Bravecto vs Nexgard: Our 2019 In-Depth Comparison

Look there are a lot of flea and tick medications out there. Spot-on treatments used to be the most common type, but since the discovery of isoxazolines, this process has gotten a lot easier. Isoxazolines are a class of pesticide that works on the nervous system of small insects, paralyzing them so they can’t feed or complete the reproductive life cycle.

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The FDA has approved this class as safe for your pet, and two of the most commonly prescribed types are Bravecto and Nexgard. Which one is the right one for you? Let’s take a look.

Which is Better Bravecto or Nexgard for Dogs?

We are big fans of Bravecto overall, but there is one particular time when Nexgard is the better choice. With Bravecto, you must wait until your dog is at least 6 months before administering the treatment. Nexgard is safe for puppies as young as eight weeks.

Aside from that, Bravecto lasts longer and is safe for pregnant and nursing animals to take. We recommend going with the quarterly treatment instead of trying to keep up with something once a month.

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Which is Better Bravecto or Nexgard for Cats?

Bravecto doesn’t have a chewable for cats, only dogs. Bravecto is available for cats as a spot on treatment, which has the added advantage of repelling fleas and ticks, not just killing them.

That said, it can be notoriously difficult to protect cats with treatments because many cats are indoor/outdoor cats. Nexgard doesn’t produce medication specifically for cats and it is NOT advised to give your cat anything that is labeled specifically for dogs.

We recommend Bravecto here as there is no comparison to be made.

Our Review of Bravecto and Nexgard

Both Bravecto and Nexgard are excellent, commonly prescribed treatments. They’re part of the same class of pesticide, and for dogs, both come in a chewable. Both require a prescription from your vet before beginning treatments, and neither have an over the counter version.

Key Differences Between Bravecto and Nexgard

There are some pretty significant differences between the two, however. Let’s take a look.

Dosage

Bravecto treatments last for up to three months. This timeline is excellent if you don’t want to remember a monthly dosage or if your dog just doesn’t typically like chewables of any kind. You wouldn’t have to fight with your dog as often about taking it.

Bravecto isn’t available as a chewable for cats. Instead, it’s a spot-on treatment, but it’s still good for the same length of time. You should always inspect your outdoor cats for signs that the product is wearing off sooner than three months, however.

Age

Bravecto is not suitable for dogs under the age of 6 months because of the rate of growth. Because the dosage lasts so long, your dog’s growing body could change and grow out of the dosage faster than you could safely administer it. It’s best to wait.

Nexgard can be given to dogs as young as eight weeks. Before then, you’ll have to quarantine your pets or use a collar for protection, but after that, you’re set.

Pregnant And Nursing Pets

Bravecto hasn’t been evaluated as safe for use in pregnant or nursing dogs. Nexgard should be safe if your pet is pregnant or nursing. You could always switch back to Bravecto once that period has ended.

Bravecto and Nexgard Active Ingredients Comparison

Both are the same class of pesticide, but two different varieties affectionally called the “laners.”

Nexgard: Afoxolaner

Afoxolaner is a class of neurotoxin that works systemically to kill fleas before they can reproduce. It begins to work within hours and kills 100% of fleas within 24 hours. The dosage is smaller and more frequent, which may make it better at controlling tick populations than Bravecto’s three-month dosage, but that isn’t entirely clear yet.

Bravecto: Fluralaner

Fluralaner is the same sort of systemic neurotoxin, but the dosages are different. It covers your pet for a range of up to three months with fleas and begins to work within two hours. However, studies show it may be slightly less effective with ticks, so make your choices according to how much of an issue ticks are in your area and for your dog.

Which Treatment is the Best Priced?

Both are very similar, but Nexgard is overall less expensive than Bravecto. When you purchase the single dosage for Bravecto, it’s about $50 or so dollars more expensive than a three-month supply of Nexgard. Overall, somewhat negligible. Since they both require a prescription, the soft costs are about the same as well.

Which Do We Recommend?

We recommend Bravecto overall aside from a couple of narrow cases. Bravecto offers long-term protection that’s simple to administer. You don’t need to fight with your dog as much. The cost is technically more expensive, but for most consumers, the difference would be negligible.

