What is the Best Flea and Tick Treatment for Pets in Australia?

LAST UPDATED 14 February 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski

With an ever-growing number of flea and tick prevention products for pets released each year, it's not surprising that many Australian pet owners don't know where to start.

Which products treat which parasites? Does newer mean better? Which flea treatment is actually the most effective, and most importantly - which is the safest?

The truth is, the best flea and tick treatment for your pet depends on a number of important factors. We've broken it down for you into 4 different points, so you can make the right decision for your pet!

Contents

1. Do you want to treat for fleas and ticks, or just fleas?

2. Do you prefer Topical vs Oral?

3. Frequency - do you prefer Monthly vs 3-monthly?

4. Would you prefer to combine with heartworm prevention and worming?

TIP: A surprisingly easy way to pick the perfect prevention regime for you

See what our veterinarians recommend

Cost: Which flea treatment is the best value?

Table: A complete comparison of ALL parasite prevention products, and what parasites they DO and DON'T cover for!

The Best New-Generation Flea and Tick Treatments

Nexgard Spectra nexgard spectra large dog

A monthly chew which protects against fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and heartworm. Sister product to Nexgard, which is a flea and tick treatment only.

Bravecto bravecto spot on for dogs blue

Protects against fleas and ticks. Available as a topical spot-on which lasts for 6 months, or chewable which lasts for 3 months. Spot-on version available for cats.

Credelio Plus credelio plus medium dog orange

A monthly chewable tablet that protects against fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms. Sister product to Credelio, which is a flea and tick treatment only.

Revolution Plus revolution plus orange medium cat

Monthly protection for your cat against fleas, ticks, heartworm, intestinal worms and ear mites in one easy spot on treatment.

To treat for fleas and ticks, or just fleas?

The first thing to consider is which parasites are actually a risk in your area. While fleas are generally considered to be Australia-wide, ticks tend to have geographical hot spots.

Paralysis Ticks

Generally, paralysis ticks are mostly found along the East Coast of Australia. However, vet clinics as far west as Melbourne have reported paralysis tick cases in recent years. Only the paralysis tick causes deadly paralysis.

Brown Dog Ticks

While the Brown Dog Tick and the Cattle Tick do not cause paralysis, they can spread diseases, such as Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis to dogs, which can be fatal. Generally the risk to cats from Brown Dog Ticks is low.

Bush Ticks

Bush ticks are generally associated with cattle, but dogs, horses and some marsupials and birds can be affected. They can transmit Babesiosis to dogs, which can cause fatal anaemia.

Approximate distribution of ticks based on confirmed reports (Barker & Barker 2021 (in press). "Ticks of Australiasia". Magnolia. Source: Nexgard Tick Check

Tick Preventative Recommendations

For Dogs

For dogs along the east coast at risk of paralysis ticks, we recommend using isoxazoline-based products such as Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto or Nexgard.

For dogs living along the east coast in areas at risk of both paralysis ticks and brown dog ticks, we recommend an isoxazoline-based product (as above) as well as a repellant product such as Seresto.

For non-east coast locations in Brown Dog Tick areas, we recommend kill and repel products such as Seresto.

For Cats

For cats who spend time outdoors, we recommend tick preventatives such as Bravecto or Revolution Plus.

While maps are helpful, we recommend checking with your local vet clinic as they will know which ticks are a problem in your area. It's also important to know that ticks can travel, such as on pets, clothing and vehicles, so we recommend erring on the side of caution and protecting your pet with a tick preventative.

Topical or Oral?

Note: there is currently no oral treatment for cats that covers for ticks, only topical treatments or a cat tick collars.

So which is better, topical or oral treatments? In general, most vets in high-risk tick areas believe that oral treatments are the most effective form of flea and tick prevention in dogs. This is partly due to the fact that at the moment, oral treatments tend to contain newer drugs, which seem to have less resistance. An exception to this is the recently released Bravecto spot-on which is available for dogs and cats.

