There are no two ways about it – people love their pets far beyond any reasonable bounds, giving them an outrageous amount of affection and attention for relatively little return. No matter what it is, it has likely been carefully provided with the very best accommodations, diet, and entertainment its species can hope for and has a dedicated and determined human doing their best to protect it from harm.
People’s determination to pamper their pets has led to a massive industry all by itself, with a whole world of consumer products out there to help you keep your pet feeling at their best. From food to bedding to toys and trainers, there seems to be nothing about pet care that one can’t find on sale in not one or two but several different varieties.
Arguably the most spoiled kind of pet of them all are dogs, who have one serious advantage over the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to winning the prestigious title of ‘man’s best friend.’ While we can love any animal under the sun and historically have come close to doing just that, dogs are among the very small handful of animals capable of reciprocating our feelings.
Anyone with even a basic grasp of emotion will readily understand why this so instantly and completely endears those few animals to us. When cross-referenced with animals of the size and shape to really be kept as house pets, dogs are a clear winner in cultures around the globe and going back whole centuries at the very least.
Knowing as we do that dogs genuinely love us back, humans have been known to go to significant personal expense to see them properly cared for, often to a far greater extent than that same human might go to save another person.
Dog food, just for an example, is painstakingly crafted to make sure that the dog is fed the exact amount of every nutrient it needs, categorized by breed, age, weight, and lifestyle at the very least. A breathtaking array of toys and games are available to make sure that every dog is certain to find something that will interest them and get them up and exercising.
Our determination to see to it that our dogs have only the best, combined with a deep and bilateral emotional bond with the dog, has led us to take similarly extensive measures to make sure that nothing hurts them; people have been known to go to extreme lengths to save dogs from various natural disasters and to invest at least as much in veterinary care as they would during a similarly injured human.
In 2014, the motion picture John Wick gained a cult-classic status for its dramatization of a person’s connection with his dog. Although real life is not quite as impressive, people are devoted to their dogs to an incredible degree and have put themselves at risk for them many times throughout history.
One needn’t wait for some kind of disaster to take place to protect your dog, though – there are far more mundane things that can also threaten the dog’s health if left unchecked. While they might not actually kill your dog, parasites inside and out have the potential to damage your dog’s health and comfort and should be identified and removed at the earliest possible opportunity.
Parasitic species can infest a dog of nearly any age; some species of parasites are actually transmitted from mother to embryo, finding them inside the newborn puppy. Intestinal worms of various kinds make their way into your dog from a variety of sources and can begin to multiply in the dog’s digestive tract, attacking the dog’s food and organs and causing the dog to lose nutrition and energy as a result
This kind of infestation will mean your dog is getting less energy out of its food, so one of the signs to look for is a lethargic dog with the telltale swollen belly caused by a buildup of worms. As mentioned, we’ve made a broad spectrum of products for every possible canine need, and this is no exception – your choices of deworming medicines are many and varied, with something available for every possible profile of dog.
External parasites exist as well, and most attempt to attack your dog’s blood vessels; examples are both ticks and fleas, which poke a hole in the dog’s skin and suck blood through the dermal blood vessels. Getting rid of them is somewhat easier, as they are more exposed – one can use a topical tick killer, flea collar, and other such means to get rid of the pests directly.
Unfortunately, because they attack from the outside, blood-sucking parasites need only hop right back on once your first attempt at fumigation is finished. To keep them off, you’ll want a preventative pill, which makes the dog’s blood inedible for them by infusing it with chemicals that are harmless to mammals but will kill insects.
There are plenty of pest prevention pills on the market, so it can be understandably difficult to choose between them. Still, some options have distinguished themselves by being the most common choices for dog owners the world over; two of the most common preventative pills on the market are known as Bravecto and Nexguard, both of them oral pills given to the dog on a set dosage schedule.
Both of these can do the trick to rid your dog, and your home, of ticks, fleas, and other unwanted visitors, and it is highly recommended that you treat your dog with at least one of them if they are out and about a lot. How do you know which one to use?
Breaking It Down
Because these are pest control pills, each will be judged first and foremost on if they can get rid of parasites and for how long – if they can’t manage that, then there’s nothing else to talk about. Other important considerations for canine medication include how many doses will be needed and at what intervals, how much a full cycle of treatment might cost with each one, and whether or not the dogs will swallow them willingly. Dog owners the world over have struggled to get their pets to take medicine, and it is a definite plus for any pill if the dog will scarf it down with no further encouragement.
Bravecto is a single-use chewable treat that introduces the chemical fluralaner to your dog’s bloodstream, rendering it toxic to the ticks and fleas that try to feed off your pet. The tablets are two or three centimeters in diameter. The weight of each one is calculated against the weight and age of the dog it is intended to treat, with the package color-coded to ensure that you don’t accidentally over or under-dose your pet.
Although they are oral medications, the troublesome habit many dogs have of spitting out pills is less problematic with this medication; because it has been formed into a chewable lump as opposed to a hard tablet, it is less likely to trigger a dog’s natural gag reflex and is faster to dissolve on the tongue. The whole dose has been flavored with animal fat to make it appetizing for the dog, further reducing the chance of it being spat up.
