals and humans from these scares, we have collected the most effective flea and tick treatments recommended by veterinarians.
Best Flea And Tick Treatment For Cats
All of the products we recommend will treat fleas, but fleas may not be the only pest you have to deal with. Depending on where you are in the country, there are different and specific ticks to avoid, as well as internal parasites such as heartworms or tapeworms. And some treatments can be applied in different ways or with different regularity. So consult your vet; they are the best source to advise on the appropriate treatment based on your pet’s medical history and the prevalence of pests in your area.
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Bravecto lasts for three months, so you can apply it more often than any other topical treatment we recommend (and it also comes in a chewable form for dogs with sensitive skin). But it requires a prescription. For dosages for treating smaller or larger dogs, see below.
Bravecto for cats also lasts three months, and is one of the only brands to offer a version that protects against heartworms. But Bravecto requires a prescription. See below for links to appropriate dosages for cats outside of weight specifications.
Who should use it: Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs and Bravecto Topical Solution for Cats are ideal if you like the concept of going three months between treatments and your main concerns are fleas, American dog ticks, black legs and brown dogs. (in dogs) or fleas and ticks (in cats). If you have a dog that is happier to swallow a chew instead of applying a treatment to the neck, Bravecto also comes in an oral form. Bravecto protects against these pests for a 12-week cycle, and also fights lone star ticks (in dogs) and American dog ticks (in cats), but only for eight weeks at a time. This leaves you with a four week window where your dog or cat can be exposed.
What it treats: Our vet experts agreed that Bravecto is one of our favorite flea and tick treatments for cats and dogs. It’s also the only brand we recommend that sells a single dose that lasts three months between applications. But if you live in an area where lone star ticks are common, including the East, Southeast, and South Central states, you’re better off opting for a monthly treatment like Frontline Plus. Bravecto protects against lone star ticks for only eight weeks (compared to 12 weeks of protection against other tick species). This means your pet may be unprotected against single ticks for an entire month or more between Bravecto treatments (PDF).
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Bravecto is also one of two options that offer a formula to protect cats against heartworms, tapeworms and hookworms. (Revolution also protects cats from some parasitic worms.) There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats, notes the American Heartworm Society, so you need to protect your cat first.
Bravecto Chew and Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs protect against fleas, black legs, American dogs and brown dogs for 12 weeks and lone star for eight weeks. But they do not protect against heartworms. The chewable formula is convenient because you don’t have to apply messy glue to your pet’s fur. But if you use this formulation, an insect must bite your pet to come in contact with the pesticide. Conversely, topicals are distributed throughout your pet’s skin and oil glands, so when a flea comes into contact with the skin, it becomes toasty. (If your pet is particularly sensitive to insect bites, choose a topical rather than a medicated ointment).
Bravecto Topical Solution for Cats defends against fleas and black-legged ticks for 12 weeks, and against American ticks in dogs for eight weeks. Bravecto Plus for cats protects against fleas, black-legged ticks, heartworms, roundworms and hookworms for up to eight weeks.
Known side effects: neurological adverse reactions, including ataxia (lack of coordination), seizures and tremors; Other known side effects include vomiting, hair loss, rash, lethargy, diarrhea, decreased appetite, dry skin, and itching.
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Variations: Bravecto Chew 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 Topical 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 Topical 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 kg, 6.2-13.8 kg, 13.8-27.5 kg
Revolution Plus for Cats fights more pests (fleas, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and various tick species) than any other treatment we recommend. But it requires more frequent monthly applications and you will need a prescription. For versions suitable for light or heavy cats, see below.
Unlike most other treatments, this formula kills fleas and also fights dog ear mites, sarcoptic mange and worms. But it only treats ticks on American dogs. It also requires a veterinary prescription and must be applied monthly. For versions suitable for light or heavy dogs, see below.
Who should use it: If you have a cat and don’t mind applying medication every month, Revolution Plus for Cats offers broad-spectrum coverage that includes fleas, ear mites, worms and some ticks. If you have a dog and are not particularly concerned about ticks, Revolution for Dogs will provide protection against heartworms and ear mites.
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What it’s about: Revolution Plus protects cats from more pests than our other options. It’s an especially good solution for cat owners living in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states because it’s the only topical treatment we recommend against Gulf Coast ticks that thrive in those areas. It is our only option that treats ear mites, which according to VCA Hospitals are the second most common pest after fleas. Like Bravecto, Revolution Plus protects against common kitten 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 Plus version of Revolution for Cats does not protect against ticks, so we do not recommend it in this guide.)
Revolution for Dogs protects against a narrower range of pests than the other flea treatments we recommend, but is the only one that protects against heartworms. Revolution does not protect against brown dog ticks found all over the world. (Bravecto, Frontline and Seresto fight against these). Revolution kills fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, American dog ticks and tapeworms.
Variations: Revolution for Dogs 5.1-10 lbs, 10.1-20 lbs, 20.1-40 lbs, 40.1-85 lbs, 86-130 lbs; Revolution Plus for Cats 2.8-5.5 lbs, 5.6-11 lbs, 11.1-22 lbs
Frontline Plus is our favorite over-the-counter topical treatment and protects against fleas and various tick species. But it requires monthly applications and won’t fight parasites like heartworms. For the correct dosage for dogs of other weights, see below.
Catego Fast Acting Flea Tick Treatment For Cats , 6 Doses
This monthly prescription topical treatment for cats protects against 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 treatments that you can buy without a vet’s prescription, so you can easily take the medicine. Consider this treatment if you have dogs and cats and want to protect them from the same set of pests at the same time.
What it treats: Frontline Plus is the only over-the-counter flea and tick treatment that treats the same pests for cats or dogs at the same time. Because they are species-based, the two versions contain slightly different amounts of active ingredients, but you can keep both 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 home have the same level of protection. Conversely, Bravecto offers four formulas that protect against different combinations of pests with less coverage in its cat products; this can be confusing for both cat and dog pet owners 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 instead of flea baths.
Frontline Plus is the only topical product that does not require a prescription. So you can quickly pick up a new box while you’re running your errands
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