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Bravecto Chews For Dogs – Are They Safe?

How does Bravecto work, and how do I know it’s going to be safe for my dog? Any responsible pet owner would ask the same questions, and for good reason. Like you, I don’t want to pump my dogs with chemicals that could make them deathly sick. There’s a lot more to consider, however, than the results of a few random studies.

Bravecto has its fair share of controversy. Facebook groups like Does Bravecto Kill Dogs are filled with anecdotes from dog owners who’ve had tragic experiences with this drug.

Thousands of dogs, however, take Bravecto regularly with no problems at all. At the end of the day, you want to do what’s best for your dog. Bravecto isn’t the only way to kill fleas and ticks, which means you have other options.

How Does Bravecto Work?

Bravecto (fluralaner) belongs to a class of drug known as isoxazolines. Drugs that belong to this class of drug are absorbed into the bloodstream and then quickly settle into fatty tissue under the skin.

Read: Animal Health Literacy Fact Sheet.

When parasites swallow Fluralaner it creates dysfunction in the nervous system and prevents them from functioning normally. Bravecto can get fleas under control within 8 hours. Ticks, however, take a little longer at 24 hours.

Once these cycles of infestation are ended, they’re not going to come back as long as you keep up the quarterly dose.

Bravecto Chews for Dogs protect against fleas and ticks

Are Bravecto Chews Safe For Dogs?

Merk Animal Health, the manufacturer of Bravecto, considers the drug safe for dogs that weigh at least 4.4 pounds and for puppies from six months of age and up.

Before Bravecto hit the market, the product was thoroughly tested through rigid clinic trials. These clinical trials included the administration of doses 5 x the recommended amount.

Healthy adult dogs along with puppies were offered these high doses at 8 week intervals.

The FDA acknowledges that there have been serious adverse effects from the drug and they are currently (as of September, 2018) working with manufacturers to update their labelling to include risk of seizures in dogs.

Side Effects of Bravecto in Dogs

The most common side-effect of Bravecto for dogs includes sleepiness, weakness, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and flatulence.

If your dog vomits soon after taking Bravecto, you may need to offer another dose. However, please make sure to ask your veterinarian before you do that.

If you dog continues to vomit (whether your dog gets another dosage or not), it’s important for you to contact the veterinarian’s office.

While adverse side-effects are not common, it’s important to know they exist. Bravecto has been known to cause seizures, even in dogs who’ve never had a seizure disorder before.

Bravecto has been approved for use in pregnant, breeding, or lactating dogs.

How Long Does Bravecto Last?

Bravecto continues to provide effective flea and tick control for up to 12 weeks.


How Does Bravecto Work on Mange?

Because of how Bravecto works in the dog’s body, it has been shown to be useful in treating localized and generalized demodicosis. Demodicosis infection is caused by mites in dogs.

Microscopic mites can live in your dog’s hair follicles or oil glands and cause mange. Dogs with mange have inflamed and itchy skin combined with loss of fur. There’s more than one type of mite, leaving your dog vulnerable to a variety of mange forms.

Read this to find out how to best treat and prevent heartworm in dogs!

What Are The Ingredients in Bravecto Chews?

Bravecto chews contain the active ingredient known as fluralaner. This ingredient belongs to a class of drugs known as isoxazolines.

The discovery of isoxazoline compounds gave birth to the first oral flea and tick prevention medication.

Fluralaner is an ectoparasiticide that belongs to the isoxazoline class. It works on the gaba receptors in insects, rendering them neurologically deficient and unable to maintain their normal breeding/life cycle.

What are the Alternatives to Bravecto for Dogs?

The best alternatives to Bravecto for dogs are any of the other prescription drugs on the market designed for this reason.

These medications include topical applications of K9 Advantix II (active ingredients are imidacloprid and permethrin. Permethrin is also found in household pesticides), Frontline Plus, Advantage (only kills fleas), Nexgard, Revolution, etc.

These medications have been on the market longer and are considered safe for dogs. Cats cannot metabolize permethrin.

This active ingredient would be considered poison for cats and would need to be treated as if they’d swallowed a deadly poison.

The list above is only a partial list. Your veterinarian can provide the best information based on your dog’s particular needs.

You can’t decide on the best alternative to Bravecto for your dog based on what someone else tried. Like us, every dog is unique with unique chemistry. Breed, size, age, underlying health conditions, allergies, and immune function all play a role in the safety of Bravecto in dogs.

Is Bravecto Safe in Herding Breeds?

The MDR1 gene is a mutation that affects mainly herding breeds. These breeds are especially sensitive to certain drugs and could have serious adverse effects.

If you own a herding dog (or a mixed dog with suspected herd dog genetics) please talk to your veterinarian. He/she will be best versed in the safest medications to give your dog.

Are There Alternatives to Bravecto Chews?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent fleas and ticks from getting into your house and onto our dog (and furniture).

Some of these methods include spraying your home with insecticide, vacuuming pets’ beds, furniture, carpets, etc. every day, manually removing ticks and checking for ticks everyday, use diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide, etc.

Again, that’s simply my opinion. I’m not a veterinarian and I highly suggest talking with a licensed vet about your dog’s flea and tick prevention needs.

Arming yourself with as much information as possible is a good thing. It can all get pretty confusing though, so please don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian questions. If you don’t feel comfortable asking the veterinarian questions, you’re with the wrong vet.


Do Essential Oils and/or Alcohol Kill Fleas and Ticks?

There is no evidence to suggest that essential oils provide effective treatment against fleas or ticks on dogs. In fact, you could be doing more harm than good.

Using rubbing alcohol and dish detergent on a regular basis, for example, can dry out your dog’s skin and aggravate and current skin conditions he/she may have.

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Tips for Safe Administration of Bravecto Chews

If your pet has been topically treated with one of the spot-on flea and tick medicines, keep them away from other pets in your home for a few hours if possible.

The is prevents one animal from grooming another and ingesting the medication by accident.

Watch your pet for a few hours after administering a topical solution (or feeding something like a Bravecto chew) for signs of adverse reaction.

This could include severe vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, poor appetite, depression or excessive drooling.

If your dog has any kind of skin reaction to a topical solution, wash the product off with warm water and a mild soap and contact the veterinarian right away.

Older dogs who are already dealing with chronic illnesses or weakness may not tolerate oral or topical flea and tick medications.

Wash your hands after applying a topical drug or wear gloves while using it.

If adverse effects do occur, you should report them to the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378.

How to Report Adverse Effects

You can report adverse side effects of Bravecto or any other medication (prescription or over-the-counter) directly to the FDA.

Not able to get in touch with your veterinarian right away? Phone the National Animal Poison Control phone number at 1-888-426-4435. Please be aware that the NAPC may charge a fee for services.


Bravecto, a one-of-a-kind drug created by Merck, is a long-term solution to a nasty flea and tick problem.

Although considered safe for the majority of otherwise healthy dogs, there have been serious adverse side effects reported. These side effects include severe vomiting, diarrhea and death.

Bravecto Chews are only available through a veterinarian’s prescription.

At the end of the day, we all want happy and healthy dogs. Protecting them from disease-carrying parasites is one of our top priorities. Unfortunately, that comes with inherent risks.

The best way to mitigate these risks is to have an open dialogue with veterinary professionals. The goal of this post wasn’t to tell you what to give your dog. Instead, I want you to think about the options and not be afraid of asking questions.

I hope you were able to get a lot of useful information from this post! Please let me know if I’ve left something out or if you read something that you don’t believe is correct.

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