A single dose of Bravecto is rated to keep your dog pest-free for 12 weeks, and promises to terminate flea and tick infestations and prevent new colonies of either insect from settling in. This process begins within a few hours of the dose being administered and reaches well over 90 percent effectiveness. It is also proven effective against the troublesome Lone Star tick, which can be particularly difficult to eradicate once it has picked a host.
It is worth noting that Bravecto is not only effective in dogs; cats, perhaps the second most popular house pet in the world, are equally susceptible to parasites and can be treated with Bravecto as well. Insult a vet about adjusting the dosage for cats, or seek out a Bravecto pill formulated specifically for the feline digestive system, immune system, and palette.
Although they are the best choices, don’t sweat if you find that none of these options are available. The Bravecto brand also offers topical solutions to kill pests directly, making it a viable solution even if your pet absolutely refuses to take oral medication. Keep in mind that topical medication lasts a significantly shorter time and that renewing it repeatedly will rapidly cost more than a set schedule of oral doses.
Bravecto costs approximately $60 USD per pill, although this price can vary depending on your retailer and what strength of pill you need; it is in many cases a prescription item, so be prepared with veterinary documentation when you go to purchase it.
Making a choice about a full course of treatment with Bravecto can be difficult, as it does eventually wear off and will need to be reapplied regularly every three to four months, and many pet owners will opt not to use it at all until they detect signs of an infestation. While this does put you in a more reactive role with regards to your dog’s health, it saves a considerable amount of time and money on doses that may not have been necessary in the first place.
Bravecto should not be used on puppies less than six months of age, as their bodies will change too rapidly for it to remain effective and the trace chemicals that remain in their systems might make it medically unsound to give them another dose in time.
Additionally, it is less effective against the Lone Star tick than other medicines, and more frequent doses may be required to keep them off; see your veterinarian about how often one can safely administer Bravecto before changing your dog’s treatment plan.
- Hard for the dog to reject
- Several months of protection
- Color-coded packages for safety
- Suitable for dogs and cats alike
- Treats Lone Star tick infestations
- Prescription required
- Not recommended for puppies
This is a chewable medication designed for rapid action against tick or flea infestation and is formulated to be administered over a longer period of time in a more protracted treatment plan to keep the effects fresh and reliable.
Every tablet is approximately one to two centimeters across, with weight varying ]by what size of dog they are being used to treat; a full treatment plan for Nexguard will generally consist of three doses, spaced in predetermined increments as indicated on the medicine’s packaging.
Because it is made deliberately moist and flavored with beef extract, Nexguard can be easily slipped into your dog’s bowl with other wet food; as a soft chewable, there is no harm in administering it alone as an oral treatment. If needed, it can be safely sliced or torn into smaller sections, as long as they are administered within a maximum of fifteen minutes from start to finish.
Nexgard has passed FDA approval, a mark of considerable prestige for any medication. The FDA is considered among the most stringent regulatory bodies for medications in the world, and the FDA seal of approval can mean a lot to buyers both within and outside of the United States of America.
It has been clinically proven to be effective at fighting off all the most notorious parasites for dogs, including the black-legged flea and the deer ticks that may spread Lyme disease from mammal to mammal; humans are susceptible to Lyme as well, so getting rid of it is of benefit to you and your pet alike.
There are few kinds of dogs that cannot be treated with Nexgard – it can be safely administered to puppies at eight weeks, and there are doses available for dogs as low as four pounds. The active chemical, afoxolaner, is far gentler than those used in some competing medication, at the cost of a certain amount of time effective within the dog’s body.
A single course of treatment with Nexgard is three months, with one tablet administered at the first of each. Every package comes with a trio of tablets in whatever weight you need for your dog, so you will only have to buy one package at a time. It can be used in a reactionary manner as well, with only one pill administered each time an infestation is detected.
The price for a single package of Nexgard is approximately $60 USD, or roughly $20 per dose. It is intended for canine use only, and only within the weight and age class marked on the packaging; while one can use a pill cutter to alter the dosage, this should be done exclusively with a veterinarian’s supervision and advice.
Nexgard is not for use on lactating or pregnant dogs and should be avoided in dogs destined for breeding within the month. Dogs with a history of arthritis, seizures, or appetite problems should receive veterinary recommendations before being given Nexgard.
Being as it is a medication, this product may require a prescription to buy, and quite possibly a separate prescription for every strength you intend to purchase. This is especially relevant to anyone planning to order online or across borders, and care should be taken that the appropriate information is entered when ordering to avoid regulatory issues.
- Suitable for puppies
- Multiple pills per purchase
- Flexible treatment schedule
- Less problematic for small dogs
- FDA vetted and approved
- Weaker active ingredients
- A shorter period of reliable protection
Winner – Bravecto
Although there are multiple advantages to Nexgard, the final decision of what medication is best for your dog needs to come down to which one can protect the dog best, and for how long. Although a full treatment plan with Nexgard will achieve similar results to a single dose of Bravecto, the fact remains that Bravecto is the more potent medication and runs less risk of being forgotten or lost in between doses.
