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Monday, 27 June 2011

Which treatments tick your boxes?


Can you help please ?

I want to protect my Collie-Spaniel cross rescue dog, who is approx six-years-old, from both fleas and ticks in a safe way. At the moment I use Advocate obtained from my vet which is costing about £35 for three months treatment and, having spotted a couple of ticks following a country walk, I was surprised to learn that this product does not kill ticks, only fleas and certain other things.

Having looked at other products on the market I see that Frontline have a spot on treatment which is claimed to kill both fleas and ticks, it would also seem to be cheaper to buy.

At the same time I have seen products in my local pet store from both "Bob Martin" and "Johnson" manufacturers, both claiming to deal with fleas and ticks yet costing about a third of what I am paying for Advocate.

Being aware that often you only get what you pay for, I am looking for some unbiased advice regarding the suitability of using an alternative product.

In fairness my dog has not suffered from fleas or had any reaction to the use of Advocate and I have removed any ticks using one of the implements sold by pet stores, but I am wondering if it would be better to have her protected with a spot on treatment for both fleas and ticks.

If so, does the fact that some other products are cheaper, mean that there is more risk of an allergic reaction, or that they are not as good. Also, if I do think about changing product, would you think it safe, once the effective time lapse from the previous spot on treatment is over, to start with the new one, or should I wait much longer.

Any comments would be very welcome and I realise that you may not be able to endorse any particular product.

Thank you.

Peter Purnell, by email


  1. We use the Frontline product in the summer and have had very little trouble with ticks over the past few years.
    However, it does make our terrier a little 'off' for a few days afterwards (he's irritable and has diarrhoea), but then so does his wormer so it might just be that he has a delicate tummy. If we do spot a tick we just remove it with a tick remover and put some antiseptic cream on the area - they seem to bother us more than they do him, but I am aware of the possibility of diseases. Hence why we use the Frontline.
    I would recommend you switch to a product which kills ticks as soon as possible, as they are supposed to be especially prominent this year.

  2. I use a Scalibor collar for ticks which lasts for 5-6 months but you still need to use something for fleas. We often go to France and have to particularly careful about tick disease so the hounds wear a Scalibor collar and are treated with Frontline monthly too which covers any possible flea problem too. When we just used Frontline we would find ticks on the dogs, but never found one since using the Scalibor collar. I'm not keen using so many chemicals but since Babesia canis which causes piroplasmosis is rife and can be fatal its a risk I take.

    With reference to over the counter products they tend not to be as effective although Frontline is now available without a prescription but for many years was not.

    If you have cats and your dogs get up close and personal with them then do not use the collar, it can be harmful to cats.

    Can I just recommend that if your dog does get a tick you use a tick hook to remove them, easy to use, supplied by most vets and just a few pounds - having just discovered them I think they are great and do what they say on the packet!

  3. Sadly flea & tick treatments available, rely on dogs having fleas and ticks on them, then either kill by contact, or by ingestion, when the flea or tick bites.
    The poor animal still suffers the nasty affects of being bitten, nine times out of ten, it’s the bite that causes the discomfort!
    The best way is to stop the flea or tick be attracted on your dog or cat in the first place, this way they won't have to suffer bites or tickling of the fleas moving through their hair!
    Neem oil or apple cider vinegar in water spritzed through the coat before you go walking seems to work well, from the feedback I've had personally and from my doggy owners.
    Diet is most important, if your dog's immune system isn't functioning at top levels, their blood will be producing a sweet flea and tick perfume, that signals "Dinner!"
    To get close to what dogs would be eating, in the wild is hard but not impossible, we've all seen our dogs eating grass when they've eaten something they need to get rid of quick! And in the spring and early summer, we take for granted what they are eating in the long grass is just more grass, but in fact if you've "Dog Watched, listened" as long as I have, you’ll smell the wild garlic way before you see it just like our dogs! Yep, its still part of both our DNA, to protect us both naturally!

    Foxes and wolves, in the high summer when wild garlic is in short supply, have a neat trick to rid them selves of fleas, they take a mouthful of moss, walk slowly into a water source, until the only part exposed is the moss they carry in their mouths, the fleas and mites, sensing the water, run towards the head, into the moss, then the fox lets go of the moss, along with all the fleas!
    Out the water and once shaken, we've all noticed our dogs will roll and rub themselves in grass, dirt, bushes, even rough stone walls and drives!
    Ever wondered why?

