How can I make tick prevention for dogs for more affordable?
Original Question: Hello Dr. Greenway. I am hoping you can answer a question for me regarding tick prevention medication. I have two dogs, a St. Bernard mix and a Shepherd/Collie mix. Last year I used Bravecto for my dogs. While it is certainly easy to use the pills they are expensive and for a seasons use for both dogs it cost me approximately $260 plus sales tax. The reason I used Bravecto was because it was recommended by my vet. I'm looking for a second opinion/option for a product that is equally as effective, easy to use (pill or topical) and more cost effective. I live in Oshawa and walk my dogs on a leash primarily in residential areas however I do take them to an off-leash park in Bowmanville from time to time. I realize that ticks are becoming more prevalent in southern Ontario and want to take the appropriate steps to protect my dogs even though we generally do not walk through wooded areas where ticks are most commonly found. I am a senior on a fixed income and while I want the best for my dog’s money is an issue so I have to manage my finances carefully. - Ken
I can totally understand the situation you’re in. I think we all have to think this way because veterinary care is expensive these days and we all have financial priorities in our life. As much as we love them, we can’t always make our pets the first priority for our funds. It’s great if we can but realistically most people have to be judicious with their finances.
So there is not a really great answer to your question. The common products that are out there are all around the same price point and each one has its positives and negatives so I would recommend you discuss them individually with your veterinarian.
Some people will try to find a natural product that’s in a pet supply store rather than a prescription product from a veterinarian. You’ll often find products out there claiming to control ticks just as well as these prescription products do. I’ve heard the occasional owner say that they think it worked just as well but far more often I hear owners say that they didn’t work at all. If you’re considering one of these products, my advice would be to take a look at it, show your veterinarian, ask for their input, and then call the company that made it and ask for the research trial they did to confirm its effectiveness.
There is another way to reduce the cost of tick medicine for dogs which is to order the medication online. There is usually a nice discount from companies that sell these drugs through websites. At this time we have not heard of any fraudulent products being sold, but if you make sure you’re getting it from a reputable source then you can be confident in the product you’re buying. Keep in mind that you will need a written prescription from your veterinarian to order this product. Some veterinarians will decline to give you that written prescription because you’re asking them to do something that will give somebody else business. But simply remind them that it is part of their licensing that they are required to give you a written prescription if you request it.
The last way to save money on tick prevention for dogs is to not buy the product at all. You could look at really controlling the lifestyle of your pets to prevent or completely eliminate their exposure to ticks. This may be really difficult where you are and you may not want to reduce their quality of life to achieve this. If they are used to running around in fields and they would be frustrated if they couldn’t, then this wouldn’t be a very good option but it’s certainly a cost-effective one. You could reduce their exposure to long grasses and order pet clothing that prevents ticks from attaching to the skin, and most importantly, thoroughly look for ticks every day. If you remove a tick within 24 hours, you eliminate the possibility of it transmitting Lyme disease to your dog. The problem with your breed is that they are large, have burly coats and are often dark in color making it a lot more difficult to find ticks on them. You’ll have to judge these options for yourself and don’t forget to include your veterinarian in the decision as well.
Thanks for your question. I wish you the best of luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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