More importantly, it is suitable for two types of pets and comes in an externally usable format as well, making it the more versatile option of the two. Nexgard does not offer a topical pest killer and carries an explicit warning that it is for use in canines only.
It is worth noting that both options are of roughly similar price and effectiveness in the long run, targeting many of the same pests in the same manner as one another and requiring the same general care, methods of administration, and caution prior to use. Additionally, most places where either pill is approved have given them both the same legal requirement for a veterinary prescription.
Should you find that your local retailer does not stock one, or that you live somewhere where one of these options has yet to be approved, ask your veterinarian about getting a prescription for the other one instead so as not to leave your dogs without protection any longer than absolutely necessary.
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Getting a pest killer like Nexgard or Bravecto is an important part of keeping your dog healthy, so you want to make sure that no matter what brand you get, nothing happens to ruin the medication once you have it. Here are some hints from the pros that you can use to ensure that your dog’s medication stays usable for the longest possible amount of time and that your pet remains tick-free along with it.
The first step in procuring any such medication for your dog is, of course, knowing that your dog needs it. Learn to recognize the signs of a parasitic infestation as soon as you see them so that you know what you are looking at as well as what needs to be done about it. If your dog starts scratching or biting itself excessively, or if you think you feel solid flecks in their fur, you may need to examine them more closely for ticks and fleas.
Fleas and ticks, the two main external parasites that these products are intended to kill, have similar feeding mechanisms but very different nesting habits, so each one will need to be checked separately. It is entirely possible for a dog to have both, and the urgency to use a pest killer grows proportionally if they do.
Fleas look like small black specks on your dog’s skin and will nest in nearly any part of the body, working their way through the fur until they have found a place to latch onto a subdermal blood vessel. They feed in smaller amounts but on a much more constant basis than ticks, causing a signature itching sensation to their host.
Ticks will, by and large, make their way to the dog’s head, attaching themselves to the folds of the ears if possible and moving on to the snout and eyebrows if there is no room left. They are, to a certain degree, seasonal, and may drop off once they have finished feeding. A tick changes drastically once it has latched onto a host. Most appear as small darkly colored arachnids shaped like teardrops or discs but will grow light brown or green as they feed, bloating to several times their original size.
Keep in mind that both kinds of pests are attracted less to dogs in particular and far more to mammalian bodies and that humans offer a far more inviting host with less fur and more body area. Having detected a tick or flea infestation on your pet, you should carefully check bedding and members of the household to ensure that the infestation has not begun to spread; additionally, monitor yourself and those around you carefully for symptoms of diseases that these pests are known to spread, including the notorious Lyme disease.
Should you confirm that your dog is infested, sequester them from any other people or pets and contact your veterinarian to ask for a prescription for tick killers. Be ready with the dates of your dog’s most recent treatments and any relevant events in the dog’s medical history, as these are all important factors in considering whether or not it might be dangerous to treat a dog orally.
When filling the prescription, take extreme care to match the recommended dosage with the product you are being given, as well as the number of doses. Although there are safety precautions in place on several levels to ensure that the buyer is only given what they have been instructed to procure, no harm is done by carefully inspecting your purchase before accepting it.
Make sure to count up how many tablets you are buying, and if possible, open the box to actually count the number within; most importantly, take note of the pill’s weight and see that it matches the prescription for your particular dog.
In a similar vein, thoroughly familiarize yourself with the instructions for your chosen medication before administering it to your dog, including the treatment schedule and complementary treatments if either one exists. Look for a listing of what categories of dogs are not supposed to take this medication and ascertain that your dog is none of them, and learn the symptoms of negative side effects in case your dog begins to display any of them after treatment.
Nexgard and Bravecto have both wisely moved away from small, hard pills that feel entirely unnatural to the canine mind and trigger a gag reflex or encourage rejection, and many manufacturers have followed suit. If you are somewhere where these medications are available over the counter, you should be seeking out ones with a similar chewy texture and meat flavoring to make sure that your dog has a positive experience when taking their medicine.
If there are any pills left over once your dog has been given its initial dose, store them in a cool, dry place with the dog’s name and the date of both the previous dose and all doses to come clearly and legibly marked on the box. It is often a sound practice to set yourself a reminder of some kind for future pill dates; forgetting them by even a few days may be enough time to render the dog vulnerable to parasites once more.
Once you have dosed your pet properly, check back in a few hours to see if the medication has taken hold; thanks to the construction of their mouthparts, ticks can remain attached to a dog even after they are dead, and will need to be removed by hand. Fleas remain far more mobile than ticks when feeding, and may either fall off as they bite into the medicated dog or jump off upon detecting that their host is no longer suitable.
A final thing to keep in mind when trying to keep your pet pest-free is that, like many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular baths and a clean environment will lower the need for medication in the first place and leave you with a happy and healthy dog at no extra charge.
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