Top 5 Best Tick Medicine for Dogs (**2018 Review**)

Looking for best the tick medicine for your canine companion in 2018? Then you're in the right place!

In this Pest Strategies product review you can expect to learn:

  • Our #1 overall best tick medicine
  • What tick medicine is and how it works
  • If medicines can repel ticks (or not?)
  • What to look for in the top medicines
  • The 5 medicines we reviewing for this guide
best dog tick medicine

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated as of 4/15/2018)

FRONTLINE Plus For Dogs

  • Slightly safer ingredients (fipronil, methoprene)
  • Trustworthy brandname
  • Last 30 days
  • Easy to apply

Out of the canine tick medicines we reviewed, we really liked the popular FRONTLINE Plus.

Why?

Because the active ingredients are fipronil and methoprene. These are absorbed  into the hair and oil glands of your dog, which is a safer method of distrobution as opoosed to being distributed throuhout their bloodstrea,

Methoprene is an ingredient that is effective at disrupting the tick lifecycle, which is critical to prevention.

The drops can be applied to a single spot on a dog's skin where the pet won't lick it, and the application area is safe to touch when the medicine dries.

If you want a more natural, non-toxic option, we also like Flea Away Natural Tick Repellent. The product is ingested and comes as flavorful chews that dogs and cats can enjoy.

Please remember that tick medications are not 100% effective and some ticks might still appear on your pet. Medication should be part of a general health plan for any canine, as should avoiding exposure to heavily-infested areas.

If you're interested in learning more about tick medicines or want to read more about the other products we considered, see below!

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your tick problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area. 

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Tick medicines are products designed to repel and kill ticks when they try to attach themselves to your dog.

These work in a variety of ways. Many target the tick's nervous system without hurting the dog, while others will absorb into the canine's skin so ticks die when they bite.

Dog Tick Medicines We Reviewed

Short on time?  Take a look below for the top 5 in our list. Otherwise, check out our buying guide

What Is Tick Medicine?

The term "tick medicine" can refer to different things.

One is a product designed to eliminate ticks once they have already found their way onto your pet (see our Capstar Review for an example).

The other is a medicine designed to prevent ticks in the first place.

For more information on our best strategies to remove fleas, check out this guide.

What Is in Tick Medicine?

We all love our dogs, so it's important to understand what's in the medicine we give them. The majority of medicines fall into five main categories:

  • Pesticides like pyrethrins and pyrethroids
  • Citrus extracts
  • Synthetic chemicals like fipronil and selamectin
  • Carbamates and organophosphates
  • Amitraz

These different groups range from being pesticides to to something similar to natural oils. The important thing to remember is that dogs should not ingest any tick medicine unless the instructions say otherwise.

Don't let your dog eat just anything, always consult a vet in coordination with medicines you might find online.

See below for more information on each of these chemicals.

Also as an example, see the below video on how the popular Frontline Plus medication works. This is a topical example, others can be orally ingested.

Chemical vs. "Natural" Tick Medicine?

Many people worry when they hear the word "chemicals," but the ones used in pet medications are stringently tested.

Medicines don't tend to have too many side effects, but owners should be careful that their dogs don't eat something they shouldn't.

Here's why.

  • Pyrethroids and pyrethrins are common pesticides which make a tick's nervous system malfunction. They go on the skin of an animal and should not be ingested.
  • Amitraz becomes absorbed by the canine skin and hurts ticks when they try to bite. Should NOT be used on cats, who can die from the contact. Always be sure to read the label!
  • Fipronil and selamectin go on the skin and are effective at killing ticks, but also shouldn't be eaten.
  • Carbamates and organophosphates are amazing to use because they are less toxic to mammals than other ingredients, but they are effective against insects. Still should not be eaten because poisoning is possible.

Chemical tick medications pose the risk of poisoning if misused, but have much higher rates of effectiveness than natural citrus extracts. However, these extracts have little to no toxicity, so you need to find a balance between efficiency and safety when it comes to your dogs.

Remember: Ticks themselves pose serious health risks, like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anemia, potential paralysis, and irritated or infected skin.

flea medicine facts

Can Tick Medicine for Dogs Repel Ticks?

This is a basic question many pet owners have. If my dog's medicine kills ticks, can it also repel them?

The basic answer is yes and no.

Repelling power is entirely medicine-dependent. Some mixtures will prevent ticks in the first place, while others require the pests to try to bite the dog first.

See our product reviews below for our break out this.

How Are Effective The Medicines?

Tick medicines are reasonably effective, though this is again dependent on the type of medicine. Chemicals like pyrethrins and amitraz are stronger than citric oils, but can come with some health risks.

Remember to only use something you are comfortable with on your canine companion. Always consult a veterinarian when it comes to feeding your dogs anything.

Do All Tick Medicines Work on All Dogs?

Medicines can't be 100% effective, but most products specifically designed to handle ticks work well.

It's important to remember that no medicine will work for all dogs. Many brands sell special products based on the dog's weight.

It's important to purchase one tailored to your dog's size because too little results in an ineffective medicine, and too much can POISON your pet.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your tick problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area. 

