Sooner or later, you’re going to have to let your dog go outside — and once you do, you’ll expose him to a legion of insects that are just waiting to chomp on his flesh and suck his blood.
Among the worst of these nasty bugs are ticks. They’re absolutely repulsive — and they can spread all kinds of horrible diseases, so keeping them off your dog is of paramount importance.
If you’ve done any shopping for tick repellents, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of options on the market, ranging from incredibly cheap to surprisingly expensive. However, they don’t all work — and the price isn’t necessarily a trustworthy indicator as to the product’s quality.
In the reviews below, we’ll reveal which repellents actually keep bugs at bay, and which ones will merely drain your bank account while the ticks drain your dog.
A Quick Comparison of our Favorites for 2021:
|Best Overall||TevraPet Activate II Flea & Tick Prevention||
|Best Value||Vet’s Best Tick Spray||
|Premium Choice||Bayer K9 Advantix II Tick Prevention||
|Seresto Flea and Tick Collar||
|Wondercide Natural Products Tick Control||
The 10 Best Tick Repellent for Dogs:
1. TevraPet Activate II Flea & Tick Prevention – Best Overall
TevraPet Activate II contains three separate tick killers: imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. This ensures that just about any tick that comes in contact with your dog will get a lethal dose of something, while also reducing the risk that any bugs will become resistant to the pesticide.
It kills ticks in every stage of their life cycle, too, as well as fleas, flea eggs, and lice. It even repels mosquitoes.
There are four doses inside, with each application lasting a month, so you don’t have to reapply it very often for it to be effective. Once it soaks in, you can take your dog swimming or bathe him and its potency won’t be compromised. It’s as close as you can come to an effective set-and-forget method of tick control.
Of course, some pet owners balk at rubbing pesticides onto their dogs, and TevraPet Activate II contains three separate killing agents. All are safe for canines, but if you’re suspicious of any chemicals, then you probably won’t be too keen on slathering three different ones on your dog.
For everyone else, though, this tick killer is the best on the market.
2. Vet’s Best Tick Spray – Best Value
If you’re leery of using harsh chemicals on your dog, Vet’s Best Tick Spray uses natural oils to repel insects — and believe it or not, it actually works.
You simply spray it on your dog before he goes outside to keep ticks off him or spray it when he comes back in to kill any bugs he picked up along the way. Either way, you should have a parasite-free dog on your hands. You can even spray it on various surfaces inside your home to make sure there no creepy-crawlies are lurking anywhere.
Of course, this means it’s not a long-lasting solution, but it’s not intended to be. That may be why it’s so inexpensive, but regardless, it’s our pick for the best tick repellent for dogs for the money.
It’s perfect for taking with you on camping trips, or for dog owners who spend a lot of time living out of RVs. It does have a fairly pungent odor, but that doesn’t last for long.
While Vet’s Best Tick Spray won’t permanently solve your tick problems, it’s great for immediate pest issues (and even better when paired with long-term solutions like the TevraPet above).
As you read our review of Bayer K9 Advantix II, you may find yourself thinking that it sounds a lot like the TevraPet Activate II. There’s a good reason for that: the TevraPet is the generic version of the K9 Advantix.
As a result, the K9 Advantix is every bit as effective as our top pick, but it’s also considerably more expensive.
As you’d expect, it contains the same three pesticides, as well as four one-month doses. It protects against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and more.
In terms of pure effectiveness, Bayer K9 Advantix II is quite deserving of our top spot. However, it’s hard to recommend it over the TevraPet when the latter offers the same thing at such a sizable discount.
4. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
If you’re not a fan of the idea of rubbing a serum into your dog’s skin or spraying him with bug repellent, the Seresto Collar may be more your speed.
It’s a long-lasting solution, as each collar can keep ticks away for up to eight months. That helps offset the hefty price tag a bit, as it prorates to a very reasonable monthly cost.
It manages to be effective despite releasing its repellent in very low doses, so your dog won’t be exposed to very much pesticide. The two tick killers it uses — imidacloprid and flumethrin — are both safe and effective.
Of course, it only works as long as it’s attached to your dog, so if it comes off while he’s outside he’s likely to come home with company attached. Also, it’s not adjustable, so if you have a growing dog, you may want to wait until he’s reached his full size and weight before investing in one of these.
The Seresto Collar is surprisingly effective, and its long lifespan makes it a good value. It has a few shortcomings that keep it just shy of our top three, however.
5. Wondercide Natural Products Tick Control
Wondercide Natural uses an array of essential oils to guard against pests, and you can spray it directly on your dog or apply it inside your house.
To that end, it comes in several different sizes, from a tiny little bottle that’s perfect for stashing in a backpack to a large, one-gallon container that’s suitable for safeguarding your entire home. This lets you customize your treatment plan, so whether you just want to do some preventative maintenance or you’re trying to quell a large-scale infestation, they’ve got you covered.
Since it uses essential oils, it’s safe to use on any member of the family. You can spray some on the cat (good luck with that), or you can even spritz some on your clothes before a hike. Just be aware that the lemongrass formula will cause some discoloration, but that usually isn’t permanent.
The smell is extremely strong, though, so you’ll likely want to use it sparingly. Also, it’s fairly expensive, which is somewhat surprising, given it doesn’t have any costly pesticides inside.
All in all, though, Wondercide Natural is a good chemical-free option, but it’s not quite as formidable as the tick killers ranked above it.
6. mdxconcepts Zuba Dog’s Tick Control Spray
mdxconcepts Zuba is very similar to our #2 pick, in that it’s an organic spray that’s designed for as-needed treatment. While it smells better than the Vet’s Best, it’s not quite as effective at putting down bugs.
