How to Prevent Flea and Tick Infestations on Your Dog TIPS [ Guest Post ] By Caroline Golon

How to Prevent Flea and Tick Infestations on Your Dog TIPS [ Guest Post ] By Caroline Golon

Read the first part of this on-going article series about flea and tick prevention here. 

Flea and tick collars are designed to kill and/or repel fleas and ticks from your pet. Collars need to be in contact with your dog’s skin so the medication transfers to their skin and fur. Collars are a low-maintenance way to prevent fleas and ticks, but they’ve also been known to irritate some pets’ skin.

Shampoos and Dips
Flea shampoos contain concentrated, medicated ingredients that kill or repel fleas and ticks on contact. While this solution is relatively inexpensive and is designed to kill fleas and ticks quickly, it’s labor intensive and requires treatment more often than other types of flea and tick protection.

Dips, which are even more concentrated than shampoos, are poured or sponged over a pet and not rinsed off. For optimal results, both shampoos and dips should be combined with a longer-term protection plan. Because it is not rinsed off, be sure to keep family members and other pets away until the dip is fully dried.

Flea and tick sprays work in a similar way to spot treatments by killing and/or repeling adult fleas and ticks and releasing growth inhibitors to prevent future generations from developing. Sprays are convenient, but it’s important to use them in a well-ventilated area away from children and other pets in order to avoid inhalation and physical contact.

Oral Prescription Treatments
Many oral prescriptions contain insecticides that kill adult fleas, as well as a hormone growth regulator, which targets a flea’s eggs and larvae.

While insecticides kill the adult fleas, hormone growth regulators kill fleas over long periods of time by disrupting the flea’s development and interfering with flea larvae growth.

Some oral prescriptions, however, contain only one or the other so it’s important to research products and determine whether or not they need to be combined with other treatments for full flea and tick prevention.

The benefits to oral flea treatments are that they are easy to administer and don’t expose other human and pet family members to the chemicals. However, rather than repel fleas, fleas die after biting the host and ingesting the pesticide. So even if the fleas and their offspring are killed, your pet is not protected from the initial bites and discomfort.

Natural Solutions
There are also natural products made with safe, non-toxic ingredients that kill and repel fleas and ticks, too. These products, which come in a variety of applications including topical, sprays, shampoos and powders, can protect your pet, home and yard. One downside of natural treatments is that some may require more frequent application.


Caroline Golon is a frequent contributor to sites like Vetsteet, Catster, Dogster, Mother Nature Network, ASPCA Parents,, Petfinder and more. She’s also the creator of Crayons & Collars, a site dedicated to busy families with pets and kids. You can find Golon many places online but she resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two young daughters. The Golons are dedicated staff members to a fluffy black cat named Pugsley who, obviously, runs the household.

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