When you brought home your puppy, you also brought home the chance of having fleas and ticks come along for the ride. These pests are an icky and common problem with any dog. Not only are they a nuisance,but they can make your baby ill.
There are many products on the market to deal with the dilemma. Which should you choose to kill the little bugs and keep their friends off your darling puppy? We’ve gathered the facts here on the two top selling topical flea and tick prevention and elimination products. Keep reading to discover which is right for you in the FRONTLINE vs. Advantix debate.
Fleas and Ticks! Run For Your Life!
OK. It may not be that dramatic. But, just the word “fleas” can strike fear in the heart of any pet parent. It can mean many things…itchy puppy; infested home and yard; trying multiple products to get rid of the tiny pests. Plus, they are carriers of multiple diseases not only to your dog but also to humans.
Ticks are no better. They are deadly in the diseases and misery they carry around. According to the VCA Animal Hospitals, ticks are “efficient carriers of disease”. “They attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly, and may go unnoticed” for a long time while feeding.
That makes them very effective disease transporters. For example, one tick can carry the chronic condition, Lyme disease, to both dogs and humans.
Kill Them With Fire!
Sorry. That obviously won’t work. But, we do want to eliminate and prevent fleas and ticks from returning. This is where our two featured products come in…K9 Advantix II vs. FRONTLINE Plus.
Where fleas are concerned, the entire life cycle should be addressed. Otherwise, we’ll just have the same problem once flea eggs and larvae mature to adult fleas.
Effective Flea and Tick Control
K9 ADVANTIX II — Bayer Pharmaceutical, the maker of K9 Advantix II liquid topical product, states that their product “stops fleas from biting your dog in less than five minutes”. They say it will kill 100% of the adult fleas on your dog within 12 hours.
The medication continues to work for up to one month. In addition to killing adult fleas, it disrupts the entire flea life cycle to eliminate flea infestation on your dog and in his environment.
According to Bayer, their product is different because of the addition of Imidacloprid to its other active ingredients, pyriproxyfen and permethrin. Imidacloprid was created to mimic the properties of nicotine. Found in many plants including tobacco, nicotine is toxic to insects. Imidacloprid is used to control sucking insects on pets.
Bayer states their product is the only topical flea and tick control treatment which contains this insecticide. In combination, these three chemicals repel and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
FRONTLINE PLUS — According to its maker, Merial, FRONTLINE Plus is a liquid topical product which kills fleas and ticks and destroys the next generation of flea eggs and larvae. The company’s information says that the product’s ingredients “work to kill 100% of adult fleas within 12 hours of application.”
The formula is stored in the oil glands of the pet’s skin to give protection from fleas and multiple species of ticks for 30 days.
The two active ingredients in FRONTLINE Plus are fipronil and (s)-methoprene. Fipronil is a broad use insecticide which kills fleas and ticks when they eat it or come in contact with it. This means fleas and ticks can be killed just by crawling through your pet’s fur; attaching is not necessary. Methoprene is an insect growth regulator. This inhibits the egg and larval stages of fleas from developing further into adults.
- Both products kill all existing adult fleas on dogs within 12 hours of application.
- Both disrupt the entire flea life cycle.
- Both kill ticks.
- Both products continue to work for 30 days.
- Only Advantix contains an ingredient which specifically repels and kills fleas and ticks, plus mosquitoes and lice.
- Advantix will repel biting flies before they strike.
FRONTLINE contains an ingredient which has an off-label use as fly and mosquito repellant.
Safety To Dogs, Cats, And Humans
K9 ADVANTIX II — While Advantix is safe for use on your dog (when used according to label instructions), the product’s label says it is very toxic to cats. Therefore, it is recommended to keep cats away from dogs treated with this product for 24 hours after application. If ingested by or used on felines, the chemicals in it can be fatal. Contact your veterinarian immediately if accidental ingestion by, or use on, cats occurs.
Similarly, there are precautions about humans contacting this product.
Seek immediate medical attention if ingestion occurs by humans. Wash thoroughly with soap and water if any of the product contacts your skin.
Bayer recommends checking with your vet before using the product on elderly, ill, pregnant, or nursing dogs. However, it does state that it can be used on puppies as young as seven weeks old. Puppies must weigh at least four pounds before using Advantix. Sensitivity has been reported in small dogs to permethrin, an ingredient in this product.
FRONTLINE PLUS — Merial lists no specific product safety information on its website. However, the product’s package does provide some safety statements. Children should not be allowed to apply FRONTLINE Plus. The area where applied should be avoided for 24 hours while it dries. It should be used only on dogs. The product is safe to use on all dogs, provided dosing instructions are followed. This includes pregnant and nursing dogs, and puppies as young as eight weeks old.
- Advantix is deadly to cats.
- Both products indicate humans should exercise caution when using them.
- FRONTLINE is safe for dogs of all ages and pregnant/nursing dogs.
- Either FRONTLINE or Advantix can be used on dogs as young as eight weeks old.
Advantix has a minimum weight requirement.
K9 ADVANTIX II — As a topical treatment, this product is made to be applied to your pet’s skin after parting the fur. It is placed evenly in three or four spots from between the shoulders to the base of the tail, depending on the dog’s size. Advantix is formulated to be used every four weeks. In cases of severe flea infestation, it can be used more often, but never re-treat more than once every seven days.
Always check with your veterinarian before reapplying. Return to a monthly schedule once fleas and ticks have been eliminated. Advantix comes in four sizes, from small dog to extra-large dog. Your dog may be bathed or swim within 48 hours after application.
FRONTLINE PLUS — Because this product is spread through your puppy’s oil glands in his skin, you only apply it in one location. Parting the fur between the shoulder blades, squeeze all the liquid from the tube. FRONTLINE comes in four sizes, from small dog to extra-large dog.
It is applied once per month. Information on the FRONTLINE website says the product has no expiration date, as long as it is stored properly. FRONTLINE is waterproof after it dries, so your dog may be bathed and go swimming while using this treatment.
- Both products work for one month.
- Each product allows your pet to be bathed or go swimming after the treatment dries.
- Both products are available in four sizes for small to extra-large dogs.
- Only FRONTLINE is applied to just one area of your puppy’s back.
ADVANTIX must be applied to several areas.
A Final Caution
The patent Merial was awarded on fipronil, one of the active ingredients in FRONTLINE Plus, expired a few years ago. This has allowed other manufacturers to begin using the chemical in off-brand, or generic, flea and tick treatment products. These generic products are not exact replicas of FRONTLINE Plus and do not meet the company’s safety profile.
The following is how the veterinarians at the Animal Medical Clinic at Peachtree City explain the issue. “Although generics utilize the same active ingredients as the original, they are not exactly the same product. This is very important to know. Different inactive ingredients may be included. This calls into question the safety of the product you put on your puppy.”
Topical flea and tick treatments should be regulated by the FDA. Instead, the generic products are overseen by the EPA. This allows the new copycat flea and tick products to be found on the shelves of Wal-Mart, Target and other big box stores across the country. Anecdotal evidence from consumers has accumulated which shows the generic products have made many dogs ill after use.
If you chose to use FRONTLINE Plus for your puppy’s flea and tick prevention, be sure you purchase the original product. This can only be found with certainty at your veterinarian’s office.