How Do I Choose The Right Tick Treatment For My Pet?

Every year, thousands of pets are killed by the dreaded paralysis tick Ixodes Holocyclus. The tick will usually be found in grass or on shrubs waiting for a pet to brush past. Ticks will generally attach to anything that's moving and brushes past them. They will wait until an animal gets close enough and then cling onto their fur. Once on the host, they will crawl along until they find a suitable place to attach.

Once attached, the mouth parts are burrowed deep into the skin. The toxin is released into the blood stream via the saliva as the tick feeds.

The toxin can affect different pets differently. Some pets will succumb very quickly to the toxins whilst others appear to be minimally affected. This is thought to be for a number of reasons but has not been proven, including;

  • Individual immunity of the pet
  • Toxin levels in the individual tick
  • Cats generally appear more resistant

If you find a tick on your pet, or your pet shows the following symptoms, you should take your pet to the vet immediately.

  • Difficulty swallowing, vomiting, retching or salivating
  • Difficulty breathing, panting or coughing
  • Difficulty getting up or wobbly back legs
  • Walking as if drunk
  • Blue tinge to tongue or gums
  • Collapse

Ticks are found along the east coast of Australia as far north as Cairns and even some northern parts of Tasmania.

Different Types Of Tick Prevention

No matter what tick prevention you use, it is recommended to undertake daily tick searches. NO Product is 100% effective

Product Mode Of Action Kills Tick Application Cat/Dog Duration

Repels and kills

Effects nervous system

10 minutes Spot-On Dog 2 weeks
Frontline Plus


Effects nervous system

48hrs Spot-On Dog 2 weeks
Frontline Spray


Effects nervous system

48hrs Spray Cat/Dog 3 weeks


Effects nervous system

5-10 minutes Spray Dog 7 days
Fidos Rinse

Prevents attachment

Effects nervous system

Quick Rinse Cat/Dog 3 days
NexGard Effects nervous system 48hrs Oral Dog 1 Month
Bravecto Effects nervous system 12hrs Oral Dog 4 Months
Scalibor Effects nervous system 2-3 weeks after first application, 24hrs once collar established Collar Dog 14 weeks


Effects nervous system

48hrs when first applied

Rapid after initial 48hrs

Collar Dog 2 Months
Kiltix Effects nervous system Quick Collar Dog

6 Weeks


Which One Is Right For My Pet?

Determining which tick prevention is best for your pet is not easy. Here are things you should consider when determine the most suitable tick prevention;

  • Does your pet swim often - chose an oral product rather then a spray, rinse or spot-on as regular swimming or bathing can shorten the effectiveness of the product.
  • Is your pet bathed more then once per fortnight - choose an oral product rather then a spray, rinse or spot-on as regular swimming or bathing can shorten the effectiveness of the product.
  • Does your pet easily take oral medication - If your pet is difficult to medicate, you may consider the topical applications such as a spot-on.
  • How often do you prefer to dose - some people find a monthly dosing regime easier, whilst others prefer a longer acting product like Bravecto.
  • Do you have other pets such as cats that sleep with the dog - Avoid products such as Advantix, Permoxin or the tick collars.
  • Do you have children in the household - Children love to hug their dogs, so an oral treatment may be safer.
  • Avoid using spot-on treatments and tick collars or spray together as many of these combinations may reduce the effectiveness of the product or have a toxic effect on the pet.
  • Avoid topical treatments if your pet suffers from skin allergies - some pets will have added discomfort when these products are applied to the already irritated skin.

How To Perform A Tick Check

The single most effective way of preventing tick paralysis is by performing a daily tick check on your pet. When combined with a good quality tick prevention schedule will give you as close to 100% protection as possible. Ensure you are familiar with the early symptoms of tick paralysis and take your pet to the vet early.

Follow these easy steps to perform a tick check;

1. Always start at the head

2. Remember to check in and around the ears

3. Run your fingers thoroughly through the hair feeling for any small bumps

4. Inspect any unusual bumps carefully as ticks are very small when they first attach

5. Roll your dog over to carefully inspect the tummy area

6. Look carefully around the genital area

7. If you are not sure what it is, take your pet to the vet rather then trying to pull off a nipple or wart.

8. Always check between the toes

Written By Dr Sophie Colonna