  4. That’s because the good bacteria thrive in these areas, in larger number than the bad bacteria and yeasts, so they are replacing the needed ph levels in their coats.

    I suppose you’re wondering what the hell does she know, well I've been living and working with dogs all my life, nearer retirement than my 21st, well that's if the Gov don't move the goal posts anymore!
    I stopped using any chemical flea preparations on my dogs over 30 years ago, having seen the affects of these on a dear Groomer friend of mine’s health, through using insecticidal dips on doggy clients. I realised prevention was better than a “killer” cure, and set about finding what worked.
    I found, preventing my animals being attractive to pests, just through diet.
    Although as my dogs come to work with me, and do tend to pick them up from errant dogs at the park or beach, we might find the odd flea, those fleas don't tend to want to stay too long!
    And having seen dogs with skin conditions that Vets have give up on and then experienced firsthand, my own dog who’s prognosis was poor. I set about providing my dogs with the diet that would boost their immune system, and also prevent them from suffering with fleas and ticks. My dog now is now fit and healthy, and all flea free! I can honestly say I’ve not found a tick on them either!

    Simply feeding a diet that if they were providing their own sustenance they would seasonally be eating, the basics of which are green veg, for iron etc, like spinach, parsley, watercress, these provide iron, calcium etc and in turn makes their skin attractive to the good bacteria, and repel the bad.
    Daily marmite, garlic, and rosemary in their food, and apple cider vinegar in their water, is carried in their blood, and whilst the good bacteria love it, the bad ones don’t! And fleas and ticks can smell it a mile off, and won’t attempt to hitch a ride and free meal!
    A word of warning, if their dietary intake isn’t good, just adding these to their diet wont address the problem quickly, like a car engine and cheap fuel, in the long run, the car on premium fuel will last longer with less breakdowns, than a car running on cheap fuel, that begins to cause wear and tear on those parts that keep the engine running sleek and smooth!

    Remember, address the cause, not the symptoms, the best diet produces the best results!

  5. I'm sorry, i'm not sure about the ticks issue but i believe the advocate is the only one that protects against lungworm. (which is an important factor for me)
    Thats why i have always stuck with it.
    I believe you can get it cheaper than £35...I only pay £22?? (for 3 months supply)

  6. Definately the natural feeding route is the way to go, as suggested by another couple of posters. Garlic should protect against fleas, ticks and worms if your dog should get worms in this day and age!

    Also regular grooming of the dog's coat helps.

    Continually putting what is in effect poisonous substances into and onto your dog can only lead to really bad health issues, such as cancer and auto-immune problems. Remember 'Nuvan Tops' banned for that very reason. I think that there is some very interesting literature on Frontline spot-on in particular on the web, whcih may be worth trying to find, as it details some of the diseases associated with using this product and other similar ones.

  7. Alison Logan, vet7 July 2011 at 04:33

    The whole topic of flea and tick control has become so complicated over recent years with the advent of such a wide range of products, which may not cover both (as you have learnt) but may cover other parasites, for example roundworms. It almost makes one hanker after the simple days when there were just ‘the orange can’ and the purple powder which formed a suspension in water (now that dates me!).
    Generally, the prescription-only products available from your veterinary surgeon will provide environmental cover as well as treating your dog directly, and your veterinary practice will be happy to advise on the most suitable product for you to use according to the protection you require for your dog. When it comes to fleas, there is no doubt that strict control must address the home environment because the flea spends so little time on the pet, the vast majority of its life being in your home, car, caravan, garage, tree-house …
    It follows that products bought over-the-counter in pet stores, supermarkets or pharmacies should be used in conjunction with an effective household spray, and ideally one which addresses all stages of the flea’s life cycle and not just the adult flea or else there will be a new population of fleas hatching out.
    It should be safe to use a new product when the next treatment is due with the previous one, ie meaning that the effect from the previous treatment has worn off. If in any doubt, then advice should be available where you obtain the new product, or there should be a customer care contact telephone line. Finally, most products are available in a range depending on your dog’s bodyweight. Given that your dog has collie in her breeding, it is particularly important with some products to avoid over-dosage so do ensure that you weigh her accurately and choose the correct size for her bodyweight.