Nexgard Side Effects: Should You Use It?

When owning a pet, fleas and ticks can be a common problem, and in addition to the obvious inconvenience, they can also transmit deadly diseases to your little pet and even yourself. Therefore it comes as no surprise that there are many options available in today’s market, all in the name of keeping fleas and ticks at bay.

In this article we will have a look at NexGard, an FDA-approved product designed as a beef-flavoured digestible chew. If your little pet might not be so little, or if it likes making its own decisions, you’ve probably struggled with the spot-on treatment, and are already interested in this headache-free method. But you might want to keep on reading.

What is NexGard Usually Used For?

NexGard is actually designed solely for dogs, claiming to have the ability to kill adult fleas before they lay eggs, thus making it a preventative measure. In addition, another thing worth mentioning is that the treatment also kills ticks, all in its chew FDA-approved form. If you’re the proud owner of a puppy, this product may also be useful for you, as NexGard is safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old, weighing 4 pounds or even more.

But how does it actually work? According to the official website, NexGard is made by Merial, the creators of the widely-known Frontline. Unlike topical treatments, this medication contains an afoxolaner, otherwise known as an insecticide and acaricide which is absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream. If these words confuse you, you’re not alone, but the bottom line is that the product both prevents and treats flea infestation and ticks.

If you’re anything like me though, you’re probably already frowning whilst trying to understand if this product is safe or not. Most owners want to be fully aware of what their pets are eating, drinking and playing with, so let’s take a closer look at what NexGard is all about.

Side Effects

While side effects are quite rare, there are some cases where they actually do occur. If you’re planning on looking at the company’s official website, you will clearly see that the reported side-effects of the treatment are listed multiple times within a page. These NexGard problems include diarrhoea, irritation, drowsiness, vomiting and lack of appetite. And just to make matters worse, the effect of the treatment in female dogs which are breeding or lactating has not yet been researched.

Needless to say, before buying any new product, you should read all labels with attention. Also, as we’re not all medical professionals, the best advice I can give you is to consult with your veterinarian before administering any kind of treatment, regardless of brand!

Allergies to Nexgard

So let’s go back to those potential NexGard problems. If you’ve already administered the medication to your dog and notice any allergic reactions or side effects (e.g. vomiting, lethargy), your dog may be suffering from NexGard Allergies; these occur when the active ingredient we’ve mentioned before –afoxolaner- is not suitable for your dog, despite it being considered safe.

But did you know that symptoms can vary from dog to dog? This means that it’s absolutely crucial to be informed about what products cause what adverse reactions, giving you enough time to spot the changes and call your vet. You are the best judge of your dog’s usual behaviour, so you’ll definitely be able to spot any differences in behaviour. Trust your instincts!

How Fast Does NexGard Work?

In terms of how long it takes for the treatment to actually work, NexGard acts pretty fast, killing 100% of fleas within 24 hours. Keeping the chemistry lesson to a minimum, I’ll only tell you that the medication works by over-stimulating the nervous system of both ticks and fleas. You may still see your little furry friend itching or scratching after 24 hours, but that’s usually just a habitual reaction which will stop after 2 to 3 days. A great thing which may put owners at ease is that it can be taken alongside other treatments such as heartworm medication.

Don’t forget though: just like with any other flea treatment, different strengths are required for different sized dogs. If you think that might pose a problem for you, your vet will make sure that the right dosage will be administered for your dog. If applied correctly, it will provide 30 days of effective protection against both fleas and ticks!

NexGard Vs Frontline

Most of you might not have been aware of NexGard until now, but have at least heard of Frontline. It may then surprise you to know that both products share the same maker. But what are the obvious differences between the two?

Main distinction is that NexGard is a chewable version of the spot-on treatment, and it kills 100% of fleas within 24 hours, as opposed to the 2-4 hours advertised by Frontline. Moreover, Frontline has been tested in lactating female dogs and is considered safe to use, whereas NexGard still hasn’t answered that question. In comparison, some of you might have problems with the topic treatment as you won’t be able to wash your dog 2-3 days before and after applying the medication.

The last notable difference is that the oral medication actually requires a prescription from the doctor, so it’s not widely available like Frontline. However, this may actually be a blessing in disguise, as you won’t have to worry about applying the wrong dosage. You win some, you lose some, right?


To sum up, fleas and ticks can be a serious problem if not controlled, however we are quite lucky to be nowadays able to choose from a variety of solutions including oral and topical treatments. If in the past you struggled with applying spot-on remedies, you may want to opt for the chewable version of the medication. But just like with any other product though, it’s important to be aware of the side-effects, as we’ve seen with the potential NexGard problems. Whatever treatment you choose, just remember that your veterinarian will surely lend you a helping hand in case you’re confused about which way to go.

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