Ticks are terrible, there are no two ways about it. They’re tiny, disease-carrying pests that can lead to serious health issues in both people and our pets.
The weather is warming up and tick season is upon us again, which means we’re all at higher risk of being bombarded by these annoying parasites.
Pets are at particularly high risk when it comes to dealing with tick bites, and they can suffer from a number of the same tick-borne diseases as we humans.
The good news is that there are plenty of products on the market that you can invest in to help keep your pets safe from ticks this season.
Today, we are talking about the best tick repellent for dogs, according to experts. But before we begin, let’s first take a moment to talk about ticks.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are arachnids closely related to spiders.
Ticks are often called bugs or insects, but they’re actually more closely related to spiders and scorpions than grasshoppers or ants. Ticks are arachnids, which include mites, bed bugs, spiders, scorpions, and a few other creepy crawlies you don’t want in your home.
Next to mosquitoes and fleas, ticks are some of the most dangerous pests to people and pets in the United States.
Ticks can be prevalent throughout the United States, but they are most common in regions of higher elevations and in forests or fields. They are also most active during early spring and late summer into fall.
These pests don’t have wings and therefore they cannot fly. Like spiders, ticks have eight legs, but they tend to have a more oval-shaped body. Depending on the species, ticks can range in size, though generally, they are smaller than 1/8th of an inch. They are often brown or black in color and their bodies will swell when they are attached and feedinf on a blood host.
Because they survive on hosts, ticks are considered parasites. They generally feed on mammals, amphibians, birds, and reptiles. If left undisturbed, ticks can remain attached and feeding for up to 10 days, depending on their species and the life stage they are in.
It is estimated that there are around 850 different species of ticks living throughout the world, and of that, about 90 species are living in the United States.
Though this may sound alarming, it should be noted here that only a few of these ticks are of any relevance to humans or pets.
According to the CDC, some of the most common ticks you may come into contact with include the American Dog Tick, The Blacklegged tick, the Brown dog tick, the Gulf Coast tick, the Western blacklegged tick, the Lone Star Tick, and the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick.
While there are only a handful of tick species lurking around the US, it’s important to keep in mind that tick-borne illnesses are quite serious and can even be fatal in severe situations.
Ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases, including:
- Lyme Disease
- Powassan Virus Disease
- Borrelia Miyamotoi Disease
- Borrelia mayonii Disease
- And Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
While all of these diseases sound scary, the American Kennel Club points out that not all of them can affect our pets, though many can. In fact, there are several tick-borne diseases more common in dogs than people. The most important tick-borne illnesses known to affect our dogs are Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Hepatozoonosis, and Bartonellosis.
Luckily, most tick-borne illnesses take up to 36 to 48 hours to transmit, making routine checks of your pets an important part of tick prevention and protection.
This also is why tick repellent for dogs is so important, especially as the winter winds down. But why are dogs at such high risk of tick bites and tickborne disease?
Keep reading to find out.
Ticks And Dogs – Why Dog’s Are At Such High Risk For Tick Bites
Dogs are the perfect host for ticks.
Lyme disease in dogs is considered one of the most common tick-borne diseases transmitted to dogs throughout the world. With that noted, it is estimated that only about 5% to 10% of dogs bitten by a tick will actually contract a tick-borne illness.
This is likely due to a few factors; first, people are taking precautions now more than ever when it comes to the health of their four-legged friends, and especially when it comes to preventative measures for parasite control.
The second reason is that, as we mentioned above, it can take a few days for a tick to transmit a tick-borne illness to its host. Most owners will notice a tick on their dog before 48 hours and remove it.
Unfortunately, you won’t always know for sure how long your dog has had a tick latched and feeding, and you also won’t be able to know for sure which tick is a disease-carrying tick. And this is why it’s important to look into the best tick repellent for dogs you can find.
But why are dogs at such high risk for tick bites?
Dogs are small, low to the ground, covered in fur, and curious. All of these traits make them the ideal host for parasites like fleas and ticks.
Ticks, in particular, cling to branches and tall grasses, waiting for a host to walk by. They latch on to the host as they brush past, and ticks will then burrow into the fur and begin feeding.
