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A dog or cat can scratch the pet owner’s spine by excessive scratching. The last thing you want is a flea or tick infestation in your home, not to mention the possibility of pathogens affecting your family. To protect both pets and people from these fears, we’ve rounded up the most effective vet-recommended flea and tick treatments.
Best Flea Treatment For Cats And Home
All of the products we recommend treat fleas, but fleas may not be the only ones you deal with. Depending on where you are in the country, there are different region-specific ticks to protect against, as well as internal parasites such as heartworms or roundworms. And some treatments can be applied in different ways or with different regularities. Therefore, consult your own veterinarian – they are the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment based on your pet’s medical history and the pests in your area.
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Bravecto lasts for three months, so you can apply it less frequently than any other topical treatment we recommend (also available as a chew for dogs with sensitive skin). But it needs a prescription. For doses to treat small or large dogs, see below.
Bravecto also lasts three months for cats and is one of the only brands we’ve found that has a version that prevents heartworms. But Bravecto requires a prescription. See below for links to appropriate sizes for cats outside of weight specifications.
Who should use it: Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs and Bravecto Topical Solution for Cats are great if you like the idea of going three months, and your main concerns are fleas, dog ticks American ticks, black-legged ticks and brown dog ticks. . (in dogs) or fleas and black-legged ticks (in cats). If you have a dog who is happy to swallow a chew instead of a treat in the neck, Bravecto also comes orally. Bravecto prevents these pests in 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 vets agree that Bravecto is one of their favorite flea treatments for cats and dogs. It is also the only brand 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 eastern, southeastern, and south-central states, you’re better off opting for a monthly treatment like Fronton Plus. Bravecto only protects against star ticks for up to eight weeks (as opposed to 12 weeks of protection for other tick species). This means your pet may go without star tick protection for up to a month between Bravecto treatments, or you may need to apply more frequently (PDF).
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Bravecto is also one of two options that offer a formula to protect cats from heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. (Revolution also protects cats from some parasitic worms.) There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats, according to the American Heartworm Association, so you should try to avoid your cat has it first.
Bravecto Chew and Bravecto Topical Solution for Dogs protects against fleas, black-legged ticks, American dog ticks and brown dog ticks for 12 weeks and lone star ticks for eight weeks. But they are not immune to heartworms. The chewable formula is convenient because you don’t need to apply the gum to your pet’s hair. But if you use this formulation, the insects have to bite your pet to come into contact with the insecticide. Relatively speaking, surface agents are distributed throughout your pet’s skin and sebaceous glands, so when a pest makes contact with skin, it’s toast. (If your pet is not particularly sensitive to insect bites and medicated ointments, opt for topicals.)
Bravecto topical solution protects cats against fleas and black-legged ticks for 12 weeks, and against American dog ticks for eight weeks. Bravecto Plus protects cats against fleas, black-legged ticks, heartworms, roundworms and hookworms for eight weeks.
Known side effects: ataxia (lack of coordination), including seizures and tremors, neurological adverse reactions; Other known side effects: Vomiting, hair loss, rash, drowsiness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dry skin, and itching.
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Variants: 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 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 lbs, 6.2 to 13.8 lbs, 13.8 to 27.5 lbs
Revolution Plus for cats fights more pests than any other treatment we recommend: fleas, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and many ticks. But it often requires repeated monthly applications and you need a prescription. See below for versions suitable for light or heavy cats.
Unlike other treatments, this formula kills fleas and also fights ringworm, sarcoptic mange and heartworms in dogs. But he only sees American dog ticks. It also requires a prescription from a veterinarian and must be administered monthly. See below for versions suitable for light or heavy dogs.
Who should use it: If you have a cat and don’t mind applying the medicine every month, Revolution Plus for Cats offers broad 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 offers protection against heartworms and ear mites.
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The catch: Revolution Plus protects cats from pests better than any of our other options. It’s a great solution for cat owners living in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states because it’s the only seasonal treatment we recommend against Gulf ticks that thrive in these areas. According to VCA Hospitals, it is our only option that treats ear mites, the second most common pest after fleas. Like Bravecto, Revolution Plus also protects against common parasites in cats, including ticks and hookworms. Also works against fleas, black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. (The non-Plus version of Cats Revolution 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 any of the other flea treatments we recommend, but is the only one that protects against heartworms. Revolution does not protect against brown dog ticks found worldwide. (Bravecto, Frontline, and Seresto struggle.) Revolution kills fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, American dog ticks, and heartworms.
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 that prevents fleas and various tick species. But it requires monthly applications and doesn’t fight parasites like heartworms. For appropriate dosages for dogs of other weights, see below.
What’s The Best Flea Treatment For Cats?
This monthly over-the-counter 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 over-the-counter treatments, so they’re easy to take. If you have both dogs and cats and want to protect them from the same pests, consider this treatment, with the same schedule.
What it treats: Frontline Plus is the only flea and tick treatment that treats the same pests for cats or dogs, at the same time, without a prescription. Being breed specific, the two versions have slightly different amounts of active ingredients, but can keep both cats and dogs on the same application schedule and treat the same pests. Both treatments fight fleas, lice, lone star ticks, American dog ticks, deer ticks and brown dog ticks. So there’s no need to mix and match different medications to ensure that every pet in your household has the same level of protection. Relatively speaking, Bravecto offers four formulas to prevent a combination of pests, with less coverage in its cat products; This can be confusing for pet owners of both cats and dogs who want to protect their pets from multiple parasites in a single dose. Frontline Plus takes the guesswork out of pet owners so they can focus on playtime, not flea bath time.
Frontline Plus is also the only over-the-counter topical product we recommend. So you can quickly pick up a new box while you’re at work.
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