Last Updated: February 1, 2024 by Lisa Melillo
Choosing a flea and tick prevention for your pet can be an intimidating task. There are a lot of brands to choose from on the market and you want to make sure you get the best one. In this comparison review, we’ll be discussing the difference between two high-quality brands in this field – Simparica and Bravecto.
It might seem odd to give a perfectly healthy dog medication, but flea, tick, and heartworm prevention is an integral part of regular dog care! Protecting your pet from these ailments can prevent parasites, diseases, and a range of other resulting serious conditions.
Ticks are nasty little creatures that bring with them a slew of bad news. Just like humans, dogs can contract Lyme disease too, which can lead to lifelong symptoms. Fleas are not only a major pain to dogs and cause treacherous skin issues, but they also can transmit parasitic tapeworm! But that’s just the beginning of the problems.
Heartworm is a nasty parasite and a serious threat to a dog’s health. Spread through the bite of a mosquito, the worms mature inside of a dog’s body and multiple. They inhabit the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of their host, and you can imagine the complications they cause. If untreated, this infection will eventually lead to heart failure.
The best treatment for heartworms and these other pests is prevention, which brings us back to exploring these two brands. Find all the information you need to know in this Simparica vs Bravecto review.
Breaking it down
Flea and tick prevention medications are typically subdivided into application styles (topical and oral), pet species (cat or dog), and pet weight. Puppies and kittens are typically not given these medications until they are over a certain age and this should be verified with your vet before you begin.
Both Simparica and Bravecto include an active ingredient in the form of an arthropod neurotoxin. This essentially means that the medications operate by destroying the nervous system of the parasite, prohibiting it from breeding, and ultimately causing its death.
The neurotoxin is not harmful to your pet (unless you own a flea), but should still only be administered as directed. These medications should also be kept away from other pets and children.
These oral or topical applications are a nice alternative to flea collars, which can cause issues when in direct contact with human skin. The National Resources Defense Council reports that flea collars have “serious health consequences to humans” due to the levels of unsafe pesticide transference and harmful off-gassing. Also, it turns out they aren’t that effective.
Both Simparica and Bravecto medications are available in a wide range on chewy.com, and this is where we’ll source this review. To purchase flea and tick medications online, you will need a prescription from your vet.
Let’s get into our comparison of Simparica vs Bravecto.
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Simparica is a prevention medication for fleas and ticks and is relatively new to the market. Aside from the basic offering, Simparica also comes in another variety, called Trio, which along with flea and tick protection, also covers worm effectiveness.
One box of each of these medications will provide 6 doses, lasting 6 months. Naturally, Simparica Trio is more expensive than the basic flea and tick product. This product is made in Switzerland and distributed by the Zoetis corporation, out of Minnesota.
It’s available in a chewable tablet form in a wide range of dog weights. Most dogs enjoy a chewable tablet like a treat, so it’s easy to give it to them compared to attempting to apply a topical dose that might make them uncomfortable.
These chewable tablets should be issued once a month and will remain effective for 35 days. When a flea goes to settle in on your pup, you’ll be saying RIP before they lay any eggs at all.
Simparica medication is available in the following forms:
- Flea/tick: Chewable tablets in 6 weight ranges from 2.8lbs to 132lbs.
- Trio (heartworm, flea/tick, roundworm/hookworm): chewable tablets in 6 weight ranges from 2.8lbs to 132lbs.
This basic version of Simparica medication is meant for flea and tick control and prevention. It will not include protection against heartworm. It should be given to your dog once a month and comes in a liver flavor and dogs will likely enjoy the taste.
The Trio product by Simparica is a three-in-one medication to control and prevent flea, tick, and heartworm. It is issued to your pet once a month also comes in the same pup-palatable liver flavor.
Simparica was found to be more effective than NexGard at killing five different types of ticks within the first 24 hours. It will start killing fleas within 3 hours of application and ticks within 8 hours.
