How to Compare Flea & Tick Medicine for Dogs

Water-resistant isn't the same as waterproof.

Water-resistant isn't the same as waterproof.

No doubt it's frustrating to find fleas or ticks on your dog not long after you've applied an expensive preventative treatment. The fact is, not all flea and tick medicines offer the same protection. Understanding the different features of each medicine allows you to choose the best one for Ruff.

Compare the functions of each medicine using a flea and tick control comparison chart, available through any online search engine. You can also compare the backside of each brand's box, but this takes more time than using a comparison chart. If your dog does not currently have fleas, a medicine that simply repels ticks, mosquitoes and fleas could be sufficient. However, if you frequently find fleas or ticks on your dog, consider a product with additional protection -- for example, one that kills adult fleas, their eggs and the larvae.

Consider your dog's age. Fleas and ticks can infest a 2-week-old puppy more easily than an adult dog. Without protection, your furry friend becomes a buffet for infestation, which can lead to anemia and other infections. Unfortunately, many flea and tick medicines are unsafe for dogs younger than 6 months of age. Check to find a preventative treatment that is safe and age appropriate.

Consider your dog's lifestyle. Does he frequently go swimming in the river? Does he live with other dogs and cats? How you answer these questions well help determine the best choice of flea and tick preventative medicine for your pet. Some medicines are waterproof; others are merely water-resistant. If your dog goes swimming three times a week, you'll want to invest in a waterproof protective medicine. Some medicines are unsafe for cats and young puppies. These living-environment considerations determine the most effective medicine for your dog, and the safest one for other furry members of your family.


  • Rule out medicines that don't meet your dog's individual needs. For example, don't bother using a waterproof medicine if the only water your dog has contact with is inside a bathtub.
  • Choose medicines with several layers of efficacy. For example, a medicine that kills and repels fleas offers more protection than one that simply repels fleas.


  • Always check with your veterinarian before using any type of flea or tick prevention. Specific ingredients can irritate your dog's skin or exacerbate a serious condition, like liver failure.

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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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