Your pets can get fleas from contact with other flea-infested pets, fleas or flea larvae hidden in carpets or pet bedding, or from playing in areas where fleas are present, such as a dog park.
If your dog is itching from fleas all day, you need to find a medication to relieve the dog’s discomfort and kill the fleas. You may already be giving your dog medication now, but find it’s not working well. There are several types of flea control treatments you can use to stop your dog’s itching.
Flea collars are the most common product to control fleas, and you can buy them at any pet store. Spot treatments, dips, and foggers may be purchased online or at a store, but stronger versions require a prescription. Many pet parents rely on oral medications to treat dogs or cats with flea infestations. These medicines usually require a prescription from your veterinarian.
Oral medications are the easiest to use, and most pets eat the chewable versions just like dog treats.
What to Look for in a Good Flea Treatment
Let’s take a look at the types of flea treatments, what they do, and when you should or shouldn’t use them. Flea treatments need to get rid of adult fleas, and/or flea larvae and pupae. Any product you use, whether it’s a shampoo, dip, a flea collar, or oral medication, should be gentle and non-toxic.
Most dogs can benefit from flea collars, as long as they’re not too invasive. The collar should make adequate contact with your dog’s skin to be effective. Be sure to trim any excess to prevent your dog from chewing on the collar.
Dips are concentrated chemicals that you dip in water. You then pour the solution over the dog’s back or use a sponge to apply it to fur. These solutions last for two weeks and are the most toxic method of flea control. As a result, most vets don’t recommend this method.
Avoid using flea powders, wipes, or foggers, as they aren’t the most effective or modern methods. Sprays and powders can irritate your lungs or your dog’s lungs.
Today’s external treatments, such as topical solutions, are formulated with safe ingredients. Always read product reviews before using any spot treatment, especially if you have a sensitive pet.
Oral medications are prescribed by a veterinarian. You can use chewables alone or with a topical solution. These treatments may be meat or poultry flavored and taste like treats to your pet. Most chewable treat fleas for a month; some treat fleas up to three months.
Simparica vs. Bravecto Similarities
Bravecto is a chewable, pork-flavored tablet for dogs. A study shows that 91 percent of canines happily take the medication. Dogs love the pork flavor and eat tablets like treats. You can administer Bravecto any time, day or night, but it’s best to give him the pork-flavored tablet around feeding time.
Simparica from Zoetis Petcare offers a chewable, liver-flavored tablet that kills fleas. Both medications contain ingredients called neurotoxins to kill fleas. Both products are easy to administer. Many veterinarians have endorsed one or both products. Dogs must be at least six months old to receive either product.
There are no food or drug interactions associated with either product. The reported side effects of both medications include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
Both products are sold in color-coded boxes, with the dosage determined by how much the dogs weigh. Smaller dogs receive a smaller dose of the medication. Collies can tolerate both Simparica and Bravecto. (Some brands of chewables are harmful to collies.)
Simparica vs. Bravecto Differences
Bravecto offers pork-flavored flea control chews for dogs, as well as spot, or topical solutions, for canines. Bravecto’s active ingredient is a systemic neurotoxin called Fluralaner. This neurotoxin kills the root of a flea or tick life cycle at the root. It destroys the parasite’s neurological system and stops it from breeding.
Fluralaner destroys new fleas before they lay pupae, and it works for three months after your pet takes Bravecto. Each Bravecto chew lasts 12 weeks. You can purchase one to 500 chews at a time, per your veterinarian’s prescription.
Bravecto can be administered to cats with a spot-on treatment. You apply the topical solution on the area that’s affected. The solution mixes with your cat’s body fluids and is carried to the tissues. The medicine kills the fleas and ticks that stayed alive by relying on your cat’s blood.
Simparica has an active ingredient called Sarolaner. This neurotoxin destroys fleas, ticks, and other insects for 35 days after your dog takes the medicine. Unlike Bravecto, Simparica hasn’t been tested on pregnant, lactating, or breeding dogs. Simparica is only safe for dogs. You can’t use this medication brand on cats, and there’s no topical version.
Simparica vs. Bravecto Pricing Comparison
You can order Simparica or Bravecto online after getting a prescription from your veterinarian, or pick it up in person at a pharmacy. Online sources are usually a better value. The prices quoted below are from Chewy.com, but you can also order online from other sources, such as Walmart.com.
Simparica is available in six sizes for dogs only. Each box contains six liver-flavored tablets that treat fleas for one month. The Yellow Box is for dogs 2.8 to 5.5 pounds. This size costs $85, $81 with auto-ship. The Purple Box has medication for dogs weighing 5.6 to 11 pounds and costs $87, $82 for auto-ship.
The Orange Simparica Box is for dogs 11.1 to 22 pounds and costs $88, $84 for auto-ship. The Mint Box is for dogs from 22.1 pounds to 44 pounds. This size costs $95, $91 for auto-ship. The Green Box is for dogs weighing 44.1 pounds to 88 pounds and costs $98, $93 with auto-ship.