Dogs also often run off-trail when hiking. They enjoy rolling in the grass, sticking their noses in hollowed trees, and generally just partaking in activities that put them at higher risk for tick bites.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about protecting your dog from these nasty parasites, and one of those ways is by investing in the best tick repellent for dogs.
What To Look For In The Best Tick Repellent For Dogs
The best tick repellents will also often include repellents that protect against fleas.
There are plenty of tick repellent products available for dogs that you can find both in pet stores, online, and even at your local hardware store. However, not all tick repellent for dogs is made equally.
When you are looking for the best tick repellent for dogs, be sure to consider the brand, read the reviews, and make sure the product states which types of ticks it helps to prevent.
It’s also important to consider your dog’s age, size, and how often your dog is outdoors. Dogs who are outdoors often may require more heavy-duty tick repellent compared to dogs who spend most of their time indoors.
Furthermore, young puppies and very small dogs may need a specific dosage of tick repellent.
If you’re not sure of which type of tick repellent would be best for your area or dog, you always have the option of contacting your veterinarian.
Otherwise, there are some basic guidelines we recommend you follow to ensure you get the best product.
According to experts, the best tick repellent for dogs is going to contain at least one of the four below active ingredients:
Most experts agree that you should avoid spraying bug sprays on your dog that contain DEET as the active ingredient. DEET can be highly toxic to dogs and lead to a number of neurological disorders and other symptoms including staggering, vomiting, and seizures.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for the best tick repellent for dogs, refrain from using a bug repellent that is not specifically designed for use on dogs.
Natural Tick Repellent For Dogs Vs Chemical Tick Repellent – What Is Best?
There are different types of tick repellents for dogs, including both natural and chemical.
While the most effective form of tick repellent, according to the CDC and the EPA, contains DEET, it should be noted that DEET repellents are discouraged when it comes to the best tick repellent for dogs specifically.
Other tick repellents that are designed for canine use contain active ingredients like a small amount of insecticide or essential oils and plant-based repellents.
There are pros and cons to using natural tick repellents for dogs vs chemical tick repellents for dogs, and it’s important you consider the pros and cons before deciding which tick repellent is right for your dog.
Natural Tick Repellent For Dogs – The Pros and Cons
- Natural tick repellents do not contain chemical ingredients like DEET, permethrin, or picaridin
- Natural tick repellents for dogs are less likely to have aversive side effects
- Natural repellents may be safer to use on dogs who often play or sleep with children
- Natural repellents may not be as effective as chemical repellents when it comes to keeping ticks at bay
- Natural repellents may be more costly than chemical tick repellents
- Some natural repellents may not last as long as chemical repellents
- Natural repellents may have a potent smell that your dog could find irritating
- Some natural repellents may still have aversive side effects on dogs including skin irritation
Chemical Tick Repellent For Dogs – The Pros and Cons
- Chemical tick repellents have been found to be more effective when it comes to keeping ticks at bay
- Chemical tick repellents for dogs have only small amounts of insecticides or pesticides as the active ingredient
- Many tick repellents for dogs are easy to find and affordable
- Chemical tick repellents often last for much longer than natural tick repellents
- Chemical tick repellents come with more risk and can have aversive side effects
- Chemical tick repellents may be harsher on the environment
- Some chemical tick repellents on dogs may pose risk to children or family members who are around that dog often
- Not all chemical tick repellents will work equally, and it’s important to do your research before investing
Are you unsure of which type of tick repellents would be best for your furry family member? We have listed some of the top tick repellents for dogs that we would recommend. Take a look.
Top Five Chemical Tick Repellent For Dogs
Traditional tick repellent is generally going to contain small amounts of insecticides to help protect against ticks and fleas.
Chemical tick repellents for dogs work by affecting the nervous system of pests. In fact, many tick repellents actually work on both fleas and ticks. With that being said, not all chemical tick repellents are made equally, and some are more effective than others.
Here are some of the best tick repellent for dogs we could find on the market. Take a look!
Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment
Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for dogs is a popular and well-known brand of flea and tick repellent that many people trust. The product above is designed for small dogs between five and ten pounds, but you can order it in doses suited for your dog’s particular size.
This tick repellent for dogs works using the active ingredient Fipronil. It provides a waterproof treatment that works quickly and can last for up to three months.
