The best ways to protect your dog from tick bites

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Reviewed by Dr Sylvia Shortreed BVSc

Keeping your dog tick-free involves vigilance and year-round protection. Learn how to protect your dog against ticks in four steps.

1. Choose a tick treatment for your dog 

The most important step in the fight against ticks is prevention. Choose an effective tick prevention product all year round and there are numerous suitable options depending on your dog’s lifestyle. Use a product such as the Seresto™ collar or Advantix™, which repels and kills ticks without the need for a blood meal, also helping to prevent tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and babesiosis (Seresto collar). Another popular and easy tick treatment for dogs are oral preventatives such as the monthly chew for tick protection, Credelio™ PLUS. This chewable tablet is tasty and can be given as a monthly treat. It also protects your dog from other parasites such as fleas, mites, heartworms and intestinal worms.

Learn more with our side-by-side product comparison of these four different ways to protect your dog from ticks:

Tick treatment Pros Cons 
1. Collars: Seresto flea and tick collar for dogs 

• Remains effective for 8 months for paralysis ticks and 4 months for brown dog ticks and bush ticks

• Weatherproof and water-resistant^ 

• Doesn’t require ticks to bite your pet to be killed  

• Also protects against fleas 

• Some dogs aren’t used to wearing collars, so make sure it is fitted correctly and check it daily for the first few weeks for any signs of discomfort 
2. Oral chews: Credelio PLUS chewable tablets 

• Smallest broad-spectrum chew

• Quick and easy to administer 

• Little opportunity for owner error

• Also protects against fleas, demodex mites, heartworm disease and intestinal worms

• Requires ticks to bite the host for the tick to be killed 

• Owners must remember to administer tablets monthly, and check that their dog has swallowed the chew properly / not vomited it up 

3. Spot-on treatment: Advantix 

•  Doesn’t require fleas or ticks to first bite your pet to be killed 

• Works quickly 

• Easy to apply for most dogs and pet parents 

• Must be applied to the entire animal, wetting the coat 

• Application may be tedious and time-consuming, and has a higher likelihood of owner error • Always check the label of the product you are using - most spot-on treatments (except Advantix) do require fleas and ticks to bite your pet to be killed 

• Owners must remember to administer according to the targeted parasite requirements

• Some pet parents find spot-on treatments messy to apply 

4. Topical sprays and shampoos• Works quickly 

• Must be applied to the entire animal, wetting the coat 

• Application may be tedious and time-consuming, and has a higher likelihood of owner error 

• Only kills on contact, without any residual or ongoing protection

Always read and follow label directions.

2. Regularly check your dog for ticks 

Any dog, especially one that has a tendency to roam through tall grass or heavy bush, should be checked periodically for ticks, focusing on the neck (especially under collars), head, ears, feet and between the toes. Check out our complete guide for identifying and finding ticks on your pet.  

Keep in mind that tick bites are hard to detect once the tick has fallen off your dog after feeding. Often these bites don’t itch, so unless you see the tick or your dog starts to show signs of paralysis tick toxicity, you probably won’t know your dog has been bitten. Checking for ticks daily, especially in paralysis tick areas, will increase the chances of you finding a tick while it’s still on your dog. And if you do spot a tick, we recommend you learn about how to remove a tick the right way.

3. Know where ticks like to hide 

The location of ticks depends on the species of tick. Brown dog ticks feed on the same dog at each stage of their lifecycle (larvae, nymphs and adults) and are therefore often found in the dog’s kennel, bedding or garden. They can also survive inside your home. The natural hosts of paralysis ticks are native animals, including possums, bandicoots and kangaroos. Long grasses, bushland and rainforests provide the perfect environment for these ticks. Town parks, residential gardens, dog parks and kennels are not immune. 

If your dog is exposed to these kinds of environments, or you enjoy bush walks together, it is vital that you have a strict tick prevention strategy. The Seresto collar offers long-lasting protection and Credelio PLUS, when given monthly, offers excellent tick protection for your dog.

4. Treat your garden for ticks 

Look for places in your backyard that may be harbouring ticks. Overgrown bushes and patches of tall grass can be tick hotspots, so tidy them up by mowing, weeding or trimming. If you are noticing a significant infestation, outdoor garden treatments for ticks can also help - make sure you follow the label for application and how long to keep your dog and family away after application. 

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