If you're looking for a monthly topical flea and tick control product for your dog, either Frontline Plus or K9 Advantix can fill the bill. Both products are available over the counter, without the need for a veterinary prescription. They're both available in canine weight-appropriate dosages in small tubes for easy application on the skin between your dog's shoulder blades. Your choice might depend on the parasites in your region and the animals sharing your household.
Frontline Plus consists primarily of the insecticide fipronil and the insect-growth regulator (S)-methoprene. Fipronil works by accumulating in the oil of a dog's hair follicles and skin, allowing it to continuously release over the 30 days between application periods and kill adult pests. (S)-methoprene eradicates flea eggs and larvae. Frontline Plus eliminates fleas, flea eggs and larvae, ticks and chewing lice. You can apply Frontline Plus to puppies over the age of eight weeks.
Manufactured by Bayer Animal Health, K9 Advantix contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and permethrin. The combination of these chemicals paralyzes and kills parasites. In addition to killing the same parasites eliminated by Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix also kills mosquitoes and stable and sand flies. According to information provided by Bayer Animal Health, K9 Advantix repelled a considerably higher percentage of ticks on dogs during the month following treatment. You can apply K9 Advantix to puppies over the age of seven weeks.
While there is a feline version of Frontline Plus, the ingredients in K9 Advantix are toxic to cats. It's more than a question of not using the product on felines. Exposure to these chemicals can kill Kitty, so if your dog shares the household with cats, you must make sure they don't come in direct contact with him for a few hours after the monthly application. If your cat is exposed, take him to the vet immediately. Treatment consists of thoroughly washing the animal, then monitoring for any neurological symptoms. Most cats recover if they receive prompt veterinary treatment.
Side Effects and Contraindications
With both drugs, some dogs experience irritation, itching, hair loss or lesions at the application site. While Frontline Plus is safe to use on pregnant and nursing dogs, that's not true of K9 Advantix. If your dog suffers from kidney or liver disease, do not administer K9 Advantix. Side effects reported with K9 Advantix include vomiting, excessive salivation and lethargy. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best flea and tick control product for your dog.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.