The primary ingredient is peppermint oil, which gives it a pleasing aroma while also repelling ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Notice we said “repel,” because once they’re on your dog and enjoying their free lunch, the spray isn’t likely to make them leave.
Peppermint oil is also supposed to have mood-elevating properties that dogs enjoy. We couldn’t tell if this caused tails to wag any harder than usual, but we figure anything that keeps ticks away likely makes dogs happy.
However, this stuff doesn’t work for very long, so you’ll need to keep the bottle handy to reapply it during long walks. If you have an outside dog, this won’t be of much help at all.
That said, mdxconcepts Zuba does have value, especially since it smells good and is chemical-free. It’s just not quite effective enough to crack the top half of this list.
7. Pet Naturals of Vermont FLEA + TICK Repellent
As you might expect from the name, Pet Naturals of Vermont is another pesticide-free formula. It primarily uses lemongrass and cinnamon to stop parasites.
The good news is that it will definitely kill ticks. The bad news is you have to get a direct hit on them for it to do so, and it doesn’t do much to stop them from hopping on in the first place.
In addition to the essential oils, the spray is fortified with vitamin E, which can help soothe your dog’s skin if it’s been itching.
The bottle is extremely small; it’s not something you’d use to protect your entire house. Its primary use seems to be for eliminating ticks as they come up, so you’re better off stashing it in a drawer until you find a bug, then spraying it with this. Of course, that means you have to let your pup get chomped on first.
The spray is fairly weak, so you may have trouble getting it to penetrate far enough to kill ticks if you have a long-haired dog.
It’s not a bad idea to have a bottle of Pet Naturals of Vermont handy to take care of any insects you find chomping on your pet, but it shouldn’t be your only (or first) means of defense.
8. TropiClean Natural Flea & Tick Spray
Apparently, ticks won’t eat oranges; at least, we figure that must be true, because the primary purpose of TropiClean Natural seems to be to make your pet smell like a giant, fuzzy piece of citrus.
The smell isn’t bad (assuming you like oranges), it’s just overpowering. It will linger on your pet (and in your house) for days after an application. And it doesn’t seem to bother bugs at all, as they’ll still jump at the chance to jump on your pup.
It will kill them, however, and it also takes out eggs and larvae. Unfortunately, you have to hit them with a good amount of the stuff first, so it may not be time- or cost-effective as a solution. Likewise, while you can spray it on carpets and bedding, it’s not going to do much good unless you can see what you’re shooting at.
TropiClean Natural is very similar to the spray for Pet Naturals of Vermont listed above it; however, given that its smell is far more pungent, we thought it best to rank it a slot below that other option.
9. Arava Natural Flea & Tick Prevention
The idea behind Arava Natural was seemingly to pour as many different essential oils as possible into one spray bottle and hope for the best. We counted no less than 11 different oils in here, so if the ticks don’t die, they should at least be too lubed-up to hang on to your dog.
This is actually an entire tick-defense system, with a shampoo you’re supposed to bathe your dogs with to kill existing parasites, then drops you apply to prevent re-infestation. Unlike other repellent drops that only get placed on the neck, however, this stuff has to be applied to the neck, along the spine, into the ear, and on the belly.
That’s a lot of work, and all it seems to be good for is getting ticks wet.
It neither kills ticks nor repels them, although the shampoo will leave your dog’s coat silky and shiny. It may also discolor white fur, and all those oils run a high risk of irritating any pooches with sensitive skin.
While we appreciate what Arava Natural was trying to do, you’re probably better off buying a cheap shampoo and following it up with one of the repellents featured higher on this list.
10. Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray
Natural Care is a plant-based formula that comes in an aerosol can, making it easy to apply over a wide area. Of course, you may not want your pet (or your family) breathing in aerosol fumes, and being able to apply it over your whole house isn’t much help when it does little to stop ticks.
It doesn’t smell good, and the can makes an angry hissing noise when you spray it, so it’s likely to spook skittish pups. There’s a good chance they’ll view using this stuff as a punishment, which is decidedly not what you’re going for.
That’s especially undesirable because the instructions state that you have to coat your entire animal with the spray, from head to tail (while shielding the eyes, of course). Good luck getting your pet to stand still to allow you to do that.
It’s hard to say whether the spray actually kills or repels ticks, because the aerosol can disperse the formula into such fine particles that it’s hard to get a good dose in any one spot.
An aerosol can probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice, Natural Care does more to repel dogs than it does ticks.
TevraPet Activate II is the generic version of one of the top tick repellents commercially available today (and, not coincidentally, the third-ranked option on this list). It’s incredible at killing and repelling parasites in all stages of their life cycle, and each application lasts a month at a time.
If you’re leery about using pesticides, though, Vet’s Best is nearly as effective, and it only uses essential oils to stop parasites. You’ll have to reapply it more frequently, but if you’re diligent, it’s more than capable of keeping bugs off your dog and out of your home.
There’s nothing worse than petting your dog and touching a tick (except maybe discovering a tick on you), so finding an effective repellent is extremely important. We hope these reviews have made it easier for you to find one you like, so that both you and your dog can stay protected.
Featured image credit: birgl, Pixabay
- A Quick Comparison of our Favorites for 2021:
- The 10 Best Tick Repellent for Dogs:
- 1. TevraPet Activate II Flea & Tick Prevention – Best Overall
- 2. Vet’s Best Tick Spray – Best Value
- 3. Bayer K9 Advantix II Tick Prevention – Premium Choice
- 4. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
- 5. Wondercide Natural Products Tick Control
- 6. mdxconcepts Zuba Dog’s Tick Control Spray
- 7. Pet Naturals of Vermont FLEA + TICK Repellent
- 8. TropiClean Natural Flea & Tick Spray
- 9. Arava Natural Flea & Tick Prevention
- 10. Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray