4 Alternatives to Nexgard® for Dogs According to a Vet

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I think it’s great that we have so many effective products these days to control flea and tick infestations on our pets. When I was a kid, we had to resort to dousing our poor pups with highly toxic chemicals like Dursban® to keep parasites at bay. 

But with the proliferation of flea and tick control products comes confusion. Which controls which parasites and which is the most affordable?

Credelio® is one of the most similar alternatives to NexGard for dogs. Like NexGard, Credelio comes in a chewable form that is given monthly. It is labeled to kill fleas and the same types of ticks as NexGard. 

What Is Nexgard for Dogs?

Nexgard is a next-generation flea and tick product available in the U.S. for dogs. NexGard was approved for use in dogs to control fleas and ticks in 2013. 

The active ingredient is afoxolaner and it comes in a beef-flavored, chewable treat that dogs eat once a month. Afoxolaner is a chemical compound that affects the nerve signaling in parasites enough to kill them. Dogs’ nerve cells operate in a different way so they are not as affected by the chemical. (Shoop)

NexGard is labeled for use in dogs and puppies at least 8 weeks of age and weighing at least 4 pounds. It is given monthly and controls fleas, American dog tick, brown dog tick, deer(black-legged) tick, and Lone star ticks. (insert)

NexGard comes in packages of 1, 3 or 6 doses. Packages are labeled for dogs 4-10 pounds, 10.1-24 pounds, 24.1-60 pounds, and 60.1-121 pounds. The cost varies depending on where you buy it and how much you buy. When I checked, online pharmacies were charging anywhere from $21 to $27 per dose. 

Potential Side Effects of NexGard 

Afoxolaner is in the class of drugs known as isoxazolines. All the drugs in this class have been associated with neurologic abnormalities in dogs including seizures, tremors, and wobbly gait (ataxia). 

FDA has issued an alert notifying pet owners of the potential for isoxazoline-containing products to cause neurological events. They advise that most animals can use these products safely, but pet owners should be aware of the risks. 

Pet products containing isoxazoline chemicals include Bravecto/Bravecto Plus and Bravecto 1-month, Credelio, Nexgard, Simparica and Simparica Trio and Revolution Plus. (FDA alert)

Other side effects of NexGard for dogs may include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry skin
  • Poor appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Hyperactivity/restlessness, panting
  • Itchiness, redness, rash, hives, and/or swelling of the skin
dog scratching
Looks like this pup needs something to help with skin parasites!

Why You Might Need Alternatives to Nexgard

No pet product is right for every pet. There are many reasons pet owners might need to avoid giving their dog NexGard to control fleas and ticks. Some of the more common reasons are

  • Dog had an adverse reaction to NexGard
  • Dog has a food allergy to an ingredient 
  • Dog won’t eat the pill
  • Pet owner prefers a topical product
  • NexGard is too costly
  • NexGard is not available in pet owner’s locale

Here are my recommendations for pet owners looking for an alternative to NexGard treatment for their dog. There are many other options–please consult your veterinarian to figure out which product will suit your dog best.

NexGard Substitute for Dogs with Neurological Side Effects

For dogs who have experienced a neurological adverse reaction to NexGard, consider using Frontline. It is not absorbed into the bloodstream and may be less likely to affect the nervous system of a sensitive dog.

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Alternative to NexGard for Dogs with Food Allergies

Although the makers of NexGard say the beef flavoring is artificial, you might not want to risk it if your dog is allergic to beef. You could try Bravecto which is flavored with pork. And dogs with food allergies can usually use spot-on topical or collar-type flea and tick products.  

Cheaper Alternative to NexGard

If the cost of NexGard is too salty for you, look into a cheaper form of flea and tick treatment like a Seresto® collar. These cost only around $50-60 dollars from online sources and last up to 8 months, bringing the monthly cost to about $7 per month.

Frontline Plus® is another relatively affordable spot-on tick and flea treatment for dogs. It will cost you around $10 per month.

4 Oral Substitutes for Nexgard 

There are four veterinary products for dogs that come in a chewable tablet and prevent both flea and tick infestation. They’re similar, but they don’t all control for exactly the same parasites. 

Check with your veterinarian to see which one is best for your dog in your particular location. 

ProductParasites Controlled
Bravecto®Flea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, deer (black-legged) tick, American dog tick
Credelio®Flea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, deer (black-legged) tick, American dog tick
Simparica®Flea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick
Simparica Trio®Flea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick, hookworms, roundworms. Prevents heartworm disease.
flea and tick (alternatives to NexGard

Topical Tick and Flea Control Products for Dogs

Now, if you’re willing to use a spot-on or collar-form flea and tick medication as a substitute for NexGard, you have a lot of choices. I will list a few of the more commonly sold products below. 

I’ve been using Frontline Plus on my dogs for many years and have been happy with it. It’s not difficult to apply and it’s more affordable than NexGard. It’s a good option for dogs with food allergies or who just don’t like taking chewable medication. 

ProductParasites Controlled
Bravecto Spot-onFlea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, deer (black-legged) tick, American dog tick.
Frontline® Gold, Plus or Tritak Spot-onFlea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, deer (black-legged) tick, American dog tick, chewing lice. Plus and Tritak control sarcoptic mange mites. 
K9 Advantix® & Advantix II® Spot-onFlea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, deer (black-legged) tick, American dog tick, mosquitos, lice. Repels flies. 
Revolution® Spot-onFleas, American dog tick, ear mites and sarcoptic mange mites.  Prevents heartworm disease.
Seresto® CollarFlea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick, chewing lice. Controls sarcoptic mange mites.
Vectra 3D® Spot-onFlea, brown dog tick, lone star tick, Gulf Coast tick, American dog tick, mosquitos, lice, sand flies and mites.

Summary

NexGard is a newer flea and tick prevention for dogs that comes in the form of a chewable pill treat. It works well for most dogs but can cause seizures and other neurological side effects in very few animals. 

There are many NexGard alternatives for your pets. The most similar are Credelio and Bravecto chewables. Topical products that have a spectrum of parasite control similar to NexGard include Frontline spot-on and Seresto collars. 

The content provided on YourVetFriend.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Our content is not intended to take the place of professional veterinary advice and should not be relied upon to guide or influence the medical treatment of any animal. For more information please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use page.

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References

  1. Frontline Vet Labs. (2022b, January 5). NexGard: Product Information. VetLabel.Com. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from https://vetlabel.com/lib/vet/meds/nexgard/
  2. Center for Veterinary Medicine. (2021, August 13). Fact Sheet for Pet Owners and Veterinarians about Potential Adverse Events Associated with Isoxazoline Flea and Tick Products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/fact-sheet-pet-owners-and-veterinarians-about-potential-adverse-events-associated-isoxazoline-flea
  3. Shoop, W. L., Hartline, E. J., Gould, B. R., Waddell, M. E., McDowell, R. G., Kinney, J. B., … & Confalone, P. N. (2014). Discovery and mode of action of afoxolaner, a new isoxazoline parasiticide for dogs. Veterinary Parasitology, 201(3-4), 179-189.

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