Looking for the best tick prevention or repellent for your canine companion in 2020? Then you're in the right place!
In this Pest Strategies product review you can expect to learn:
- Our top picks for tick repellents for dogs (including our overall #1 choice)
- What a tick repellent for dogs actually is
- How to know if a tick repellent is worth it (or not)
- Whether tick repellents for dogs are actually effective
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 3/11/2019)
Out of the all of the tick repellents we reviewed for dogs, we like the VetriScience Laboratories wipes the most because the treatment can be applied easily and pets or their owners rarely suffer any adverse affects.
The repellent uses essential oils to repel ticks without pesticides or other chemicals, and comes in an easy-to-open package for quick access and fast protection.
If you'd prefer a spray option, we also really like TICK BAN Organic Repellent. It also avoids using chemicals and pesticides in order to not irritate dogs' skin or overwhelm them with strong smells.
Please remember that tick repellents are not always 100% effective, but are still a useful part of a complete pest control program to help your dog remain free of pesky pests.
If you're interested in learning more about tick repellents for dogs or want to read more about the other products we considered, see our full guide below!
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your tick problem?
Tick repellents are products designed to stop ticks from biting the animal on which they are used.
Special repellents are made for canines, as they are particularly susceptible to ticks and need to be careful about which products go on their skin.
Some tick prevention and repellents come as sprays while others are wipes. Each one comes with its pros and cons, so it's important to find one that works for each dog.
Top 5 Best Tick Repellents For Dogs
Short on time? Take a look below for the top 5 in our list. Otherwise, check out our buying guide.
What Is Tick Repellent for Dogs?
Humans love to bring their dogs traveling or hiking with them, and dogs also love to go outside regularly for exercise or to use the bathroom.
Ticks actually don't jump, fly, or drop onto your dog—they brush into its fur from exposure through tall grasses or plants while running outdoors. This is why it's especially important to protect your furry friend before a day outside; you never know what can be lurking around.
Tick repellent formulas perform the simple task of keeping ticks away from dogs before they can latch on, take a dog as a host, and potentially hurt the animal.
What Are The Ingredients?
We all want to know exactly what we're coating our dog's skin with before we slather it on.
Most tick repellents either use permethrin or the combination of plant oil extracts. Permethrin is a pesticide which works by attacking the nervous systems of ticks which try to bite a dog.
Some plant oil extracts tend to work as repellents as well, meaning the smell dissuades ticks from landing and biting in the first place.
Chemicals vs. Natural Ingredients
The key differences between these two ingredients are their effectiveness and relative risks. When selecting a tick repellent, dog owners should always pick a product that they are comfortable using on their pet.
Permethrin is reliable and kills tick quickly, whereas plant oils are somewhat less effective but also pose fewer risks. Pesticides such as permethrins can make dogs sick when ingested or if too much is sprayed on their fur and skin. They can also sicken humans who come in contact with the materials, and cats can suffer even worse reactions.
Meanwhile, the plant oils can cause skin irritation but are usually non-toxic and won't cause illness or death. However, natural repellents which use these ingredients don't need to be evaluated by the EPA, so the government cannot tell how safe or effective they are.
For a few more green solutions, take a look at some of the natural options recommended by Dr. Jennifer McDaniel from the Veterinary Cancer Center in Norwalk, CT.
(And be sure to check out our guide on beneficial nematodes to learn more about her final suggestion!)
What Are the Risks of Canine Tick Repellent?
The EPA identified several risks associated with tick repellents for dogs. Sprays and wipes which need to be applied to the skin can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in the dog. Some products can also cause lethargy and hair loss.
Products which use plant oils as active ingredients pose similar risks due to the fact that they can cause irritation or allergic reactions as well.
As a pet owner, you need to read the label on tick repellents carefully. Some products are only made for dogs of a certain size, while others should also be kept away from cats. NEVER use a repellent on a puppy younger than 8 weeks old.
What Makes a Dog Tick Repellent Effective (Really)?
People tend to have different standards for quality, but we can all agree on a few key factors.
Most pet owners want a product which is safe and effective, ensuring it can be used repeatedly and will stop ticks in their tracks. Here is what those standards mean.
How Safe Is It?
You don't want to use something that will hurt your dog, so it's important to find a repellent that you feel safe using. Remember to read ingredient labels and any warnings on the product in order to understand the risks involved.
How Effective Is It?
No repellent is good if it can't prevent ticks from biting your dog. Find one which is effective at keeping ticks at bay without requiring a ridiculous amount of product. If something stops ticks but takes an entire bottle per use, it can't really be considered a good repellent.
How Much Does the Repellent Cost?
