It’s been two years since I became a fur mom to two energetic, funny, and sometimes stinky dogs. I don’t think I would survive 2020 without them. My dogs are such an important part of my life that I make sure I prioritize their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, there are health issues that needed constant preventive measures. Among these are fleas and tick infestation.
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Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are based on personal experience and shouldn’t be treated as a proper consultation. All content and information on this website are for information and educational purposes only do not constitute professional advice of any kind and do not establish any kind of professional-client relationship by your use of this website. To ensure the health and wellness of your Shih Tzu, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN before administering medications.
Now, going back to today’s topic.
How to tell if a dog has fleas and ticks?
A little back story.
In December 2019, I took my Shih Tzu to the pet groomers for the first time. Three days later, I noticed that his skin has become incredibly itchy. I assumed that he’s uncomfortable with his new haircut.
Days went by, and I noticed my other dog Kuya has started scratching, too, which isn’t normal.
One day, while I was helping them get to bed, I noticed something crawling in my arm. It was a tick.
I checked both of them and found scabs on their skin.
I couldn’t sleep anymore. I took a small plastic container, poured a few drops of 70% isopropyl alcohol, and started removing as many ticks and fleas as I possibly can.
Yeah, it was in the middle of the night.
It was disgusting, and at the same time, I felt sorry for them.
I started blaming myself. It was heartbreaking.
A few days later, having ticks and fleas crawling on the floor and wall has become a common sight. It was horrible.
The next weekend, we went to the vet, and she prescribed Bravecto chewable for dogs.
But before we dive into how incredible this is, let’s talk about fleas and ticks first.
How do pets get fleas and ticks?
There are three ways they could get infected. First, when they come into contact with contaminated water or soil. Second, through direct exposure to animals who carry these parasites. Third, via humans. Yes, you heard it right. We can be carriers of ticks and fleas on dogs. However, these parasites prefer to live and breed in our pets.
In our case, I suspect that Bunso got it from the pet groomers. Then the ticks made their way to Kuya.
What kills ticks on dogs instantly?
70% isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol. Get a shallow container and pour 50 ml (or more) of isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. Next, have your Shih Tzu sit comfortably on a chair or lie on the floor. Then, try your best to remove as many ticks as you can and put them in the small container. Make sure that the ticks are fully submerged in the alcohol. You will notice that the alcohol will kill the parasites within seconds.
For added sanitary measures, avoid killing the tick by crushing it between your nails.
Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after removing the ticks on your dog.
Are Shih Tzu prone to ticks?
Before I got my Shih Tzu, I asked the breeder if the dog has fleas and ticks. I explained that I already have a dog at home, and I don’t want to compromise his health and safety by introducing another dog that is infested by parasites. I was assured that the Shih Tzu is perfectly healthy, fully vaccinated, and has no history of having fleas in ticks. In fact, they don’t allow their dogs to roam outside their home. Thankfully, the breeder is true to his word.
Two months later, we went to the pet groomers for his first haircut. And from my suspicion, that’s where he got it. All dogs regardless of the breed are prone to ticks and other parasites. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to provide preventive measures with the help of oral treatments, and a clean and safe environment for our pets.
How do I know if a Shih Tzu has ticks?
- The skin has been incredibly itchy. Sometimes, he would wake up in the middle of the night just to scratch his stomach or ears.
- Constant licking of paws. Tick bites can be painful, itchy, and draws blood, which is why dogs lick their paws to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
- Scabs. Scabs also known as eschars are dark spots on the skin which develops days after the tick bite.
- Mild fever. Fleas and tick bites can cause serious illness that may harm your Shih Tzu. In some cases, you will notice a slight increase in their body temperature. Although temporary, mild fevers should not be taken for granted.
- Excess shedding of fur. Shih Tzu is a dog breed that doesn’t shed a lot. But, if your dog is infested by parasites, they offen suffer from skin irritations which results to excess shedding.
Serious illnesses caused by fleas and tick bites in dogs
Did you know that there are life-threatening illnesses caused by fleas and tick bites? Some of these illnesses are:
Home remedies to fleas and ticks on dogs that don’t work
As soon as I found out that my dogs have fleas and ticks, I went online (Aren’t we all?) to check for home remedies. I know that prescription medicines will do the job. However, I wanted to see if there are natural ways to cure and prevent infestations like this.
Below is a list of products and things I tried that didn’t work. So please, don’t do this at home.
**Always consult your veterinarian.
1. Dishwashing liquid – On Facebook, I found someone who bathed his dogs with dishwashing liquid instead of dog shampoo. Apparently, there’s an ingredient in dishwashing liquids that kills fleas and ticks on dogs. So, I tried and bathed Kuya with it. Guess what? It didn’t work.
2. Oil rub – Another Shih Tzu owner on Facebook shared that he used coconut oil to remove fleas and ticks. According to him, you can use any type of edible oil (coconut, olive, vegetable, canola, etc.). Rub it all over your pet and leave it for 30 minutes. Then, rinse with warm water and your favorite dog shampoo. Again, it didn’t work.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar rinse – Apple cider is known to be a safe, natural, and effective remedy against itchy skin, dandruff, and urinary tract infection in dogs. In this case, I tried it as a final bath rinse. I diluted 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a pail of warm water. My Shih Tzu smelled vinegary, but it went away after a few minutes. I’m sure my dog hated me for it. Still, no results.