Another reason why vets tend to prefer oral treatments is that there is less room for human error. With oral treatments, efficacy is generally guaranteed so long as your dog swallows the chew (or tablet) and doesn't vomit soon after. Topical treatments, on the other hand, require a little more skill with application, and won't work if your dog gets wet up to 48 hours afterwards, or if you apply to the wrong part of the fur. Because many topicals need to be absorbed through the skin in order to work, the pet owner needs to ensure the liquid is applied onto the skin - just splatting it onto the outer layer of fur won't work.

Do topical flea treatments get absorbed through the skin? This is a common question and unfortunately the answer differs depending on the product. While most topical treatments need to get absorbed through the skin in order to work (which is why you need to part the fur so well!), some products work by dispersing along the outside of the coat, in the fatty lipid layer of your pet's natural skin oils. For more detail about a particular product, we recommend checking with the manufacturer.

To summarise, here are the pro's and cons of each:

Frequency of Treatment

There are now flea and tick prevention products to suit a whole range of schedules. Some brands only need to be given every 3, 4 or 6 months. This is extremely convenient if you are also giving a 3-monthly wormer.

For dogs, Bravecto chewables are given every 3 months, Seresto controls paralysis ticks and fleas for 8 months (as well as brown dog ticks and bush ticks for 4 months), and Bravecto Spot Ons protect against fleas and ticks for a full 6 months.

Bravecto Spot On For Cats provides protection for 3 months from fleas and paralysis ticks, while Seresto controls both fleas and ticks for 8 months.

However, there are still plenty of people who prefer to give a monthly treatment, as they might find it easier to remember, or perhaps they are already giving monthly heart worm tablets and it lines up well with this. Simparica is a good example of a monthly flea and tick treatment.

Fortnightly application is generally considered less convenient, but there may be reasons you wish to choose a fortnightly application.

See the table at the bottom of this article to find out how long each product lasts for.

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To combine with worming, or not to combine?...

Which is best - a flea and tick only product, or a combination product which takes care of worming too? The truth is, it all depends on your personal preference. Many of the different products use similar drugs, so you don't need to worry about a 'combination' product being less effective than a 'flea and tick only' product.

Giving a flea and tick treatment separate to worming can have its benefits - for example, some people might only wish to give flea treatment in the warmer times of the year, but need to continue worming all year round. But for other people, combining everything they need into one treatment is very convenient indeed.

All-in-One Treatments

Now, we should just make something clear - there is no true 'all-in-one' product in existence (yet!). The term 'all in one' gets thrown around by manufacturers a lot, but alas no - there is currently no single product that covers absolutely every significant Australian parasite.

There are, however a few products which come close:

There are plenty of products on the market which cover for fleas, worms, and heart worm, but don't have tick coverage. These products include Comfortis Plus, Sentinel, Advocate, and Revolution.

Shop All In One Flea And Worming For Dogs

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How to Choose Which Parasite Prevention You Need

The easiest way to know which parasite prevention you need is actually quite simple - start by looking at your heartworm regime. (Note: the below advice applies for dogs only, as the heartworm injection is not available for cats.)

Ask yourself: Do I want to get a yearly heartworm injection at the vet?

If you do choose to get the yearly heartworm injection, you'll still need to give an intestinal wormer every month. It might then be most convenient to give your flea and tick prevention every month, too, so they line up together. The best flea and tick option for you, therefore, would be the monthly Simparica, Nexgard or Credelio chews. Alternatively, you could give the 3-monthly Bravecto Chews or 6-monthly Bravecto Spot On, and give a monthly wormer such as Drontal.

If you do not choose to get a heart worm injection, you'll need to give heartworm prevention every month. It might then be most convenient to combine your flea and tick prevention with your heartworm and intestinal worming. Therefore, the best preventative for you might be a combination product like Nexgard Spectra, or you can use a separate flea and tick product like Simparica with a wormer that covers for heart worm and intestinal worms such as Interceptor.