The medication will kill:
- Adult fleas
- 5 types of ticks (Lone star ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, American dog ticks, Black-legged ticks, Brown dog ticks)
- Trio will also kill roundworms, hookworms, and protect against heartworm
Simparica’s Flea and Tick Control is appropriate for dogs that are at least 6 months old and weigh at least 2.8lbs. For the Trio variety that also includes worm protection, puppies must be over 8 weeks old and weigh at least 2.8lbs. Both of these varieties are available in six different weight ranges as seen below:
- Gold box: 2.8-5.5 lbs
- Purple box: 5.6-11 lbs
- Caramel box: 11.1–22 lbs
- Teal box: 22.1-44 lbs
- Green box: 44.1-88 lbs
- Brown box: 88.1-132lbs
It’s important to be aware of the possible side effects when beginning a new medication for your pet. It’s normal to see some slight changes in stool or appetite, but much more than that may be a sign that you need to call your vet. The following list includes the known side effects of Simparica.
Possible side effects:
- Vomiting, diarrhea (if these symptoms don’t stop, call your vet)
- Low energy
- Tremors, seizures, difficulty walking (call a vet with these symptoms)
- Use caution with dogs that have a history of seizures
If you are ever unsure of a symptom or behavior change you are noticing in your pet, do not hesitate to call your vet.
The active pharmaceutical ingredient in Simparica is sarolaner, an insecticide that inhibits the nervous system of insects. In Simparica Trio, two other ingredients are included: Moxidectin, an endectocide acting against other parasites, and pyrantel pamoate, a nematocide against worms.
To condense the above information into a concise segment, the following bullet points will summarize the positives and negatives of this medication discussed above.
- Doesn’t have to be given with food, just give it to your dog like a treat
- No decrease of effectiveness at the end of its 35 days
- Effective against 5 types of ticks
- Trio is also effective against heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm
- No adverse reactions with other medications
- For dogs only
- Only available in chewable tablet form
- Must be administered monthly
Bravecto is the second brand we will cover in this review. It is also a flea and tick prevention medication and can be issued to dogs through a chewable tablet or topical solution. Bravecto also produces a separate flea and tick prevention medication for cats via topical solution.
A topical solution may be preferred over an oral tablet for pets that are very picky about treats or have extremely sensitive stomachs. For pets that tolerate the chewable tablet well, it is a much easier form of application and does not involve the risk of contacting the liquid medication or subject a sensitive pet to skin irritation.
Both application options have their positives and negatives and ultimately, your pet’s specific needs and sensitivities should be considered and discussed with your vet when deciding how to prescribe these medications.
Though the Simparica and Bravecto medications function in the same way, there are some key differences to note in the duration of effectiveness and type of protection. We’ll discuss more in the features listed below.
Bravecto can be administered in various forms. For dogs, it is available in chewable tablets and topical liquid dosing. For cats, it is available in topical liquid dosing only. One dose will protect your cat or dog for 12 weeks, which is longer than the standard flea and tick prevention medication.
One box will provide you with one dose of medication to last those 12 weeks. This medication is made in the USA, and it is produced by the MERCK Animal Health corporation.
Bravecto is effective against fleas and ticks, but not worms. As it will last 12 weeks, it only has to be re-administered every 3 months. The chewable tablet is pork-flavored and the majority of dogs will enjoy it.
This medication will begin killing fleas within 2 hours and ticks within 24 hours.
For dogs, the medication will kill:
- Adult fleas
- 3 types of ticks for 12 weeks (American dog ticks, Black-legged ticks, Brown dog ticks)
- Lone star tick for 8 weeks
For cats, the medication will kill:
- Adult fleas
- Two types of ticks (black-legged ticks and American dog ticks).
Bravecto’s Flea and Tick Medication is appropriate for dogs that are at least 6 months old and weigh over 4.4lbs. This applies to both the chewable tablet form and the topical application variety. For cats, via topical application, this medication is appropriate for cats that are at least 6 months old and weigh over 2.6 lbs.
