When deciding which flea and tick products to use on your dog, you need to carefully read the labels on all products. Collies can be sensitive to some flea treatment, and you should check the MDR1 problem drug list HERE before purchase.

It is very important to purchase the correct dosage for your dog, and you use only approved products for your dog’s age, weight, and health status. Use special care if your dog is very young, very old, pregnant, nursing, sick or debilitated, or if it has had a previous sensitivity to any of flea products.

Dogs should only be given flea and tick products designed for use on dogs. While they may not be harmful, products made for cats may not be as effective on dogs. If you also have a cat, do not use your dog products on your cat, as they can be harmful to a cat’s health.

Always ask your veterinarian’s advice if you are unsure, even when you are planning to purchase your flea and tick products from a pet store or online supplier.

Isoxazoline (brand names: Bravecto, Simparica, Credelio, and Nexgard)

Isoxazoline is a class of tick and flea products that are commonly available as pills and chews. But its use has been associated with potential adverse reactions particularly neurologic problems, such as ataxia, muscle tremors, and seizures. Dogs with ataxia lack muscle control causing them to stumble or twitch. Seizures can occur in dogs even without a history of suffering from any seizure episode before. Isoxazoline works by targeting the nervous system of ticks, fleas and other insects.

Many dogs have been given tick and flea products with isoxazoline as the active ingredient without any adverse reaction, however, since the possibility exists, it is recommended to check with your veterinarian so your pet’s medical history can be reviewed to ensure that these products are safe for your dog.

Non-toxic and natural tick and flea control treatments

  • Run a fine-toothed flea comb through your pet’s hair coat every day to catch fleas. Prepare a bowl that contains soapy water so you can dip the comb into it after each sweep.
  • Vacuum carpets, furniture, as well as every nook and cranny of your home to get rid of flea and tick eggs, larvae, and pupae. Be sure to seal the bag and dispose of properly as the eggs inside can hatch and become a source of reinfection.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) on carpets to eliminate ticks and fleas. You can also spread it around your patio during heavy flea infestations. Be sure to remove your pet from the area and wear a protective mask during the application. Let the powder sit for several hours and vacuum it afterwards.
  • Use herbal shampoos that are specially formulated to combat ticks and fleas.
  • Make a natural flea repellent solution by combining essential oils -- tea tree oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, and peppermint oil. Use 5 drops of each essential oil to one cup of water. Shake it thoroughly and put it in a spray bottle.
  • Fleas are repelled by orange or lemon. Lightly rub freshly-squeezed orange or lemon juice on your pet’s hair coat.
  • A natural repellent for ticks is rose geranium oil which can be applied to the collar of dogs.

One of the most popular canine flea control products is Frontline for dogs. 'Fipronil' is a chemical insecticide, and is the primary active ingredient in the various Frontline products. While promoted as generally safe, it can have some negative effects on a variety of your dog’s systems.

Side Effects and Precautions for Frontline

A potential side effect listed for Frontline products is skin reactions at the site of application. The skin can become red and irritated, causing itching and promoting your dog to lick or scratch at the site. If irritation lasts for several days you should consult your veterinarian. In addition to the side effect, there are several precautions that should be followed when treating your dog with Frontline.

Depending upon the Frontline product, it is not recommended for puppies under the age of 10 to 12 weeks. Refer to the product packaging for recommended age restrictions.

Again, depending upon the Frontline product, it is not recommended for aged or debilitated dogs. The spray should not be used on pregnant or lactating females.

The fipronil in Frontline can interact with medications or supplements your dog is currently taking. Be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian to avoid any negative consequences.

Some dogs have a hypersensitivity to fipronil, so it is important to avoid Frontline if your dog is sensitive to these products.

Concerns About Fipronil

While the typical side effect to Frontline is skin reactions, its active ingredient, fipronil, lists other potential concerns when used on canines.