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What do our vets recommend?

After an educated review of flea and tick products? We asked our in-house vets what they think, and what they personally prefer...

Dr Carla - I am from Queensland, where ticks are particularly prevalent. For dogs, I always recommend one of the newer oral chews such as Simparica Trio or Credelio Plus as they work so effectively against paralysis ticks. For cats, I recommend the new Bravecto Plus spot-on tubes.

Dr Kes - For dogs, I personally recommend Nexgard Spectra. It's a monthly chewable that covers the four major parasites - paralysis ticks, fleas, heartworm and intestinal worms. For cats, I recommend a combination topical treatment such as Revolution Plus.

Dr Teagan - For dogs I highly recommend using one of the new generation combined flea and tick treatments such as Bravecto, Nexgard or Simparica for reliable, year round protection from ticks and fleas. For cats, I use and recommend Revolution as it includes protection against heartworm and intestinal worms in addition to fleas. For cats in tick paralysis areas I find the safest tick preventative is to keep them indoors! If they must go outside then I recommend using Bravecto spot-on for tick prevention.

Dr Elise - In Melbourne I was very happy recommending Advocate monthly for flea, intestinal worm and heartworm prevention for my dog and my client's pets. However on relocating back to Queensland and living in a tick prone zone I have had to switch to a product that includes reliable tick preventation like the 3-monthly chewable Bravecto or monthly Nexgard Spectra. For indoor cats I still recommend Advocate however if they head outside when ticks are around I recommend adding in Frontline spray every 3 weeks.

Want some advice on which product is best for your pet? Visit our Vet Pet Plan page.

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Which product is the best value?

Here we have it - the million dollar question. Which is the cheapest flea treatment? As you may have realised, it's difficult to directly compare the cost and value of different flea and tick treatments, as they differ in how frequently they need to be given. So we've taken the hard work out for you and done a bit of a comparison table based on their value per month.

For the purpose of this comparison, we've provided the cost for three different sized dogs - 5kg (small breed), 20kg (medium breed), and 40kg (large breed). We've also focused on products that protect against both fleas and ticks, at their recommended dosage for both parasites.

Note - for a comparison of which parasites each product covers, see our table at the bottom of this article.

Product Name Frequency Pack Size Cost Per Pack Cost Per Month
bravecto small dog orange

Bravecto chew

Every 3 months* 1 chew

5kg dog: $47.99

20kg dog: $47.99

40kg dog: $47.99

5kg dog: $16

20kg dog: $16

40kg dog: $16

bravecto spot on for dogs blue

Bravecto spot-on

Every 6 months 1 topical tube

5kg dog: $68.86

20kg dog: $68.86

40kg dog: $70.81

5kg dog: $11.48

20kg dog: $11.48

40kg dog: $11.80

nexgard medium

Nexgard

Every month 6 chews

5kg dog: $76.99

20kg dog: $81.99

40kg dog: $85.99

5kg dog: $12.83

20kg dog: $13.66

40kg dog: $14.33

seresto puppy small dogs

Seresto

Every 8 months** 1 collar

5kg dog: $49.99

20kg dog: $49.99

40kg dog: $49.99

5kg dog: $6.25

20kg dog: $6.25

40kg dog: $6.25

simparica flea tick chews large dog

Simparica

Every month 6 chews

5kg dog: $69.99

20kg dog: $73.59

40kg dog: $80.99

5kg dog: $11.67

20kg dog: $12.27

40kg dog: $13.50

advantix dog large red

Advantix

Every 2 weeks 6 pipettes

5kg dog: $69.63

20kg dog: $73.56

40kg dog: $76.97

5kg dog: $23.21

20kg dog: $24.52

40kg dog: $25.65

*For ticks alone, Bravecto chew only needs to be given every 4 months.

**Seresto controls paralysis ticks for 8 months, however it's repellant action on paralysis ticks lasts 4 months. It also only controls brown dog ticks and bush ticks for 4 months. For fleas alone, Seresto has 8 months coverage.