(Process takes about 30 seconds)

Tick Medicines Reviewed

In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.​

  • Easy application process
  • Waterproof
  • Works on ticks, fleas, and lice
  • Lasts for 30 days

FRONTLINE Plus is one of the most well-know tick medications for dogs. In comes in a variety of packages designed to suit dogs of different sizes, so there is always a type available for every canine companion.


From dalmatians to poodles, FRONTLINE remains a waterproof tick repellent that will eliminate ticks, fleas, lice, and their eggs. It can be applied once a month in a single location and allowed to dry. Once dry, it will be protect the dog for four weeks.


The product is relatively inexpensive and comes in a pack with six applications, so it can last for half a year. FRONTLINE Plus uses fipronil, which is an effective chemical treatment used any pest control products. Fipronil is absorbed into the sweat glands of your pet, which results in a safer medicine. Other products are absorbed into your pet's blood stream, which can be more dangerous to their health.


We recommend this product to dog owners who live in areas where ticks are common and require strong protection on a regular basis, although not our #1 pick, still a great reliable choice! Click for a full review of Frontline Plus.



Pros

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    The medicine starts working in under 12 hours and doesn't stop for 30 days
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    FRONTLINE is effective against ticks, fleas, and lice of all ages
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    It comes in different varieties for dogs of different weights
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    The product is waterproof

Cons

  • The medicine uses fipronil, which can make dogs sick when ingested
  • Some dogs have reactions to the pesticide in the product
  • Is a simple vitamin that pets ingest
  • Does not use pesticides or chemicals
  • Works on ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes

Despite being called "Flea Away," this product is effective against ticks and is a nice break from traditional drops and sprays. The medicine is eaten like a liver-flavored vitamin by dogs and is effective quickly.


Each bottle has many doses with clear portion instructions. The medicine is chewy and can be placed in food (this is great for pets who have a hard time swallowing medicines!).


This product meets FDA standards and repels ticks before they can latch onto your pet and bite. The formula in the chews is supposed to create a scent that is undetectable to humans, but repels ticks.


This medicine is great for pet owners who have dogs with sensitive skin, would like to avoid traditional pesticides, and want something that comes with many uses.


Pros

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    Inexpensive compared to other brands
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    Can be used for dogs of all sizes
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    Does not use pesticides
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    The product is effective on ticks, fleas, and lice
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    Treatment can be stopped easily if it causes irritation

Cons

  • The medicine is not as effective as one which uses pesticides
  • Can cause dogs to lose their hair
  • Kills ticks on contact so dogs won't be bitten
  • Waterproof
  • Lasts for a month
  • Effective on ticks, fleas, and lice

No one wants their precious pup to be bitten, so Bayer K9 Advantix II is a wonderful solution. It is applied topically on the skin and does not require a tick to bite to be effective. Instead, ticks are killed after a limited period of contact. The medicine has a effective formula, which eliminates pests before they cause damage.


Bayer specializes its medication to suit dogs of different weights, so there is almost always an option for each pet. Many users appreciate that one package has enough medicine to last for half a year. It's best to test Bayer on a small patch of skin before applying the whole tube to avoid irritation for your specific pet.


The major downsides to the medicine are the cost and its use of pesticides, with which some owners are uncomfortable with.


We recommend Bayer to pet owners who want a strong, reliable medicine for their dogs that works on ticks and other common pests. Click here for a full review of Advantix II for dogs.


Pros

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    The product is extremely strong and effective
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    The medicine is waterproof 
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    Bayer is effective against ticks, fleas, and lice at every stage of development
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    Each dose lasts for a month

Cons

  • Wet product should not be anywhere near cats because it can harm them
  • Some dogs react badly and experience lethargy, skin irritation, and hair loss
  • The product contains strong pesticides
  • Name brand and can be a little more expensive
  • Spray based, which makes it easy to apply
  • Uses only natural ingredients, not pesticides
  • Safe around pets and humans

Wondercide manufactures this easy-to-use tick spray to protect pets without the application of pesticides. All the user needs to do is spray on pets, bedding, and other areas that ticks might latch onto.


This product is safe for cats and dogs of all sizes and ages, so you don't need to buy a special formula for each pet. It should kill ticks, fleas, and lice and is most effective on adult pests.


Many people appreciate that Wondercide does not use toxic pesticides and has a refreshing lemongrass, rosemary, cedar, or peppermint smell.


We recommend this product to pet owners who worry about using chemicals on their dogs and don't live in areas where there are many ticks.


Pros

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    The medicine doesn't use pesticides
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    The product smells refreshing
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    One bottle has multiple applications
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    It claims to work on ticks, fleas, and lice

Cons

  • The spray is not as effective as medicine with traditional chemicals
  • Pets might dislike the smell
  • The aroma can be overwhelming
  • More effective on fleas rather than ticks

Our Top Pick: Frontline Plus For Dogs

People will have different needs when it comes to pets, but we all want them to be safe and healthy.

While all of these products work, our personal favorite is the Frontline Plus because:

  • Active ingredient is fipronil, which is a bit more safer than permethrin the active ingredient used in other similar products
  • The medicine is less likely to cause side effects
  • Contains methoprene, which is an insect growth regulator that disrupts the flea egg life cycle

Other Tick Product Reviews

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