The Brown Box is for dogs from 88.1 pounds to 132 pounds. This size costs $99, $94 for auto-ship. Three packs are also available (three month supply), with prices slightly more than half of the prices for six-packs.)
Bravecto offers chews and topical solutions for dogs, as well as topical flea control for cats. You can purchase from one to 500 chews in your dog’s weight/size. The Yellow Box, for dogs weighing 4.4 to 9.9 pounds, costs $54 for one chew ( three months), or 108.76 for two chews (six months).
Larger sizes have a comparable price difference when you match them up with Simparica.
We recommend Bravecto since you can customize the number of chews depending on your dog’s condition. Each Bravecto chew lasts three months compared to one month for each Simparica. You can also purchase topical solutions for dogs and cats from Bravecto.
Our Review of Simparica vs. Bravecto
Bravecto and Simparica both work fast to get rid of fleas and ticks. One dose of Bravecto works in two hours on fleas and can control them totally within eight hours. This medication controls ticks within 24 hours. Simparica works within three hours on fleas and in eight hours on other insects.
Bravecto is the best choice if you want to simplify your dog’s flea and tick care routine. One dose guards your dog against fleas and ticks for three months. If you want a monthly medication, choose Simparica.
Some pets fare better with topical solutions instead of chewables. Simparica only offers chewables. Bravecto has six topical solutions for dogs by weight/size. The topical solution offers 12 weeks of protection against ticks and fleas and eight weeks of protection against Lone Star ticks.
Bravecto also gives you six topical solution choices for cats – three flea and tick choices, by cat weight, and three Bravecto Plus solutions, also by cat weight, which treat heartworms and intestinal parasites as well as fleas/ticks.
Both products are well-tolerated by most dogs, although there are a few minor side effects reported by some pet parents. Bravecto stays in your dog’s bloodstream for quite a while, so you’ll get your money’s worth with this medication. If your vet recommends it, you can also use the topical version of Bravecto with the chewable for severe cases of fleas/ticks.
Simparica is a relatively new product, so we don’t have a lot of studies on this drug, or many owner testimonials. It kills ticks as well as fleas. One study shows that this medication is 96.9 percent in preventing brown dog ticks, deer ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, Lone star ticks, and American dog ticks.
This chewable tablet controls fleas on dogs by killing them before they lay eggs. You should treat all dogs in your home with this medication to prevent fleas from spreading.
Overall, Bravecto offers the most bang for your buck and enough choices to cover most flea infestations in your dog and/or cat.
Flea Treatment FAQs
Can a pregnant or nursing dog take oral medications for fleas?
It depends on the brand. Some medications are safe for pregnant/nursing dogs, while others have no conclusive evidence as to their effect. Simparica hasn’t been evaluated for its safety on pregnant, lactating, or breeding dogs. However, Bravecto is approved for use in pregnant, breeding and lactating dogs.
Can you crumble up chewables and put them in your dog’s food?
You can crumble most oral medications chewable and put them in your dog’s food, but be sure he eats the entire chewable. Giving your dog the chewable as a treat is easier and more efficient since chewables are flavored.
Do oral medications kill fleas that are already on my dog?
Check with the manufacturer to make sure oral medications destroy fleas already on your dog’s fur. Some brands are made to destroy larvae and pupae, while others kill adult fleas. Some brands kill adult fleas, larvae, and pupae.
What’s the best way to manage and prevent fleas?
Use a monthly treatment, whether it’s an oral medication or a flea collar. Use another method if your vet recommends it. Keep your dog’s coat clean and brushed. Bathe your pet regularly to keep him clean and prevent the conditions that encourage pests.
Although Simparica and Bravecto are both recommended by veterinarians, we choose Bravecto as the better value and most effective flea treatment of the two brands.
Bravecto costs more than Simparica, but it gives your pet longer and better protection against fleas and ticks. You can choose the exact number of chewables you need, from one to 500 on Chewy.com. (You’ll need to ask about available quantities if you order from other sources.)
The company also makes topical solutions you can use alone or with chewables – you don’t get that choice with Simparica, which only comes in chewables. Bravecto also offers topical solutions for cats.
Based on expert reviews and our research, Bravecto gets our recommendation over Simparica. Bravecto has been on the market longer, and research shows that 93 percent of pet parents whose dogs spend 12 hours or more daily outside prefer to use Bravecto over other flea and tick treatments.
Toss chewables in with dog treats if your dog is playful and likes to run after treats, or mix treats in with his dry food. Either way, most dogs will enjoy eating these pork-flavored chewables.
Remember to avoid feeding your dog any new food or treats when you introduce Bravecto to his regimen. In the unlikely event, he has a reaction, you’ll know it’s the chewable, and not something else.
You’ll save time by giving your dog one chewable every three months instead of once a month. Bravecto works on new fleas, so it gets rid of moderate to severe infestations quickly. If you would rather keep a monthly schedule, you might prefer Simparica, but this schedule preference is the only reason for you to use Simparica over Bravecto.
Always talk to your vet before deciding on a flea treatment plan. What’s suitable for one dog might not work for another. You need to think about the extent of the flea infestation, your dog’s temperament, and weight, and what other medications he takes, if any.