Cocker Spaniel getting fleas removed by owner

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As a pet parent, you know fleas and ticks can carry dangerous diseases affecting your pet's health and well-being. Flea and tick prevention can help maintain the overall health of cats and dogs. Aside from discomfort and itchy skin, fleas and ticks can trigger allergic reactions, transmit diseases, and lead to serious health conditions.

Proactive measures like using flea prevention products can protect your pet and your home from these pests. Bravecto and NexGard are two of the most popular flea prevention products available on the market today. They protect your pet month-long, allowing Fido to explore the yard worry-free.

Keep reading to learn more about Bravecto vs. NexGard to help you choose the right option for your pet.

What is Bravecto?

Bravecto is a highly effective flea and tick preventative for dogs and cats. A chewable for dogs and topical for cats, both offer up to 12 weeks of protection from fleas and ticks, nearly 3x longer than a dose of another brand's monthly treatment.1

Bravecto for dogs is also available in a one-month dosage, giving pet parents options. For instance, you can choose Bravecto for dogs (1 month) if you think you'll forget to give them their medication every three months.

Bravecto for dogs (12 weeks) offers the convenience of not having to use the prescription every month, but it can increase the chances you'll forget, so pet parents should make a note on their calendars every three months.

Both versions of Bravecto are designed to rapidly eliminate fleas and ticks to prevent infestations and reduce the risk of painful, irritated, and itchy skin and the potential for disease transmission in dogs and cats. The only difference between Bravecto for dogs and Bravecto for cats is how the treatment is administered. The chewable tablet for dogs can be given every three months, while the topical for cats is applied directly to the skin on the back of the neck.

The active ingredient in Bravecto for cats and dogs is fluralaner, an insecticide that affects the parasite's nervous system.2

What is NexGard?

Nexgard (1 month) is another flea and tick prevention option for dogs and cats. NexGard for cats is called NexGard COMBO and is another topical applied directly to the back of the neck. NexGard COMBO for cats is designed to protect them from fleas, ticks, and heartworm disease while treating hookworms and tapeworms.3

NexGard for dogs, on the other hand, is a chewable tablet designed for the prevention and treatment of ticks and fleas only. If you need heartworm protection for your dog, you'll need to purchase the company's other brand HEARTGARD.

The active ingredient in NexGard is afoxolaner, another common insecticide used to treat fleas and ticks in dogs. Like fluralaner, afoxolaner targets the insect's nervous system, causing paralysis and death.

NexGard for dogs is available in one, three, six, and twelve-month supplies.

Table comparing the active ingredients, duration, onset, and side effects of Bravecto vs. NexGard

Comparing Bravecto vs. NexGard

Bravecto and NexGard are both chewable tablets for dogs and topicals for cats. However, NexGard COMBO for cats is designed to prevent and control both external parasites like fleas and ticks and internal parasites like roundworm, hookworm, and heartworm.

On the other hand, NexGard and Bravecto for dogs are quite similar. They're both flea and tick preventives that come in a chewable tablet and are highly effective. However, there are a few key differences you should be aware of.

  • Active ingredients: Bravecto's active ingredient is fluralaner, while NexGard contains afoxolaner. Both are the same class of medications —isoxazolines— that work by targeting the nervous system of fleas and ticks, leading to their paralysis and death within a few hours.
  • Duration: Both Bravecto and NexGard provide effective protection from fleas and ticks. However, Bravecto is designed to last for 12 weeks, while NexGard only lasts for one month. Since both are effective, pet parents can choose which option is most convenient for them. It may be easier to purchase fewer chewables and administer them every few months, or pet parents may be afraid of forgetting to administer their dog's prescription and choose to give them monthly.
  • Onset: Bravecto begins killing fleas within 2 hours and ticks within 12 hours.4 On the other hand, NexGard is absorbed within 6 hours, and fleas are killed within 8 hours, with ticks killed in 48 hours.5
  • Side effects: Both options are generally well tolerated. When comparing Bravecto vs. NexGard side effects, keep in mind that every dog is different. The most common side effects of Bravecto for dogs in clinical trials were vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, increased thirst, and flatulence. Meanwhile, the most common side effects of NexGard are vomiting, flaky skin, diarrhea, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Ultimately, the potential side effects for each are similar because they're both isoxazolines.
  • Cost: The cost for Bravecto vs. NexGard depends on where you get them. You might think Bravecto is cheaper because you get a 12-week dosage in a single chewable. However, the costs are comparable when you factor in the fact that with NexGard, you have to purchase a chewable every month. You can compare costs on our pharmacy page.

When choosing between Bravecto vs. NexGard, it's important to consider what type of pet you have. For instance, if you have cats, Bravecto for cats might be the best option, especially if your cat is already on another heartworm preventative. Since NexGard products for cats are only available as a combination treatment, some cats won't need it.

On the other hand, when comparing Bravecto vs. NexGard for dogs, both are effective, and it might just come down to personal preference. For instance, if you've had experience with one brand, you probably already trust it to protect your dog. While the active ingredients are different, they both serve the same purpose and are extremely effective.

