Best Flea and Tick Medicines for Golden Retrievers (2021)

best flea and tick prevention for dogs

No matter where you’re located, year-round flea and tick prevention is extremely important for your Golden Retriever. Fleas and ticks can carry diseases that are transmitted through their bites, and flea saliva is known to cause allergic reactions in most dogs. These particular parasites can also jump to human hosts, and so using flea and tick prevention for your dog may also keep you and your family protected.

Best OTC

Bayer K9 Advantix II

Bayer K9 Advantix II is our choice as the best over the counter flea and tick treatment. While the best option for many might be in the form of a prescription (we list those below), we know many people prefer to go with an over the counter option.

No matter what type of treatment you decide to go with, make sure you continue it to keep your dog happy and healthy. Below we list all the best options to chose and what to look for in a quality flea and tick treatment.

Best Flea and Tick Medicines

Flea and Tick Medicines

There are many different products available on the market, and while some of the best products are available for purchase through your veterinarian, there are a few over-the-counter products that still prove effective.

Every dog is different, and yours may benefit more from one product over another. To help you choose, we’ve compiled a list of the best products available today.

Our PicksBrand
Best OverallSimparica Trio
Best TopicalBravecto
Best TastingNexgard
Fastest ActingCredelio
Longest ActingSeresto
Best OTCBayer K9 Advantix II
Best BudgetFrontline Plus

Best Overall: Simparica Trio

Top Pick

Simparica Trio

Simparica Trio

A step above its predecessor, Simparica Trio is one of the newest products on the market. It recently received FDA approval for use in the United States and is arguably the most all-inclusive preventative product available today.

Product features:

  • Protects dogs from fleas, ticks, heartworm disease, and intestinal parasites
  • Comes in a flavored chewable form
  • Provides protection for 30 days

Prior to Simparica Trio’s availability, there were no preventatives on the market that covered fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms all in one product. Simparica Trio provides all of this protection in just one chewable treat, and it is effective for a full 30 days. The chewable is liver-flavored and can be given with or without food.

One of the active ingredients in Simparica Trio is sarolaner, a member of the isoxazoline drug class and thus makes it a highly effective flea and tick treatment and preventive. Unlike other preventives in this drug class, Simparica Trio can kill five different species of tick.

Its heartworm prevention ingredient, moxidectin, is still highly effective at preventing heartworm disease, and the pyrantel pamoate ingredient prevents against roundworms and hookworms. This is important because these intestinal parasites can be transmitted to other pets and even to people through fecal matter.

Pros:

  • Starts working within 4 hours of administration
  • Can be given to puppies as young as 8 weeks of age and weighing as little as 2.8 lbs
  • Combines all of the elements of monthly preventives instead of having to use two or more

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription  
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Does not last as long as some of the other products on this list

Best Topical: Bravecto

Best Topical

Bravecto

Bravecto is the longest acting prescription-strength flea and tick preventive available today, and it is available in both oral and topical formulations.

Product features:

  • Offers protection against fleas and ticks for 12 weeks
  • Comes in a chewable treat or can be purchased as a topical product
  • Labeled for dogs six months of age and older

Bravecto is an effective flea and tick preventive. Its active ingredient, fluralaner, is a member of the isoxazoline drug class. It protects against four species of tick, but its efficacy against the Lone Star tick lasts for 8 weeks compared to the full 12 weeks against other tick species.

And while it is not listed on the label, oral Bravecto was used in a study of shelter dogs with demodicosis (a type of skin mite) back in 2015. The study showed that Bravecto was an extremely effective treatment and has since been shown to help dogs with Sarcoptes (scabies) mites and Otodectes (ear) mites.

The topical version of Bravecto is ideal for Goldens with a history of food allergies or if your dog simply hates taking pills. Like with most topical products, you should avoid bathing your Golden for at least 48 hours after you’ve applied a dose. Oral Bravecto is not affected by grooming habits, and it should be given with food to avoid gastrointestinal upset.

Pros:

  • Provides longer protection against fleas and ticks than any other prescription product
  • Has a topical option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies
  • Effective against other ectoparasites not mentioned on the product label

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • Not effective against lone star ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Cannot be given to puppies younger than 6 months  

Best Tasting Product: Nexgard

Best Tasting

Nexgard

NexGard

Is your Golden Retriever tricky when it comes to taking pills? Your best bet is to try Nexgard!

Product features:

  • Protects against fleas and ticks for 30 days
  • Can be given to puppies as soon as 8 weeks of age
  • Comes in a soft beef-flavored chewable treat

Nexgard’s active ingredient is afoxolaner which is (you’ve guessed it) another isoxazoline drug that is highly effective against fleas and ticks. It comes in a rectangular chewable treat that is beef-flavored, the same recipe that is used in the making of Heartgard Plus, a popular oral heartworm preventive. Compared to many of the oral preventives on the market, most veterinarians agree that the majority of their patients enjoy this flavor. Nexgard can be given with or without food.

Pros:

  • Tasty beef flavor is ideal for finicky eaters
  • Can be used in very young puppies 
  • Is one of the more cost-effective options and comes in a 6-pack

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Not labeled for use in puppies weighing less than 4 pounds  

Fastest Acting Product: Credelio

Fastest Acting

Credelio

Credelio

Like the other products in this list, Credelio is highly effective against fleas and ticks, yet it works a little faster than other products in its class.

Product features:

  • Starts killing fleas within 4 hours and kills 99% within 8 hours for 35 days
  • Kills and prevents ticks for up to 30 days
  • Comes in a beef-flavored chewable tablet

Credelio is the last isoxazoline on this list (I promise) with an active ingredient known as lotilaner. It kills and prevents ticks for a full 30 days, but lasts a little longer for flea protection at 35 days. Credelio starts working within 4 hours of administration and can reach peak concentrations in your dog’s body as soon as 6 hours after ingestion! This is important because ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses after just 6 to 8 hours from the time of the initial tick bite.

