Tick Prevention in Dogs Experiment: Ticked Off at the Tick Situation—Tick Tag Results Evaluation

Can a tag prevent ticks from feasting on your dog? Maybe.

Last time I talked about the conundrum ticks might have become for us. For the longest time, we found hardly any … until the fall when they seemed to have come out of the woodwork. Was that a reflection of things to come?

While we’re still hoping that somehow that was a freak coincidence, it would be foolish to bet on that. The big question was, what should we do about it?

Tick Prevention in Dogs Experiment: Ticked Off at the Tick Situation—Tick Tag Results Evaluation

Conventional tick prevention

The last time we tried a tick preventive (Advantix), Cookie had a bad reaction to it. I mean shortly after application she “lost it” and we had to quickly wash it off her.

Oral preventives were on the table. But while a topical can be washed off, what is there to do if Cookie had an adverse reaction to a systemic one? When I asked, I learned there are no “antidotes” to any of those products. You’d think there would be, wouldn’t you? But supposedly they are so safe that I must be the only one thinking about antidotes.

We considered vaccinating against Lyme instead, but there is a serious concern with that too.

What about benign neglect?

Benign neglect is a “technical term” meaning noninterference. This led to a long philosophical discussion about what would be easier to live with should things go wrong. If something bad happens, is it easier to live with it if it was a result of inaction or action? Can you screw up by not doing anything? Sure you can. Which scenario would make one feel worse?

How much difference is there between “we did this to her” and “we didn’t stop this from happening?”

We’ve had enough history of adverse drug reactions not to take things lightly. What we want is what everybody wants. Something effective while completely safe.

Is there such a thing?

Safe monthly chewables?

When discussing this further with Cookie’s vet, she recommended a different product, which is supposed to be completely safe. Yet, when I went to their website, side effects warning is the first thing they have on their home page right after the main text.

While the main text starts with “Safe monthly chewables …” only three paragraphs down it has safety information. It lists that the product may cause abnormal neurologic signs such as:

  • tremors
  • decreased conscious proprioception
  • ataxia
  • decreased or absent menace
  • and/or seizures

Ugh, does that sound safe to you?

I think the day when I reach for an oral tick preventive isn’t coming any time soon.

Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: The Verdict Is In (for Now)

Tick collars

What about collars? The Seresto collar has been recommended to me, and it seems many people use it. Two main active ingredients; one from the class of neonicotinoids and one is from the pyrethroid family just as permethrin which is what is in Advantix.

I remained unhappy with the options. Benign neglect has been looking better and better.

First, do no harm.

Is there anything a step or two above benign neglect? Voo science. I mentioned the possibility of us reaching to voo science last time. And after long consideration, that’s what we decided on (for now anyway).

Yes, we decided to try a flea and tick tag.

It was somewhat tough to pick one as there are a few out there. Maybe they all work, maybe none of them do. Or, perhaps, there is one, the original, that works and the rest don’t. But there is no scenario we can see where the tag itself could be harmful to anything other than our wallet.

So has been our choice (for now).

Naturally, it is possible Cookie never runs into any more ticks. It is also possible that she will start getting them in which case we need to revisit our decision. And there is a chance that the tag actually does work. Who knows?

And maybe one just needs to believe it will work and it will. Placebo effect? I’m all for it.

Cookie, of course, has had no issues with the tag.

I am happy to state that so far, we haven’t found a single tick on Cookie.

I am aware, however, that this can mean one of two things – either the tick tag indeed works, or there were simply no ticks around at the same places and the same time Cookie was.

That’s why this is not a product review.

The only way I could honestly review the tick tag would be having had a “control,” meaning one dog wearing the tag and one not wearing the tag, playing and hunting at the same places at the same times. Even when I did have more than one dog, I wouldn’t have done that. I would not “sacrifice” one of them “in the name of science.”

Writing a negative review would have been easy – if we found ticks on Cookie while she was wearing it, it would have been a clear fail. There is not enough data for a positive review.

All I can say in good faith is that the tag might be working.

How likely is it that one year the place would have been polluted with ticks and the next year there would be none? I’d think the odds of that are relatively slim but who knows?

I will be using it for the next year too. If anything changes in the status quo, I will keep you updated.

Have you ever used a tick tag for your dog? Do you find it effective? Or do you have to draw the same conclusions I have?

Related articles:
The Ticking Bomb

Further reading:
Natural Tick and Flea Repellent – Pet Protector Flea and Tick Tag Review

Categories: Dog careParasite preventionTicks

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

2 Comments
  1. I wish you the best with the tag! Thanks for sharing our experience with ours. After my initial review, I do still spray Dexter with a natural DIY tick spray before heading out the door. I also double check with a nice combing once a day. It may seem like work to some, but he is more than worth it. 🙂

    • It’s an important work. With the sprays, Cookie goes crazy with the smells of essential oils (regardless of the kind). So as long as I can not use that, I will.

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