You might also want to consider the duration and onset. For instance, if you'd rather give your dog a dosage every 12 weeks instead of every month, you can choose Bravecto. Bravecto is also the faster-acting option, so if your dog has any live ticks on them, it will eliminate them much faster than NexGard.

Both options are generally well-tolerated by dogs with minimal side effects, and they're approved by the FDA to treat and prevent fleas and ticks. That said, only Bravecto is approved for use in pregnant, breeding, and lactating dogs.4 NexGard is not approved for pregnant dogs, so it's highly unlikely your vet will prescribe it for them if they know you plan on breeding your female pet.

In addition, both require a prescription from your vet beforehand. While non-prescription flea and tick products are available, they're not as effective as prescription chewables and topicals, which protect your pet for longer.

The only way to determine which option is best for your pet — NexGard vs. Bravecto — is to speak with your vet. Since you can't order either of these preventives online without a prescription, your vet will be able to determine which option is best based on your pet's individual needs.

You often won't need an in-person vet visit to get these prescriptions. Instead, you can use telemedicine for pets with Dutch to get a prescription online and order directly from our online pet pharmacy.

With other types of parasites, like heartworm, your vet must perform blood testing to ensure your pet doesn't have heartworm disease before giving them the preventive. However, with flea and tick preventives, whether Bravecto vs. NexGard for dogs, there's no diagnostic testing required because both can effectively treat flea and tick infestations within hours after administration. Therefore, you're getting treatment and prevention in one.

Flea Prevention & Treatment

Flea and tick care for dogs and cats is crucial. Even though you think your cat isn't susceptible to ticks or fleas because they spend all their time indoors, fleas can travel quickly by jumping on you. They're also so small they're sometimes invisible to the naked eye, so you can easily track them inside on your clothing or other pets.

While dogs are more susceptible to fleas and ticks because they spend more time outdoors, both types of pets need annual protection. Dogs are most commonly infected with fleas and ticks by spending time in their environments.6

There are many types of flea and tick preventives, ranging from prescription chewables and topicals to shampoos and collars. Preventatives help prevent fleas and ticks from biting your dog while eliminating these external parasites if they've already infested them. For instance, if you notice a tick on your dog, you can give them Bravecto or NexGard, and the tick will be killed in anywhere from 12 to 48 hours, depending on the medication.

So why do vets recommend these prescriptions? Ultimately, it's to protect your dog or cat. Since fleas and ticks carry disease and can cause significant itching and discomfort, these preventives protect your pet year-round from potential infestations that can affect their health and overall quality of life.

Of course, some products are more effective than others. In general, prescriptions are going to be the most effective way to treat and prevent fleas and ticks. Many topical options also help repel them, so these parasites won't have any interest in your pet.

However, non-prescription topicals like shampoos are less effective and require multiple treatments, so while they can protect your pet, it's a significantly lower level of protection and treatment than prescriptions offer.

In general, flea and tick preventatives that kill fleas and ticks while preventing them from biting your dog or cat are the best options available, but they require a prescription from your vet. These medications are proven safe and effective, but it's important to keep in mind your pet's species. You should never give a cat a dog's flea and tick treatment and vice versa.

In addition, it's recommended to use flea and tick prevention year-round, even in the winter. Even though ticks and fleas aren't around as much during the colder seasons, they can still be active in colder temperatures.6 In addition, since fleas can live comfortably indoors, prevention is always better than treatment.

Dog and cat sitting in living room with laptop and stack of books

Final Notes

Preventing fleas and ticks is crucial for the health and wellness of your pets. While they might not seem like a big deal, fleas and ticks carry diseases and cause serious discomfort in both dogs and cats. You should consider your individual pet when comparing your options, like Bravecto vs. NexGard.

There is no NexGard for cats. If you want to use NexGard for your cat, you'll need to use NexGard COMO, which also prevents heartworm and other internal parasites. On the other hand, Bravecto offers more convenience because you won't have to administer it on a monthly basis.

Talk to a Dutch vet today to determine whether Bravecto vs. NexGard is the right option for your pet. Then, get your prescription and place your order online with our pet pharmacy. Your dog or cat's prescription will be delivered directly to your door.

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References

  1. “Bravecto® (Fluralaner and Moxidectin Topical Solution) for Cats: BRAVECTO®.” Bravecto, 27 Mar. 2023, https://us.bravecto.com/cats/bravecto-for-cats/.

  2. “Fluralaner.” American Chemical Societywww.acs.org/molecule-of-the-week/archive/f/fluralaner.html.

  3. “One-and-Done Monthly Protection for Cats.” One-And-Done Monthly Protection for Cats | NexGard® COMBOwww.nexgardforpets.com/nexgard-combo.

  4. “Frequently Asked Questions: BRAVECTO®.” Bravecto, 3 Apr. 2023, https://us.bravecto.com/resources/frequently-asked-questions/.

  5. “Frequently Asked Questions.” FAQs | NexGard® Rangewww.nexgard.com.au/frequently-asked-questions. Accessed 30 June 2023.

  6. “Flea and Tick Prevention.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 28 Mar. 2023, www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/flea-and-tick-prevention.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $7/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.