Pets, especially dogs, can easily pick up dozens of ticks as they wander in overgrown areas. Lone star ticks and American dog ticks are most common and can be active from spring into early fall. In addition to irritation and potential health threat to pets, these companion animals bring ticks into yards and living spaces. Consequently, protecting pets from ticks also provides benefits for owners.
A prevention product is a good investment for pets with frequent exposure to ticks. Some examples are listed below by application method. Many also control fleas and some are effective against mites and internal parasites. All are listed by brand name along with the common names of the active ingredients and length of protection according to the label. An insect growth regulator (IGR) is often included for enhanced flea control. In some cases, the same formulation may be used on both dogs and cats, but several have specific dog or cat products. Pyrethroid insecticides, such as permethrin, are toxic to cats and are present in “dog only” products. Products containing permethrin must not be used in households with cats and dogs to prevent the chance of harm to cats.
Collars (Dogs only)
Active ingredients in insecticidal collars are spread over the coat in skin oils. It may take several days for the product to move enough to provide complete body coverage.
Length of Protection
|Preventic Tick Collar||amitraz||up to 3 months|
|Scalibor Protector Band||deltamethrin||6 months (Available through veterinarians only)|
|Sentry Pro Flea & Tick Collar||propoxur, phenonthrin + pyripoxyfen (IGR)||6 months|
Spot on (Dogs only)
The active ingredients in “spot on” applications are usually applied between the shoulders; they spread over the coat in skin oils. It may take several days for the product to move enough to provide complete body coverage.
Length of Protection
|Adams Flea & Tick Spot on||etofenprox + synergist + methoprene (IGR)||1 month|
|Bio Spot Defense Flea & Tick||etofenprox + synergist + methoprene (IGR)||1 month|
|Certifect||fipronil, methoprene, amitraz||1 month|
|Frontline Plus, PetArmor, Fiproguard||fipronil||1 month (Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, but products vary – see label)|
|K9 Advantix||imidacloprid + permethrin||1 month (Available through veterinarians only)|
|K9 Advantix II||imidacloprid + permethrin + pyrioxyfen (IGR)||1 month|
|Sentry Pro Squeeze-On Flea & Tick||permethrin + pyripoxyfen (IGR)||9 weeks|
Shampoo / Wash (Dogs only)
|Product Name||Active Ingredients||Length of Protection|
|Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo||pyrethrins + synergist + pyriproxyfen (IGR)||7 to 14 days|
|Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo||permethrin + synergist||10 days|
The method for removing a tick from a pet is the same as removing one from a person:
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible.
2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist