Most dog owners love nothing more than a stroll, brisk walk or hike outside with their furry friends. Especially when the weather is warm, we like to take our furry friends out for runs, walks, and hikes, often in the woods or other natural areas. While our dogs love to sniff, play, and explore these locations, dog owners need to be aware of the risk of fleas and ticks and protect their dog accordingly!
This article will discuss what fleas and ticks are and the risks they pose, and then review a variety of flea and tick spray for dogs that can help protect your buddy from these annoying and dangerous pests.
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny brown parasitic insects with incredible jumping abilities. Given a chance, they will use this jumping ability to jump onto your dog. Once they are there, they feed on your dog’s blood and can reproduce incredibly quickly – a female can lay up to 50 eggs in one day. Fleas can make your dog terribly itchy, as well as give your dog allergic reactions and even carry the bacteria that causes Cat-scratch Disease.
Don’t ever think that fleas will stick just to your dog: Where there are fleas on your dog, there are likely fleas in your home, including in your carpet, on your couch, between your floorboards or even in your bed – gross!
What are ticks?
Ticks are small arachnids (they have eight legs) that can range from the size of the head of a pin to that of a pencil eraser. Like fleas, they also feed on blood. However, they can also pass dangerous diseases on to you or your dog, including Lyme Disease.
Ticks are drawn to warm environments so that they may migrate to your dog’s groin, armpits, or ears. Because they hide in these areas and are so small, it can be challenging to see them. It’s essential to check your dog thoroughly for ticks after any outdoor adventure.
Fleas and ticks are most prominent in the hot and humid summer months. However, in many areas of the United States, fleas and ticks pose a threat to your dog all year!
You could read our other article “Fleas And Ticks On Dogs – Symptoms & Prevention” to know more about the fleas and ticks lifecycle, symtomps, fleas and ticks distribution in United States, etc.
A few tick safety facts:
- Ticks can carry a variety of dangerous diseases. Lyme Disease is the best known. Symptoms in your dog can include low energy, low appetite, limping, joint swelling and stiffness, and fever. (Lyme Disease can also impact humans bitten by ticks and cause fever, rash, chills, headache, and extreme chronic fatigue.) However, ticks can also transmit many other infections that can cause your dog chronic pain and fatigue and may even cause shock and death.
- Killing a tick that you find on your dog doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t transmit a disease to your dog in the time that they were latched on.
- There are a right way and a wrong way to remove a tick from your dog, and the wrong way is not a clean break – it can leave part of the ticks in your dog! Be sure to use tweezers and look up the right way to remove a tick. Or better yet, bring your dog to the vet and let them remove it.
- Ticks can be tested for Lyme disease, and some cities and states have programs where ticks can be sent to vets or other organizations, who test them and then have an idea of where disease-carrying ticks are living. Check if such a program exists in your area and, if it does, make sure to put any ticks you find on your dog (or yourself!) in a plastic bag and bring it in.
Enough of that – on to flea and tick spray for dog and what it does!
What is flea and tick spray for dogs?
Tick and flea spray for dogs can be a quick and easy way to repel fleas and ticks, as well as potentially kill those that are already on your dog’s skin or in their fur. Keep reading to see what you should consider if you want your flea and tick spray to kill or just repel pests.
Some dog owners prefer sprays to shampoos because you don’t have to rinse them out. Others prefer sprays to medications because of cost – plus it’s convenient to be able to get something delivered right to your door!
Does flea and tick spray kill fleas and ticks, or just repel them?
Whether the spray will kill fleas and ticks or simply repel them depends on the ingredients. A pesticide will kill ticks and adult fleas; an Insect Growth Regular (IGR) will kill flea eggs and larvae, which will stop the cycle of fleas on your dog.
Read the ingredients of any product you are buying and see if it has pesticides such as pyrethrins, as well as an IGR ingredient. Without either of those, – for example, in the case of more natural products – your spray will likely only repel fleas and ticks, and even that’s not guaranteed.
However, the pesticides and other harsh ingredients in many flea and tick sprays can irritate your dog’s skin and be harmful if used repeatedly. We recommend using the mildest product for your specific situation: If your dog is dealing with a flea infestation, sprays like the ones reviewed here may be your best bet. However, if you’re just looking to repel fleas or ticks, the risk of treating your dog with so many chemicals may be greater than the potential for a parasite.
Fleas can multiply quickly and easily become unmanageable. However, the same is usually not true for ticks. If you see
How to apply flea and tick sprays to your dog
Because many of these products contain strong chemicals and pesticides, it’s important to avoid spraying into your dog’s eyes, ears, or other mucous membranes. Ensure that you cover their face when spraying, and consider spraying onto a cloth and wiping it around your dog’s head and neck for greater precision rather than spraying directly onto these areas.
Flea and tick spray can also have adverse effects on people, particularly children, and pregnant or nursing women. Make sure to take proper safety precautions, including wearing gloves, washing your hands well after use, and avoiding direct contact with your dog until the spray dries.
Lastly, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding when and how often to spray your dog.
Where should you apply flea and tick spray?
The spray should be applied all over, from nose to tail. However, no dog likes to be sprayed in the face with anything – chemicals or not! So make sure to spray into your hands or onto a cloth when it comes time to get the product on and around your dog’s head and face.
For the rest of your dog’s body, simply spray it on, making sure you get their stomach, feet, legs, and tail too.
See this video for a demonstration on how to apply flea and tick spray to your dog.
When should you apply flea and tick spray?
When you should apply flea and tick spray depends on the issue you’re having, if any, and the type of product you’re using. If you’re using the spray just for prevention and is a natural product, you can apply it repeatedly throughout flea and tick season.
However, if you’re dealing with a flea infestation with your dog, apply the spray as soon as possible. Depending on the ingredients – or if it’s a particularly bad infestation – you may need to apply it more than once. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions!
Aftercare: what to do once you’ve applied a flea and tick spray
Follow these tips to stay safe and ensure your flea spray works as intended:
- Wash your hands! Whether or not you wore gloves during the application of the spray, make sure you wash your hands when you’re done.
- Wait for your dog to dry! Don’t let your dog on the furniture or your bed before the spray is dry, and try to avoid letting them lie down on any carpet. You don’t know what impact the spray could have on different fabrics in your home.
What should you consider when buying flea spray for your dog?
As with any product for your dog, intended use and budget should be your biggest factors here. Are you looking to repel or eliminate fleas? Are you willing to spend a bit more for something that smells a bit nicer, or are you looking for a budget option to get the job done?
One thing to consider is that many of these products have harsh ingredients and can be hazardous to dogs with allergies, or very old or very young dogs. Always read the label and make sure it’s safe for your pet.
The Best Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs Review
Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs
The Adams website claims that this product kills flea eggs, flea larvae, fleas, ticks, and deer ticks, as well as repels mosquitos. The spray contains Etofenprox to kill adult fleas, as well as S-Methoprene Insect Growth Regulator to make sure that eggs and larvae don’t turn into adults and cause further problems for your dog.
Some buyers noted an extremely strong chemical smell. That is not surprising, given the harsh but active ingredients here. Put gloves on during application if possible, and wash your hands thoroughly after.
Wondercide Natural Flea, Tick and Mosquito Control for Dogs, Cats, and Home
Wondercide makes a product that is intended for use on dogs, cats, and even in your home. This all-in-one is a great option since when there are fleas on your dog, there are likely fleas in your carpets and on your furniture as well. This spray does it all.
This product uses cedar oil as its main ingredient (it also comes in a variety of scents including rosemary and peppermint), so it has an overpowering smell, but many prefer it to the harsh chemical odors that come from some other sprays.
You may need to use the product repeatedly to get all the fleas. However, since this doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, it’s safe to use more than once in a short period.
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Dog Spray
Another more natural option, Vet’s Best uses natural ingredients like peppermint and cloves to get rid of fleas and other pests. It contains no pyrethrins or permethrins (pesticides) and is safe around children and the home. You also can’t beat the price point!
Because this is a natural product, it won’t necessarily kill all fleas on your dog, and it definitely won’t kill flea eggs or larvae which will become adult fleas in a short amount of time. So, similar to other natural products on this list, you will likely need to use it more than once if you are dealing with a flea infestation. You may also wish to reapply it every so often as a repellent.
Pet Naturals of Vermont - FLEA + TICK Repellent Spray
This product takes a cue from Amazonian indigenous tribes that have used natural insect repellents for hundreds of years, using Brazilian oils from certified forests. It features natural ingredients like cinnamon, castor oil, sesame, and lemongrass. It makes for a strong scent which was appreciated by some buyers.
This product also has the bonus of repelling other less dangerous but still annoying pests, such as mosquitos and flies – your dog will thank you!
Again, natural products won’t kill fleas at all life cycle stages. However, buyers love this product as a repellent and find it extremely effective. Many have endorsed it as an added layer of protection, or one piece of a more comprehensive pest prevention plan for your dog.
Hartz Flea & Tick Shampoos and Sprays
Hartz makes a variety of flea and ticks prevention and treatment products, including shampoos, drops, and sprays. The one we looked at was Hartz Ultraguard Aloe Flea & Tick Spray. It kills fleas, as well as eggs and larvae. It stops eggs from hatching for up to a month. At under $10 per bottle, it’s a great option if you want to be done with fleas with just one application.
Because this has strong chemicals to kill all stages of fleas, it’s recommended to use this product in a well-ventilated area. Also, use caution when spraying it on your dog, and don’t use it repeatedly. It can irritate the skin, and some buyers even reported some fur loss for their canine companion. While fleas can be annoying and dangerous, so can harsh chemical sprays, so use it wisely and carefully!
Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats
This product got glowing reviews, from its natural and soothing ingredients to its pleasant scent. Peppermint is one of the main ingredients, which is excellent for dogs and their owners, and a surefire way to repel fleas.
However, just because the product is natural does not mean it’s 100 percent safe for your dog; essential oils are rapidly absorbed through the skin and metabolized through the liver. Ensure that your dog does not lick at the spray, and don’t use it on very young or very old dogs.
Dogs’ noses are also much more sensitive than ours; a pleasant scent for us could be overwhelming for your furry friend, so apply carefully!
There are a wide variety of shampoos, sprays, and other products available that promise to repel and kill fleas quickly and easily. However, they are not all created equal, and they should all be considered in context with other flea and tick control measures like Advantage, Revolution, or Frontline.
While many of these products can help with prevention, or alleviate a small flea problem with your dog, they may not fix the problem all on their own.
The best thing you can do if you find your dog has fleas is to ask your vet’s advice. If you are considering one of the sprays on this list, or any other flea or tick product, it’s good sense to run it by your vet before using it on your dog. Since ingredients are absorbed so quickly through the skin, and many dogs suffering from fleas will have broken skin due to bites, it’s essential to make sure you’re using safe and effective ingredients that won’t irritate the skin, overwhelm your dog’s sensitive nose or even potentially poison your canine companion.
You could read our recommendation articles that might help you to decide the most suitable way for fleas and ticks treatment for your dogs.
With so many options available for flea and tick control, there is no reason to shy away from those long walks or hikes in the woods and the wilderness. Walk on with your dog!