TevraPet Active ll
We like the above flea and tick repellent for dogs because it works not only for these blood-sucking pests but also for mosquitoes and chewing lice. The product contains the active ingredient Pyriproxyfen and is ideal for dogs between 11 and 20 pounds.
The product is applied using topical applications and is approved by veterinarians. It is also made with a waterproof formula that can kill fleas and ticks in as little as 24 hours upon application.
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
Flea and tick collars are some of the more popular options when it comes to tick repellents for dogs. The above flea and tick collar by Seresto is designed for large breed dogs over 18 pounds and can help to keep ticks, fleas, flea larvae, and even lice at bay for up to eight months.
You can order it in a pack of one or two depending on your needs. The collar works immediately within 24 hours and kills the ticks and fleas before they bite.
Not only will this flea and tick collar work as a tick repellent for dogs, but it can also help protect against sarcoptic mange.
K9 Advantix Flea and Tick Prevention
Another flea and tick repellent for dogs that are relatively well-known is a product by K9 Advantix. This product not only repels ticks and fleas but also is effective against biting flies, mosquitoes, flea larvae, chewing lice, and flea eggs.
The product includes four monthly doses and is designed for large breed dogs over 55 pounds. It begins working within 12 hours of application and provides protection for up to 30 days.
PetArmor Plus for Dogs
Last we have PetArmor Plus for small breed dogs. This flea and tick repellent is waterproof and safe to use on dogs in all their life stages. It provides protection from fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae, and chewing lice for up to one month.
The product works using the active ingredient Fipronil and can begin killing fleas and ticks within 24 hours of application.
Tip Five Natural Tick Repellent For Dogs
Natural tick repellent can be effective but it does have its pros and cons.
As we discussed above, natural tick repellent for dogs has been found to be effective, though perhaps not as effective as a chemical tick repellent.
With that being said, there are some types of dogs who are living a lifestyle that will make them ideal candidates for a natural tick repellent. For example, dogs who are at lower risk of tick bites may benefit from a natural tick repellent. Dogs who struggle with sensitivities or have particular health risks could also do better with a natural tick repellent.
Last, if you prefer organic pest control, you’ll likely feel best going with a natural tick repellent option as opposed to a chemical tick repellent for dogs.
If you do choose to go with natural tick repellent and live in a heavily tick-infested region, it’s important to give your dog routine tick checks when he comes back in from playing outside.
We will talk more about this further down. For now, let’s take a look at some of the best natural tick repellents for dogs below.
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray
First on our list of natural tick repellents for dogs is a product by Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray. This spray is made with natural ingredients like essential oils that are safe enough to spray around your home, in dog runs, and directly on the dog itself.
This product not only repels ticks and fleas in all their life stages, but it also kills them on contact.
The product can be ordered in two sizes depending on your needs and works using the active ingredient of peppermint oil. This product is safe to use on dogs of all sizes and is safe enough to use on puppies over the age of 12 weeks old.
Wondercide Flea, Tick, And Mosquito Spray For Pets
We often talk about how good Wondercide works for pest control in yards and gardens, but did you know you can also purchase it as a spray for your pet?
This product above is a spray that is made with natural ingredients and essential oils to prevent and kill fleas and ticks. You can use this spray around your home, on people, and even on pets like cats and dogs.
The product specifically states that it is safe to use on dogs and cats of all ages, which is certainly a plus.
However, we should note that it doesn’t provide long-lasting protection and should be applied and reapplied when you and your dog are out and about daily.
EcoFlea By Colorado Dog
EacoFlea is a unique flea and tick repellent option for dogs because it comes in a natural chew treat that dogs will enjoy taking. Each order contains 120 chews that are free of chemicals or unsafe ingredients.
The product works using a safe dose of garlic and brewer’s yeast to control and repel ticks. The product is safe from other ingredients that could be harmful to your dog and can help provide protection for as long as your dog is taking the chew.
Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray For Dogs
Another natural tick repellent for dogs is the above tick repellent by Natural Care Flea and TickSpray. This product is safe to use around your home, on bedding, pillows, and directly on dogs and cats over the age of 12 weeks.
The product is made with plant-based ingredients that repel ticks and fleas when applied. Like many of the natural sprays and tick repellent products on this list, it should be applied before outings and may need to be reapplied depending on how long your dog is outdoors for best results.
