All the chemical spot ons and orals have adverse effects...nearly all of them have Facebook groups where you can read stories and get information on how to report any adverse effects. Of course some of those stories are likely unrelated to the tick product but with so many for each there is certainly grounds for concern. I think each individual dog may or may not be sensitive to each individual product. Unfortunately you don't know until you've applied it/your dog has ingested it and then it's too late. But tick borne disease can be very nasty.
Our WI property is a deer tick haven...sometimes it feels as if we are overrun with ticks. I used to use Frontline Plus but began to see the occasional tick on each of our dogs. I've always feared the potential side effects of the spot ons so I decided to try a natural method. I give Springtime Bug Off Garlic daily for fleas, Petzlife Tickz herbal supplement every two months for ticks and also apply a drop of Geranium Bourbon essential oil each morning to each dog's topskull, withers and base of tail for ticks. Along with daily tick exams. I have had acceptable success with this approach. A caution...1) you must use a high quality essential oil from a reputable company and 2) using a general insect repellent essential oil blend will not work against ticks as effectively as the single oil Geranium Bourbon which is considered the best tick repelling essential oil by certified aromatherapists.
Our dogs still come up with a few attached ticks over our long tick season and each has had a positive Lyme's test once or twice over the years. We simply treat with doxy or mino if the previous test was negative. And I watch our dogs like a hawk so any symptoms are addressed immediately. So far so good.
The downside with a natural tick approach is that it only repels ticks. So the ticks sometimes ride in on our dogs and then drop off after they realize they don't like the ride...where I find them crawling on the floor. Yuk, but I actually have come to enjoy that as it proves my approach is working. Our dogs sleep on the bed with us so my hubby and I apply diluted Geranium Bourbon roll-on before bed to prevent any ticks from liking us better.
If you must have 100% effectiveness then a natural approach is not for you. But even the chemicals will eventually lose their 100% effectiveness eventually...just like Frontline did.
Petroleum jelly, burning them off, freezing them off, nail polish
Before I read 37 internet opinions my friend told me to put clear nail polish on the half-engorged tick that was attached to my 6 lb Min-Chi's neck. Which only glued the tick in place and probably made it mad...and a slightly darker grey.
After I read 37 internet opinions I poured half capfulls of nail polish remover on it- a couple times; mostly to loosen the nail polish. Which probably made the tick more unhappy (and turned it an even darker grey, almost charcoal) but I needed to loosen it from the fur to get it off my ESA: and I had a plan.
After I had loosened it from the fur as much as I felt comfortable, the fur dried completely and the dog calmed down I took a good length of upholstery thread, looped it as if to tie it, pulled it to a lasso the size of a dime, layed it around the tick and pulled the ends of the thread in opposite directions.
It effectively slid down the tick's body as I'd hoped, and tightened around it's head.
I just held it steady for as long as the dog held still, hoping the tick would pull out and watching the dog to make sure I didn't have any actual pet skin in the loop.
I guess the bug pulled out because my doggie began to pull away just add she was turning her head routinely, but then realized she was caught (in affect) and panicked and jerked away, with protest.
She lost a few hairs that were stuck close to the tick still, and got in the lasso however, I was left holding the thread tightly at both ends, the tick, in tact no less, lasso-ed by it's head. (It wasn't moving at all so maybe the polish or remover had killed it or something close to...)
I put string, tick and all in a plastic bag, slid the air out and zipped it up: just in case I need to show it to a vet later on.
I didn't want to squeeze it with my fingers trying to pull it out- squishing bacteria into the animal, I'd recently cut my nails off, I didn't have tweezers because we are traveling and you must draw the line somewhere or bring EVERYTHING you own on your trips, I'd already used enough chemicals, I was unwilling to use fire or sharp instruments on her jugular, I don't smoke, I'd read too many conflicting opinions on the 'smothering' techniques but I had some heavy duty thread so- necessity being the mother of invention and because I wanted to go to bed and didn't want the critter coming off and losing it in the bed with us...so-there you go.
By the time I typed this, my little Mousie wasn't sad anymore. I'll be carrying thread from now on in a travel sewing kit in my purse.
You do as you like: I'm not a veterinarian so I have no definitive answer to this dilemma but this string lasso method worked best and safest for me and mine.
How to Remove a Tick From a Dog (with Pictures) - Instructables
BugOff Garlic had made a huge difference for my very active Australian Shepherds. Still, the quantity of ticks we encounter on walks is astonishing. I've had excellent results from using Preventic collars with amitraz. This compound paralyzes a tick's mouthparts; it can't bite your dog, which actually must happen if any of he spot-on products are going to kill the ticks! Follow the directions on the packaging as to when a dog is old enough to use the product - and watch very closely for ANY signs of irritation on your pup's neck. The product remains active even when dogs swim a LOT. I have found the best way to find ticks in the thick Aussie double coat, is to turn on our big show dog forced air blow drier; the hair gets parted at the skin level, and it is far easier to spot the small irregular bumps that might be ticks, or burrs, that hours and hours of line combing. After a grand river walk in the heaviest tick places, it takes me less than 20 minutes with the dryer to examine TWO Aussies, top to bottom. Never imagined the dryer would be part of our anti tick protocol - who knew? The BugOff Garlic from Springtime seriously reduced the number of ticks that choose to hop aboard; before BugOff Garlic, finding more than 300 ticks per dog was the norm, whereas now I find fewer than 10 on both dogs combined...and thanks to the tick collar, none of those ticks have managed to bite. The amitraz collars are effective for 3 months at a time, and I found decent prices on Amazon. The BugOff Garlic comes from Springtime; in their catalogs and web site, it explains why the misunderstanding of garlic toxicity came about. For what amounts to a nickle per day for both dogs, they enjoy the anti inflammatory, circulatory, and bug repellant properties, and reduce the hours I spend removing ticks. Great stuff!
I easily remove about 20 ticks a year from my two dogs