We get it: you want to give your pup some quality relief from the bite of the ticks, but you don't want to break the bank.
Tick repellents don't have to cost you a fortune. While there certainly are some expensive options out there, most of the choices available are affordable and reasonably priced to fit the average pet-owner's budget.
For up-to-date product prices, please see the our buying guide below.
Do Tick Repellents Actually Work For Dogs?
The majority of tick repellents, especially the ones cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency, are effective.
In short, this means that they have been proven to be able to prevent ticks from biting dogs. Some of these repellents work via scent while others require physical contact, but the majority can prevent bites.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your tick problem?
Tick Repellents for Dogs Reviewed
In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.
VetriScience Laboratories is one of the only manufacturers to create easy-to-use towelettes. A pet owner can simply pull a towelette from the package and wipe down their dog's hair without touching the skin.
The towelettes use natural Brazilian oils which repel ticks by covering the animal's scent that attracts them. In this way, the natural pheromones given off by the dog which attract the tick are masked by the oils—essentially making the dog invisible to ticks.
These towelettes are affordable and come in a pack of 60. They are not reusable, but someone can ensure they have a 1-2 month supply with each package.
The wipes repel ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes at all stages in their life cycle, so they don't have a chance to bite and spread disease.
VetriScience Laboratories repellent is non-toxic and does not leave an unpleasant or oily residue. Pet owners can touch their dogs immediately after use without fear.
This product is one of the only ones which can be used on dogs of all sizes, cats, and horses so long as they are older than 8 weeks.
Some people are worried about the potential pesticides in a product, and TICK BAN avoids them by eliminating chemicals like DEET from its formula. Instead, this organic repellent uses ingredients like peppermint, lavender, soy bean, and lemongrass oils.
This repellent has a pleasant, almost floral aroma and keeps ticks away by totally covering the scent which attracts them to animals in the first place.
Like our top pick, it works by taking away the dog's natural pheromones which the ticks find so attractive. In contrast to our top pick, this repellent is a liquid spray instead of a wipe.
This repellent can be sprayed directly on a dog's hair or skin and isn't known to cause irritation. Unlike some other products, TICK BAN organic repellent also keeps away biting black flies and annoying gnats.
We recommend this product to pet owners who want to get as far away from potentially toxic ingredients as possible while still saving some money.
Honeydew Natural Pet Spray is a two-in-one product designed to protect cats and dogs from pests like ticks while also eliminating unpleasant smells from items like litter boxes. It uses a completely environmentally friendly composition and is non-toxic.
This spray can be applied directly to hair or skin. It can be used everywhere except the face because the oils can irritate the eyes and mouth. It uses lemongrass and citronella oils.
We love this product because it's a two-in-one solution to two pesky pet problems: ticks and odors. Oftentimes, the two seem to go hand in hand. Why buy two separate products (and spend money twice) when you can hit two birds with one stone?
We recommend this spray to pet owners interested in a green, non-toxic alternative to traditional tick repellents that contain pesticides, as well as those looking to kick odors to the curb.
Vet's Best Flea and Tick spray uses a unique, all-natural formula primarily based on clove and peppermint oils. The repellent works against ticks and fleas and can be used by humans and dogs alike.
Unlike some other products, Vet's Best can also be sprayed on items like dog beds and hiking equipment to provide an extra layer of protection. The spray is non-staining, and won't ruin gear or fabrics.
There are no pesticides or toxic ingredients present in the spray, and it won't break the bank. Its affordability along with its the 32 oz. bottle ensure that the value of the product is solid—meaning you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.
We recommend Vet's Best to pet owners who know they (and their dog) will be outside frequently and would like a product that can be used regularly and safely to fight against ticks.
Nantucket Spider is a professional manufacturer which develops natural repellents for canines and other animals. The spray does not use pesticides or harmful chemicals, favoring essential oils instead.
The repellent avoids using citrus oils because they irritate dogs and instead smells of cedar, rosemary, and peppermint. It can be reapplied as needed and has few negative side effects.
The Nantucket Spider spray claims to be effective against a broad range of pests such as fleas, ticks, black flies, and gnats.
We recommend this product to individuals who want something gentle for their dogs older than 12 weeks.
Our Top Pick: VetriScience Repellent
Most people have the same needs when it comes to their dogs, who they want to keep safe and protected from bites and diseases.
Vetriscience makes a solid product and earns the top spot in our list as our personal favorite.
- It's affordable
- The wipes don't use pesticides and are easy to manage
- It is effective against ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes
- The wipes use natural ingredients and are non-toxic
Other Tick Product Reviews
Curious about other tick related products? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.