The Hidden Dangers of Flea and Tick Medications - Rescue Dogs 101

The Hidden Dangers of Flea and Tick Medications

Have you ever wondered are flea and tick medication safe for my dog? What is the best flea and tick prevention for my dog? 

Every time I take my dogs in for their check-up the vet asks if we need flea and tick meds, and I never thought twice about giving them to our dogs since it came from the vet. I mean that’s what the vet is for, to keep our dogs healthy, right?

Ticks are creepy little things, I’ve had them crawling up my leg, I’ve pulled them off my daughters feet and my dogs too many times. Knock on wood we’ve never had fleas, but I know they’re a big problem in some areas.

Are Flea and Tick Medication Safe for My Dog?

UPDATED MAY 14, 2018

As a foster home to rescue dogs that come from all types of situations, we run the risk of bringing a dog in with fleas and other medical issues which can be transmitted to our resident dogs. Plus, we come in contact with ticks all the time when we go to the dog park, hiking, or camping.

I would do anything to keep my dogs healthy, and definitely don’t want to worry about fleas or ticks transmitting diseases to them.

But recently I’ve been reading stories about dogs having severe side effects from Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix and other commercially sold flea and tick medications. The more I read, the more I started realizing I am putting a harmful chemical on my dogs. Chemicals that are technically pesticides.

Take a moment to let this sink in. PESTICIDES! You may use pesticides to kill insects in your home and yard, and these bottles have strong warnings of being poisonous and keep away from pets and children, right? So why are we instructed to put pesticides on our dogs?

K9 Advantix Warnings

Click to enlarge and read!

Even the K9 Advantix box warns that it is hazardous to humans and fatal to cats! Here is a photo I took of the box of K9 Advantix I bought last year. More than half of the box are hazard warnings! Notice how they attempt to distract you from those warnings by putting the benefits in red. Yikes, do I really want to put this on my dog?

If you Google the brand you use and side effects, you can read story after story on how dogs have had severe reactions to this stuff. Some as simple as skin irritation but many as serious as seizures or death.

Now, of course, there are many dogs that don’t have any visible side effects, but how do we really know that they aren’t experiencing any long-term medical issues from this pesticide we are intentionally exposing them to?

Another issue that I was alerted to is known allergic reactions to K9 Advantix… it’s really a thing. Our dog Ginger has allergies that we’ve been struggling to figure out for the past year… an entirely another topic, but makes me wonder if maybe giving her this junk could be contributing to her allergy issues.

So what are we suppose to do as dog owners? We don’t want our dogs to get fleas or ticks… So I started searching for another solution, a flea and tick solution that would be natural and not harmful to my dogs.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will receive a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

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Natural Tick and Flea Prevention for Dogs

Essential Oil Flea and Tick Repellent

I found there are many different essential oils recipes online, mixing several different oils together to make a spray. And the one that stood out to me was Rose Geranium Essential Oil. But after reading the reviews on Amazon, I learned that this oil needs to include an important ingredient (Pelargonium Capitatum x Radens) that is no longer included. So I can no longer recommend this.

But good news, I found Only Natural Pet! They offer a bunch of different options for natural flea and tick preventatives, including essential oil (Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Herbal Oil Blend).

Natural Flea and Tick Control

I am so happy to have found a couple of companies that offer natural options. Only Natural Pet offers Tags, Collars, Chews, Sprays, Soaps and more! Wondercide that offers several flea and tick control in sprays and soaps. I will be trying products from both companies to see which one works best for our dogs… update to come soon!

Only Natural Pet’s Quick Guide to Flea Control for Dogs & Cats.

Coconut Oil

I was also pleasantly surprised to read that coconut oil kills and repels fleas. I already give my dogs coconut oil as a treat every day, so I will certainly be continuing to do this.  Coconut oil has an ingredient called lauric acid, which is what repels the fleas. Coconut oil has so many other health benefits for your dog, so this is a win-win! You can purchase coconut oil at your local grocery store or on Amazon by clicking here.


I’m not sure if I will personally be adding this to our regiment, but it’s worth mentioning. While garlic won’t kill fleas or ticks, they don’t like the smell or taste of garlic, so they will not stick around! You can add garlic to your dog’s daily diet by adding it to their kibble. Only Natural Pet actually sells a Brewers Yeast and Garlic Tablet for dogs as an option.

Garlic is a bit controversial, as large amounts of garlic can be toxic to your dog, so make sure you feed your dog only the recommended amount. Garlic also has anti-bacterial properties benefits for your dog, again a win, win! To learn more about feeding garlic to your dog, take a look at this article on

In closing… it’s important to note, that even with all this said, the above statements are my opinion, I am not a veterinary professional. I can not give you medical advice. If you are concerned, talk to your vet, do your own research and make your own informed decision.

P.S. I would love to hear how you protect your dog from fleas and ticks…Comment below to tell me all about it

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Check out our exclusive FREE Resource Library! Jam-packed with instant downloads that will save you time and possibly even save your dog’s life.

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About the Author Debi@RescueDogs101

Debi McKee is the mom of Ginger and Bear (and three human kids too), lifetime dog lover and a volunteer for a rescue as foster home. She is the creator of Rescue Dogs 101, were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. Sign up for the free resource library! It is jam-packed with valuable resources that you will use throughout your journey.... all for FREE!

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