The following weight classes are available for Bravecto prescriptions:
Dogs (both chew tablets and topical application):
- Yellow box: 4.4-9.9 lbs
- Orange box: 9.9-22 lbs
- Green box: 22-44 lbs
- Blue box: 44-88lbs
- Pink 88-123 lbs
- Green box: 2.6-6.2 lbs
- Blue box: 6.2-13.8 lbs
- Purple: 13.8-27.5 lbs
The possible side effects and symptoms of Bravecto are similar to the Simparica brand. However, it should be noted that there are symptoms unique to the topical solution in cats and dogs. These will include superficial issues with the skin and fur, as described below.
Possible side effects:
- Chewable tablet: Vomiting, diarrhea, low appetite.
- Topical: hair loss or moist rash (dogs) / scabs (cats)
- Serious symptoms (call your vet): refusal to eat, tremors and seizures, difficulty walking
- Use caution for dogs that have a history of seizures
Again, if a concern arises about any symptoms or changes you notice in your pet, be sure to contact your vet and discuss your observations. Some pets are very sensitive to medication changes. Symptoms, even normal and expected side effects, that last too long should be mentioned to your pet’s medical clinic.
The active pharmaceutical ingredient in Bravecto is Fluralaner. This ingredient is a neurotoxin of arthropods, eliminating pests before they have the chance to lay eggs or breed.
A note of caution when applying the topical solutions: do not contact the application site until it is dry. Keep children away from the pet to prevent contact. If you do experience interaction with the liquid, wash the affected area with soap and water immediately.
The liquid is highly flammable, so be sure that it is kept in a safe place and pets avoid flammable conditions, at all times, but especially when the medication is still damp.
The below bullet list will consolidate the above information into categories of pros and cons. Compare the below list of Bravecto pros and cons to the same of the Simparica brand for side-by-side analysis.
- No adverse reactions with other medications
- Begins to kill fleas within 2 hours of application
- Available in both chewable and topical forms
- Available for both dogs and cats
- Effective for 12 weeks
- Only effective against four ticks, not five. And not effective against Lone Star ticks (only up to 8 weeks) for the complete duration (a full 12 weeks) and not effective against worms
- Needs to be administered with food
- The lowest weight of dog it can accommodate is 4.4lbs
From our thorough review, we’ve decided to name the winner of this versus challenge: Bravecto.
Bravecto and Simparica are quality flea and tick medications that are FDA approved and do not interact negatively with other medications. Both of these brands are recommended by vets and are easy, convenient, and effective.
Simparica protects against more varieties of ticks than Bravecto does and also offers a variation that protects against worms. Bravecto is effective for three times longer (12 weeks), while Simparica must be reapplied monthly.
Each medication will require a prescription from your vet. You should seek advice from your vet about the type of flea/tick prevention to use with your pet, especially if your cat or dog has health issues or is pregnant, lactating, or younger than 6 months of age. Your area of domicile may affect the type of protection needed by your pet. And the presence of small children in your house may lean you towards a specific application type.
Based on the price of each package and the dosage included, the two medications come out to be about the same price, aside from the Trio variation, which is more expensive as it also includes worm protection.
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Bravecto is decidedly superior in this field due to its ability to last 12 weeks in between dosing. That comes down to four applications a year, versus the standard 12 with a monthly dosing medication. The brand also offers options for cats and the choice between a chewable tablet or a liquid topical application.
The wide range of options in the Bravecto brand allows for more choices when it comes to finding the best option for your pet. And our favorite part is the long period in between needed doses. Set your calendar reminder for once a quarter, versus every four weeks.
It is worth mentioning that Simparica offers a greater span of protection with more tick varieties, as well as worms, being combated. It is also able to accommodate dogs as low as 2.8lbs, though a vet might recommend half doses of other brands to accommodate your pet’s weight.
As stated previously, both brands are quality medications and will be effective in protecting against fleas and ticks.
With this thorough comparison review, the Bravecto and Simparica brands have both been analyzed completely. Ultimately, we chose the Bravecto brand as superior based on its variability and range of options.
However, it is in your, and your pet’s, best interest to discuss all possible options with your vet. When choosing a flea and tick medication for your pet, you need to consider the effects on both your pet and your family. Our pets are valued members of our households and deserve the same quality of care we bestow upon our human brethren.