  • Skin problems – As stated earlier, fipronil can cause irritation to your dog’s skin. This irritation can go beyond simple itching as the scratching can cause ulceration and open sores.
  • Nervous system damage – Fipronil is a neurotoxin, causing damage to the fleas’ nervous system. It can have the same effect on your dog, causing symptoms such as convulsions, body twitches, loss of appetite, unsteady gait and other effects.
  • Carcinogen – Fipronil has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in dogs. Because of its carcinogenic qualities, it is important for the person applying the Frontline product to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and warm water to adequately remove the product from their skin.
  • Organ damage – Autopsies have shown an accumulation of fipronil in canine livers and kidneys, causing an increase in organ weight. Fipronil has also been shown to alter the levels of hormone secreted by the thyroid gland.
  • Infertility – Fipronil has also been shown to have an effect on a dog’s fertility. Its use has led to smaller litter size, difficulty in conception, decreased litter weights and increase in litter deaths.

While Frontline products have had successful use in the control of flea populations, there have been negative results seen when dogs have been maintained for extended periods on the products. The fipronil builds up in your dog’s body, giving it the chance to cause problems. If Frontline is your choice for flea control, consider taking a 3 to 6 month break during low flea infestation periods to allow your dog’s body to rid itself of any toxic build up that may have occurred. This will help to avoid the potential of any problems arising from the fipronil.

STRONGHOLD (Selamectin) and ADVOCATE- should be used only under veterinary advice for Collies who are affected by the MDR1 gene.

The most common side effects of Stronghold are mild and transient pruritus at the application site. Mild to moderate alopecia at the application site, erythema and drooling have been uncommonly observed.

In both cats and dogs, the most common side effects of Advocate are local reactions at the site of application, such as temporary itchiness, and on rare occasions, greasy fur and redness of the skin. Vomiting has also occurred rarely. These signs usually disappear without further treatment.

Seresto Collar

While the Seresto collar works for some, it also has some side effects. Pets may experience some irritation at the site of application. If signs persist or become more severe within a few days of application, consult a veterinarian immediately. The Seresto dog collar ingredients can have side effects so let’s look at the effect that a Seresto flea collar for dogs may have, starting with flumethrin side effects. If your dog does react to flumethrin, Seresto collar for dog’s side effects may be varied. Side effects may include local skin irritation with itching and red skin.

Seresto lethargy is also a recognized symptom. Symptoms will depend on the dose, the formulation, and the kind of contact (skin, inhalation, ingestion etc.). Flea and tick collar side effects of this nature are not common, however. Side effects from Imidacloprid use can include fatigue, convulsions, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Unstable gait and tremors can also occur, but again, are rare symptoms and not common side effects of flea collars.

There are many natural products on the market that will repel fleas and ticks

Dynamite Shampoo and Spray

Dorwest Herbs Garlic and Fenugreek tablets - two tablets every day 365 days a year - majority of people have found this is enough to deter fleas and ticks

Billy No Mates

Cedarcide Original For Harvest Mites, Fleas & Ticks

Flea Free - A 100% natural mix that is absolutely hated by Fleas Ticks, Mites and some internal Parasites, whilst also being a good aid towards good skin and coat conditions. A combination of Seaweed, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Mint, Neem, Nettle and Sage that should be sprinkled over your pets food daily.

Flea and Tick drops - Contains almond oil, citronella, neem oil, peppermint and lavender for a whippet size dog put 20 drops weekly between shoulder blades weekly

Herbal Flea spray

Apple Cider Vinegar - Make a mixture of  equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Put it in a spray bottle and spray your dog before he goes outside. You can also pour this mixture over him (avoid your pets eyes) as a final rinse after a bath.

Natural flea shampoo from Stinky stuff

Organic flea shampoo

Zap - Deep cleaning flea shampoo

Flea away Spray - For Fleas & Ticks Suitable for Dogs, Cats, Rabbits from 3 weeks old.

Flea away shampoo - great to use with the Flea away spray above


This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the advice provided by your veterinarian.