Keeping fleas and ticks off your dog is something you should — and no doubt do — take seriously. However, there are so many treatments out there, finding the right one can be incredibly difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
Today, we’re going to compare two popular treatments: Bravecto and Seresto. Bravecto is a chewable tablet, whereas Seresto is a collar that your pooch wears around their neck. Which is better? That ultimately depends on your needs.
Bravecto is easy to administer, as it’s crafted into a tasty tablet, and it protects your pup for up to three months. Seresto, on the other hand, is a set-and-forget method that can give you up to eight months of protection.
We found that Bravecto was more effective, but it’s also more expensive, and you need a prescription to get it. Seresto might be better for dogs that stay outside all the time, especially if they like to go traipsing through heavy brush.
It’s not quite that simple, of course, which is why we compare the two in greater detail below.
Quick Rundown of Bravecto:
Bravecto is a relatively new medication, as it only gained FDA approval in 2015. However, it’s quickly become popular among vets and pet owners alike.
Quick Rundown of Seresto:
While there are dozens of over-the-counter flea and tick collars out there, Seresto is one of the few to use proven parasite-killing ingredients.
What Are the Differences Between Them?
Method of Application
Bravecto comes in tablet form, so you simply hand it to your dog and watch them wolf it down. Most dogs find it delicious, but if yours balks at the taste, you’ll need to find a way to convince them to eat it — or you’ll have to switch medications.
There are no such issues with Seresto. All you do with that is slap the collar around their neck; it’s even compatible with their existing collar. It comes in two sizes, so make sure you buy the one that’s appropriate for your pup.
What are the active ingredients?
The active ingredient in Bravecto is called Fluralaner, and it inhibits nerve function in parasites. Once fleas or ticks bite your dog, they ingest the Fluralaner, which then paralyzes and kills them.
Seresto, on the other hand, uses Imidacloprid and Flumethrin. Imidacloprid acts much the same way that Fluralaner does in that it shuts down a flea’s nervous system. Flumethrin repels and kills four different tick species in every stage of their life cycle.
How effective are they against fleas?
Bravecto tends to be a little better at killing fleas simply because your dog gets a stronger dose of it. The Seresto collar is meant to be a time-release solution, so your pup gets small, steady amounts for the life of the collar. This keeps them from being overwhelmed but also limits its effectiveness.
If you’re interested in repelling fleas, however, you may prefer the Seresto collar. Bravecto doesn’t repel fleas at all; it’s designed to kill them after they bite your dog, so it doesn’t want to discourage them from taking that first chomp.
Seresto repels fleas reasonably well, but it’s not perfect, so don’t expect it to keep every single one off your dog. Luckily, it also kills them once they latch on, giving your pet multiple layers of protection.
Of course, all medications can be impacted by improper application, but it’s harder to mess up giving a chewable tablet than it is a collar, as collars can have all sorts of issues (such as not being fitted close to the skin or falling off prematurely).
What about ticks?
The chemicals in these two products are equally effective against ticks. Because of the delivery method, though, chances are that your dog will have more potent amounts of the Bravecto in their system than the Seresto. That means the Bravecto product is more likely to kill ticks, while the Seresto collar is more likely to repel them.
Which product is safer?
This is a bit of a tricky question. Both have been approved by the FDA, so chances are that there’s little to worry about from either one, but both have also been the targets of word-of-mouth campaigns that claim they’re unsafe.
In 2017, a consumer investigator named Jim Strickland claimed he had evidence that Bravecto was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of dogs. However, the FDA says they’ve monitored over 34 million doses, with only .01% of dogs experiencing serious side effects.
Bravecto is safe for pregnant and lactating dogs, but it’s not recommended for dogs with histories of seizures or compromised immune systems.
There’s been less backlash against Seresto, but again, you’ll find some people claiming that it was responsible for their pet falling sick or even dying. There’s little to support these claims, but remember that you’re dealing with insecticides, so side effects are always a possibility.
Which option is cheaper?
Seresto is significantly cheaper no matter how you look at it, but both are priced in ways that are somewhat misleading.
Each dose of Bravecto protects your dog for three months, so you need to divide the sticker price by three to get an idea of the true monthly cost of the treatment. If you do this, the exorbitant upfront price becomes much more manageable.
Likewise, Seresto is extremely expensive for a flea collar, but its effects last for eight months, which makes it a bargain on a month-to-month basis.
Still, you should expect to shell out quite a few bucks for either solution, but you’ll have a much smaller hole in your wallet if you buy Seresto.
What the Users Say
We find that it’s useful to investigate what actual users of flea and tick treatments have to say, rather than rely solely on clinical results. To that end, we surveyed various forums and other outlets to determine what kind of experiences pet owners have had with both formulas.
Most Bravecto users seem to be happy with the product. They report that it has a mild smell and their dogs seem to enjoy the flavor, so application is usually painless. It also provides both immediate and long-lasting relief from flea and tick bites.
Some owners report that their dogs experienced an upset stomach or even vomited after taking Bravecto, but these symptoms were usually mild and went away quickly. Still, if your dog seems ill after a dose, be sure to contact your vet to see what course of action they recommend taking.
As you might expect, many complained about Bravecto’s price tag, but they generally conceded that it was worth it.
Seresto has been around for longer, and it’s easier to get your hands on, so there’s quite a bit more feedback on it than Bravecto. Most of it is generally what you’d expect: The collar works, but a few bugs slip through now and again.
Some owners say their dogs experienced allergic reactions where the collar meets the skin; this is rare but not unheard of, so check your dog regularly to make sure they’re tolerating the collar well.
Users with rambunctious dogs say that the collar can break off easily; this is partially by design, as it’s been created to snap off if it gets snagged on something rather than injure your dog. You still need to make sure it stays on, as it offers no protection unless worn.
Perhaps the biggest issue that Seresto users reported was the feel of the collar itself. Many don’t like how it feels when they touch it, and they worry about ingesting the chemicals on it. It’s harmless to humans, but that’s little comfort if it creeps you out.
Bravecto or Seresto: Which Should You Choose?
Bravecto and Seresto are both effective at controlling flea and tick populations, but we found that Bravecto is a little better in this regard, likely because it absorbs more fully into the bloodstream.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider the Seresto collar, though. It’s extremely cost-effective, and it may be a better choice for outdoor pets, especially since it repels parasites instead of just killing them after they’ve eaten.
If forced to choose, we’d go with the Bravecto tablets, as they’re easy to administer and are extremely effective at killing fleas and ticks. You’ll still see good results with the Seresto collar, but we prefer not to take any chances.
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