4. Tick and flea powder – The one I bought was recommended by the store owner where I buy dog food. It smells like regular baby powder, but my dogs hated it.
5. Herbal soap – There are anti-tick and flea soaps in the market that promises prevention and cure. The one I bought didn’t, not to mention very expensive. I bought it in a pack of 3 online. Turns out the herbal soap is super harsh to their skin which resulted in excessive hair loss.
6. Flea spray – This one is very similar to the tick and flea powder that I tried. It smelled of lavender and citronella. Unfortunately, it still didn’t work.
Now, let’s talk about Bravecto chewable for dogs
Frequently Asked Questions about Bravecto chewable for dogs
What is Bravecto chewable for dogs?
Bravecto is a U.S. FDA-approved systemic insecticide and acaricide for treatment against fleas and ticks for dogs.
Bravecto comes in two forms: chewable and topical solution.
According to the vet, she swears by Bravecto chewable for dogs as the safest and effective prescription drug against fleas and ticks. Not because it’s the popular choice. But because its efficacy has been backed by research throughout the years.
How long does it take for Bravecto to work?
According to their website:
BRAVECTO Chew starts killing fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) within 2 hours and kills ticks (Ixodes ricinus) within 12 hours. BRAVECTO Chew kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Chew also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks.
What is the active ingredient in Bravecto?
Bravecto Chewable for dogs contains fluralaner. Fluralaner once administered orally, provides safe and long-lasting protection against fleas and ticks.
Fluralaner, under the trade name Bravecto, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an oral or topical treatment for cats and dogs.
What is the cost of Bravecto for dogs?
Bravecto 1-month chews range from $18.99 to $20.49
Bravecto Chews for Dogs range from $56.99 to $60.49
A very important reminder: Bravecto chewable for dogs is NOT an over-the-counter drug. Rather, a prescription item. Thus, you will need a veterinarian’s authorization upon checkout.
Can I get Bravecto without vet prescription?
No. Bravecto chewable for dogs is not an over-the-counter drug. Therefore, you need to secure a prescription from your vet before purchasing.
How to take Bravecto for dogs?
Bravector chewable for dogs has a beefy smell that dogs love. Unfortunately, my Shih Tzu is skeptical about it. I tried giving it to him as a treat, but he wouldn’t budge.
Here’s what I did.
I broke the chewable into 3 small pieces and put each inside a piece of boiled chicken breast. My Shih Tzu loves chicken, so this is an easy trick.
The second time around, I used beef instead of chicken. Again, I broke the chewable into 3 small pieces and put each inside the meat. I think I prefer this one because the color of the beef and Bravecto Chew is very similar. Bunso didn’t notice the difference.
Is Bravecto chewable for dogs safe for breeding, pregnant, and/or lactating dogs?
According to the package directions, yes Bravecto Chew is safe for female dogs who are lactating, breeding, and/or pregnant.
What is the best flea medicine for dogs without vet prescription?
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the best chemical compounds against fleas for dogs are:
- Afoxolaner (Brand name NexGard)
- Fluralaner (Brand name Bravecto)
- Nitenpyram (Brand names include CapStar)
- Spinosad (Brand name Comfortis)
Is there an over-the-counter flea pill for dogs?
If you’re looking for flea medicine for dogs without vet description, here are brands that you can purchase in retail outlets or online:
What if you’re uncomfortable giving oral treatments to your dog? Are there flea and tick medicine for dogs without a vet description?
The most common recommendation would be flea collars. However, I can’t say that these are the best form of protection for your dogs against fleas and ticks. I tried them once. My dogs hated them.
First, if your dog has fleas and ticks, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian right away. This will prevent you from spending money on home remedies that didn’t work. Or worse, remedies that will irritate the skin.
Second, do not skip reading medicine labels. Before I gave Bravecto to my Shih Tzu, I took the time to read and understand what’s written in the box, as well as the label inside. Bravecto chewable for dogs comes in different dosages. The dosage varies according to your dog’s weight. The one I bought for my Shih Tzu is for small dogs (9.9 to 22 lbs).
Third, prevention is really better than cure. Do not allow your dogs to roam outside without protection against fleas and ticks. From my experience, prescription drugs like Bravecto are the safest and most effective that you can get for your dog. Besides, there is no permanent solution against parasite infestations.
Fourth, do not wait for your dogs to be completely infested by these parasites before you take action. Do not prolong their agony. It’s not okay. Take your time to read about the serious illnesses I listed above. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to endanger the life of your fur baby with a single tick bite.
Lastly, there are flea and tick medicines for dogs without vet descriptions available everywhere. But I wouldn’t risk giving my dogs something that I don’t have prior knowledge of, just because I want to save money on vet consult.
There you have it, I hope you find this helpful.
When was the first time you found out your dog has fleas and ticks?
Have you tried using Bravecto chewable for dogs?
How did it go?