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Dr James Answers: Which Preventative Treatment Should I Use For My Dog?

June 17, 2021

Which preventative parasite treatment should I use on my dog?

Nowadays there are so many anti parasite products available on the market that it can be somewhat overwhelming deciding which one is best for your lifestyle and your dogs’ health. I don’t believe in a 1 size fits all approach to any aspect of veterinary medicine and I firmly believe that this also applies to preventative health care.

To make it simple I usually ask myself 2 questions - do we want a topical (apply to the skin) or an oral option (usually a palatable chew)? Secondly, what are we trying to prevent?

Topicals were the original formulations as represented by Frontline, Revolution and Advocate and can be appropriate in many cases, though they do often need to be coupled up with another preventative depending on your dogs’ lifestyle (For example Frontline will cover against fleas and ticks, but not heartworm or intestinal worms. Revolution is a good flea treatment, heartworm preventative and intestinal roundwormer but tick prevention (at least for the species found in Singapore) is poor. These can however still be used, especially if your lifestyle makes it very unlikely that, for example, your dog would be at high risk of coming into contact with ticks (eg. no access to grassed/planted areas, mostly indoors).

Spot ons can also actually be put on incorrectly and this can affect how well they work. For example, applying the treatment to a wet dog can negatively affect its action, as can showering too soon after application. Also, the product is detectable on the skin after application and so, if your dog comes into contact with small children or sleeps in your bed with you this may not be desirable.

I have to say, for the most part, I prefer oral preventatives as they cannot be applied incorrectly and generally provide better coverage against a wider range of parasites. They are generally a little bit more expensive although ,when you take into account that you are not having to use multiple products to cover against all parasites, this cost factor is not as bad as it first seems.

In Singapore, I am mostly concerned about preventatives for heartworm, ticks (and as a result the diseases they can pass on when they bite), fleas and intestinal worms. Unfortunately, there is still not one product that covers EVERY parasite that dogs can come into contact with. Oral products such as Simparica Trio and Nexgard Spectra come very close though and are my preferred options in most cases. Neither provides coverage against tapeworms, and so, for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, I prefer to also dose once a year with a tapewormer such as Drontal plus.

If you have any questions about which preventative is right for you and your dog, please get in touch!

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