It’s safe for pregnant, lactating, and nursing dogs, which can be a huge boost. However, if your puppy is less than six months old, you’re going to have to go with Nexgard. Also, if your pets live in a tick-heavy environment with chronic disease-carrying ticks, Nexgard is minimally more effective against ticks and might be warranted.

Overall, Bravecto has you covered for most of your flea and tick needs. We are big fans of less is more and enjoy the idea that one simple treatment could help our pets for as long as three months. That’s just awesome.

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7 Treatment Application Tips

Bravecto’s chewables have an excellent reputation for being dog pleasers, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Before Treatment

If your pet is one of the few that hates treats, at least you’ve only got to do this every three months, right? You can make it easier by playing games with the treat to try to encourage your pet to eat it without fussing. To help make that easier you can:

  • Establish a routine that lets your pet know what’s going on. You might create a hand signal that’s only for the treatment for example. When your pet sees the hand signal, it gets the dose and then a fun treat afterward. Your pet knows something good is coming and is less likely to fight you over it. In theory, the more reward your pet has and the more familiar your pet is with the routine as a whole, the less likely you’ll have issues. Granted, it does depend on the personality of your pet.
  • Treat your spaces. Although both medicines are excellent at killing fleas, they only work once fleas have come in contact with your dog. To prevent fleas from plaguing your dog before being killed by the medicine, treat your indoor and possibly your outdoor spaces to kill existing flea populations. This provides your dog relief from both fleas currently on them and fleas in their spaces.

After Treatment

  • Make sure you watch your dog for a while to see if any adverse reactions occur. Even if you’ve given the medicine before, it’s always possible for your pet to develop an allergy. Common reactions include stomach issues, dry mouth, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice your pet isn’t acting normally, you may want to schedule a visit with the vet just in case.
  • If you have cats, be sure to check the status of their treatment frequently. A lot can happen in three months, and if your cat spends any time outside, the efficacy of the medicine involved could vary depending on how much time your cat spends getting wet, scraping through brush, and other factors that always affect topical solutions. Despite that, the topical solution can actually repel fleas and ticks, so they never get on your cat in the first place.

Treating Cats

Cats are a whole different game, right? Here are a few tips for treating your cats.

  • Yes, your cats need flea and tick prevention. Just because they’re indoor cats, it doesn’t mean you don’t need some sort of treatment in place. Fleas and ticks can wander in the house and cause a quick infestation before you even realize what’s happening. Treating your cat takes care of all contingencies. It also helps your cat stay safe if it ever accidentally gets outside. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • To help with topical applications, exercise your cat before you put the treatment on. Play your cat’s favorite game or, if your cat’s the type, go on a walk. Your cat might be calmer for the application and less likely to fight it. You could also try to apply it during times of the day when your cat is calmer (or sleepy) anyway.
  • Blindfold your cat if it seems determined to fight the treatment. Cats are usually much calmer when they can’t see. We may not be able to explain exactly why that is, but covering your cat’s eyes may be just the thing you need to apply the treatment and allow it to soak in before having your cat tear through the house again. If it makes you nervous fashioning a blindfold yourself, there’s good news. Kitty muzzles are little pieces that fit over your cat’s eyes but do not interfere with breathing. Wearing one can help give your cat the stillness you need to apply the treatment thoroughly and carefully without getting it all over you.

Final Thoughts

Cats need flea treatments just as much as dogs, so don’t forget your kitty in all this. With treatments such as Bravecto and Nexgard make things so much easier to do, especially with your dogs. It’s just an awesome, chewy tablet just begging to be eaten and your dog is protected for a month to up to three.

You shouldn’t even need to fight with your dog to administer it. Bravecto should cover you easily, and you can get on with your life knowing that it’s only a matter of a few hours before fleas begin dropping off, not to return for at least three months.

Cats shouldn’t take Nexgard as it is only manufactured for dogs. They can get a Bravecto spot-on treatment to handle their stuff. If your cat is an outdoor cat, we recommend that you consider giving your cat Bravecto because of it has a good ability to protect against ticks. Since you don’t know every place your cat goes when it’s outside, this might make you feel a bit better about outdoor pests.

Your flea treatments are easy, so get on board and don’t let your pet’s itching go on even one more day. Talk to your vet and get it all sorted out.

What do you think about giving your pets flea treatments in a chewable? Will your pet take those? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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