The hands-down best flea/tick/bug protection I've found is Garlic. Supplement food, let it "build up" in their systems, and they no longer smell appealing to biting creatures.
Clover has a Maltese buddy he plays with who uses Frontline (& similar). Weekending on Cape Cod, they go running through beaches, bushes, everywhere - she had had her topical stuff on her a few days before, and would emerged with many bugs crawling and biting her, and I'd maybe pull one tick off Clover that had not attached.
Yes, Garlic is safe - there are studies showing that to have any effects, dogs would have to consume unrealistically huge amounts. Definitely not worse than rubbing pesticides on them! Might be nice to try in combination with getting your yard sprayed, etc.
I buy from a company called Springtime, Inc. They also have links to the studies about garlic safety. http://www.springtimeinc.com/
They have it as a chewable or a powder - I use powder and mix in with canned food. No problem getting him to eat it.
Clove gets Bug Off Garlic & Longevity, and at 13 most people (vets included) are shocked he's more than 6 or 7.
And to answer the most common question - no, they don't reek of garlic. He does have garlic breath, but that's better than dog breath if you ask me :-)