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spot On Drops
Last we have another product by Vet’s Best. This product is different from the spray in that it is a topical drop for pets that uses plant-based ingredients.
It includes a four-month supply and is made to be used on dogs smaller than 15 pounds and older than 12 weeks. The ingredients include essential oils like cinnamon, clove oil, and thyme oil.
DIY Tips To Make Tick Repellent For Dogs On A Pinch
You can make your own tick repellent products using a few common household ingredients.
As you likely noticed, many of the above natural tick repellent for dogs was made with plant-based ingredients like essential oils.
This means that you may be able to make your own tick repellent for dogs at home if you’re feeling crafty!
Many essential oils can make effective tick repellents due to their strong scent, which disrupts the sense of smell in pests like ticks and fleas.
Some of the best essential oils to help repel ticks include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Citronella OIl
- Pennyroyal Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Thyme Oil
- Basil Oil
- Cinnamon OIl
- Lemongrass Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- And Rose Geranium Oil
HOWEVER – dogs have a very strong sense of smell and may be sensitive to many of these oils. The best oil to use on dogs would be a diluted form of rose geranium oil. To use this oil, dilute it with water spray it on your dog’s harness before outings.
DIY Vinegar Spray Tick Repellent For Dogs
- 1 Cup of White Vinegar (or) Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Cup of Baby Shampoo
Many sources state that ticks and fleas despise the smell of vinegar, meaning a vinegar and baby shampoo bath for your dog once a month could help repel these nasty parasites.
Rinse your dog thoroughly as your normally would once a month using this method to help add extra protection when it comes to tick control.
However, please note that this method is not proven and it’s very important to maintain other forms of tick control and prevention for your dog as well.
Expert Tips At Keeping Ticks Under Control During Tick Season
Keeping your grass cut short can help reduce the chances of your dog suffering from ticks or fleas.
Protecting your family and dogs from ticks goes beyond just ensuring your dog has the best tick repellent. Here are a few of our expert tips and tricks you can follow to protect your home, yard, dog, and family from these annoying and sometimes dangerous parasites.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed Short
Ticks prefer longer grasses where they have a better chance of latching onto a host. Longer grasses also provide ticks with shelter from predators like birds and other insects.
You can help keep ticks under control on your property by keeping your lawn mowed short and your landscaping tidy.
Keep Garbage Bins Sealed And Stored Properly
Garbage can attract wild animals like raccoons, deer, bears, and coyotes. These wild animals can bring ticks and fleas, which they can then transfer into your yard. Keep wild animals at bay by storing garbage properly in a sealed bin until trash day.
Store Wood Piles Away From Your Dog’s Play Area
Rodents like mice are often the primary culprit of bringing ticks to your property, and rodents are especially fond of woodpiles. Store woodpiles neatly away from your dog’s play area, and be sure to use other forms of pet-safe rodent control around your home and yard to keep your family and dogs safe.
Keep Your Dog On Leash During Hikes And Walks
Our dogs are notorious for running off to explore on walks and hikes. While this is part of the fun of being a dog, it can also be dangerous for our four-legged friends. Not only can dogs encounter venomous snakes and other pests in grassy areas off-trail, but they are also more likely to encounter ticks.
Check Your Dog For Ticks After Outdoor Play
Along with using the best tick repellent for dogs, checking your dog for ticks each time he comes in the house after being outside is one of the best ways you can prevent a tickborne disease,
When you are checking your dog for ticks, be sure to check the following areas of his body carefully:
- Beneath the collar
- Under the front legs
- Under the back legs
- Around your dog’s tail
- Between the paw pads
- Around your dog’s ears
- Inside your dog’s ears
- And around your dog’s eyelids
What To Do If Your Dog Is Bitten By A Tick
Remember, just because your dog is bitten by a tick does not mean he will contract a tickborne illness. It is estimated that only 5% to 10% of dogs bitten will contract a disease. Still, it’s important to take precautionary measures.
First, contact your vet for instructions on how to remove the tick properly. Then monitor your dog for the next several months for symptoms of tick-borne disease. The most common tick-borne disease in dogs, as we mentioned above, is Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and lameness. If you do notice these symptoms in your dog and believe he was bitten by a tick, contact your veterinarian immediately.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the best tick repellent for dogs! Best of luck and thanks for reading.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.