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How Do I Choose the Best Tick Drops?

By Bethney Foster
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The best way to choose tick drops for preventing the parasites on your dog or cat is to consult with your veterinarian. From an effectiveness and an animal safety standpoint, the best drops are those prescribed by a veterinarian. Some of the drops available only through a veterinarian a few years ago are now available over the counter and are among the best tick drops for cost and convenience but are still safe and effective.

Tick drops are generally applied between the pet’s shoulder blades and provide a month of protection. Those products that are not veterinary prescriptions or that weren’t once available only through a veterinarian tend to be ineffective in controlling parasites and also have some level of toxicity to pets. They may also be toxic to children or others who handle the animal.

Most of the veterinary-prescribed tick drops, including those that once required a prescription but are now available over the counter, protect the pet’s entire body through a process known as translocation. The tick drops are generally applied only between the pet’s shoulders or down the pet’s entire spine with some products. The medications in these products are absorbed by the oil glands in your pet’s skin. The natural oils of the pet’s skin then move the medication into the hair over the entire body.

With the veterinary-prescribed products and those products that once required a veterinarian’s prescription, there is very low incidence of side effects. A very few pets may be allergic to the products, but this is rare and generally not serious or life threatening. The veterinary-prescribed products are generally safe for very young, old, and pregnant and nursing pets.

These products continue to protect your pet even if your pet goes swimming or is bathed. It is important, however, with most of these products to ensure that your pet stays dry for a few hours to a few days following the application of the tick drops. Choosing exactly which product is best for your pet is best decided in consultation with your veterinarian.

Many of the veterinary-prescribed products also provide additional protections for your pets. Nearly all of these products include flea repellent. Some also provide monthly de-worming against parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. At least one of the products includes monthly heart worm protection for dogs. Some will protect against ear mites and sarcoptic mange.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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