Pros:

  • Works slightly faster than other products on this list
  • Can be used in puppies as early as 8 weeks of age
  • Has a tasty flavor compared to other preventive products

Cons:

  • Only available through your veterinarian or with a prescription
  • May be contraindicated in dogs with a history of seizures
  • Not labeled for use in puppies weighing less than 4 pounds   

Longest Acting Product: Seresto

Longest Acting

Seresto

There are many Golden Retrievers who cannot take oral chewables or tolerate topical products, and all isoxazoline products carry a warning label that cautions use in dogs with a history of seizures. For these dogs, flea and tick collars are your safest option, and none of them are as effective as Seresto.

Product features:

  • Offers 8 full months of continuous protection against fleas and ticks
  • Repels and kills fleas and ticks, and it can also help with treatment against mange and lice
  • Safe for use in all dogs ages 7 weeks and up  

Seresto’s two active ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, are insect neurotoxins that interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the insect’s nervous system. This results in paralysis and death of the insect, but these ingredients are safe for contact with your dog’s skin and are not toxic if the collar is accidentally chewed, unlike with traditional flea and tick collars.

Seresto is odorless and water-resistant for the Golden that loves to go swimming. It is also smooth and doesn’t have an oily or greasy residue that can cause mats in your dog’s fur, and it comes with reflector clips to help with visibility during walks at night. Seresto is available over the counter, therefore your dog will not need a prescription from his veterinarian.

Pros:

  • Kills and repels fleas and ticks without having to bite your dog
  • Won’t cause gastrointestinal upset and has no contraindications
  • Offers 8 months-worth of protection against fleas and ticks
  • You do not need a prescription from your veterinarian  

Cons:

  • Needs to be on your dog for a full 24 hours for maximum efficacy  
  • Counterfeit products exist on the market
  • Fleas are becoming increasingly resistant to imidacloprid  

Best Over The Counter: Advantix II

Best OTC

Bayer K9 Advantix II

If you’re looking for a product that will repel and kill a large number of insects and parasites, Bayer K9 Advantix II is the topical product for you!

Product features:  

  • Comes in a topical product that lasts for one month
  • Repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, lice, and biting flies
  • Kills through contact so biting is not required

Advantix II is a topical product that has three active ingredients: imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Imidacloprid and permethrin are insect neurotoxins while pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator. This means that it will stop eggs from hatching and will prevent insect larvae from developing into adults.

Like most topical products, Advantix II is ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach, allergies, or other medical problems like seizures. It can be used in puppies as young as 7 weeks of age. However, it can be washed away if you bathe your Golden Retriever with a medicated or soap-containing shampoo. And while it is safe for dogs, the permethrin ingredient in Advantix II is highly toxic for cats, causing tremors, seizures, and death. Therefore, you should allow this product to dry for at least 24 hours before your cat can come into contact with your dog again.

Advantix II is available over the counter, which means that you do not need a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase some. It also costs less than other commercially available flea and tick products.

One thing to watch for is that fleas are possibly becoming resistant to imidacloprid. So if this product stops working, be sure to check out other options listed above.

Pros:

  • Effectively repels and kills many different ectoparasites
  • Easy to use and safe for dogs with a history of seizures
  • Cost effective and is available over the counter

Cons:

  • Frequent bathing and medicated shampoos can make it less effective
  • Fleas are possibly becoming resistant to imidacloprid
  • Can be fatal to cats 

Best Budget: Frontline Plus

Best Budget

Frontline Plus

Some flea and tick products may be outside of your price range, which is extremely frustrating when you want to help your itchy best friend. Frontline Plus may be able to provide some relief for your Golden and for your wallet.

Product features:  

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice
  • Topical product that lasts for one month
  • One of only a few products that is safe for pregnant dogs

Frontline Plus contains two active ingredients: fipronil and s-methoprene. The former ingredient kills adult fleas and ticks while the latter ingredient kills flea eggs and larvae, thus effectively breaking the flea lifecycle. Frontline Plus is sold over the counter and so you do not need a prescription from your vet.

Once Frontline Plus is applied, it must dry for 24 hours before you bathe your Golden. After that, the product is considered waterproof.

It is also safe for use in cats and is labeled safe for use in pregnant and lactating dogs. The only other preventive product that is safe for use in pregnant dogs is a topical flea and heartworm preventive called Revolution, but this particular product is not labeled for tick prevention.

Pros:

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice for up to one month
  • Costs less than other products on this list
  • Approved for use in pregnant, lactating, and breeding dogs

Cons:

  • Must let product dry for 24 hours before bathing
  • Fleas are possibly becoming resistant to fipronil2
  • Doesn’t repel fleas or ticks

Conclusion

With so many flea and tick products available, it is ideal to have a select few in mind when choosing one for your Golden Retriever. The isoxazoline products like Simparica Trio, Bravecto, Nexgard, and Credelio are the most effective for killing fleas and ticks while Seresto and Advantix II have the best repellant qualities. Frontline Plus can help break the flea lifecycle, prevent ticks, and is safe for breeding dogs.

If you’re still not sure which product is right for your Golden, be sure to talk with your veterinarian for more information.

Is your dog also suffering from allergies? If so, be sure to check out our article on Golden Retriever Allergies to learn how to treat them.

Dr. Erica Irish

Dr. Erica Irish graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013 and currently practices at a 24/7 small animal hospital in Central Florida. She is particularly interested in cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, and integrative medicine.

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