Note: The prices above were accurate at time of publication. Prices may fluctuate; please consult links above to see current prices of any specific products.

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Complete Comparison Table

See a complete breakdown of all available flea and tick products below. These tables provide an unbiased comparison of all products, what parasites they each cover, and for how long.

(Skip to Table for Cat Products)

DOG Products Comparison Table

Product Ticks Fleas Heartworm Intestinal Worms Tapeworm Type
Advantage 1 month Topical
Advantix 2 weeks 4 weeks Topical
Advocate 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Aristopet Fleas, Heartworm & Worms 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Aristopet All Wormer 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Bravecto 4 months Chewable
6 months Topical
3 months Chewable
6 months Topical
  • Chewable
  • Topical
Capstar 24 hours Tablet
Comfortis Plus 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable
Credelio 1 month 1 month Chewable Tablet
Credelio Plus 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable Tablet
Drontal 1 month* 1 month*
  • Chewable
  • Tablet
  • Liquid
Evicto 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Frontline Plus 2 weeks 4 weeks Topical
Heartguard Plus 1 month 1 month Chewable
Interceptor 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable
Kiltix 6 weeks 5 months Collar
Milbemax 1 month 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Milpro 1 month 1 month* 1 month* Topical
Neovela 1 month 1 month Topical
Neoveon Plus 2 weeks 4 weeks Topical
Neovet 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Nexgard 1 month 1 month Chewable
Nexgard Spectra 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable
Paragard 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Revolution for Puppies 1 month 1 month Topical
Sentinel Spectrum 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable
Seresto 8 months# 8 months Collar
Simparica 1 month 1 month Chewable
Simparica Trio 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month Chewable
Valuheart 1 month Tablet
* Please Note: The monthly worming recommendation is based on an adult dog not receiving any additional worming control (such as in an all in one product). For dogs on all in one products, we recommend 3-monthly tapeworming prevention with either a tapeworm tablet (purchasable from your vet) or an all-wormer. For a worming guide for puppies under 12 weeks of age, see our veterinary written article New Puppy Guide. # Seresto controls paralysis ticks for 8 months, however it's repellant action on paralysis ticks lasts 4 months. It also only controls brown dog ticks and bush ticks for 4 months.

CAT Products Comparison Table

Product Paralysis Ticks Fleas Heartworm Intestinal Worms Tapeworm Type
Advocate 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Advantage 1 month Topical
Bravecto 3 months 3 months Topical
Bravecto Plus 10 weeks 3 months 3 months 3 months Topical
Capstar 24 hours Chewable Tablet
Drontal 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Evicto 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Frontline Plus 1 month Topical
Frontline Spray 3 weeks
Also controls brown dog ticks
2 months Topical Spray
Milbemax 1 month 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Milpro 1 month 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Neovela 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Neovet 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Neoveon Plus 1 month Topical
Paragard 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Profender 1 month* 1 month* Tablet
Revolution 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Revolution Plus 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month Topical
Seresto 8 months 8 months Collar
* Please Note: The monthly worming recommendation is based on an adult cat not receiving any additional worming control (such as in an all in one product). For cats on all in one products, who prey or scavenge on rodents, we recommend monthly tapeworming prevention with either a tapeworm tablet (purchasable from your vet) or an all-wormer. For all other cats, we recommend 3-monthly tapeworm protection. For a worming guide for kittens under 12 weeks of age, see our veterinary written article New Kitten Guide. # Seresto repels and controls paralysis ticks for 8 months.

Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Heartworm Facts Every Pet Owner Should Know

Tick paralysis in dogs and cats

Your guide to fleas, ticks and worms

Adverse Reactions to Flea, Tick and Worming Products

Everything You Need To Know About Ehrlichiosis, The Tick-Borne Disease Emerging in Australia

Is a Tick Collar Enough?

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