Does Frontline Plus Work?: Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs

Frontline Plus for Dogs
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Are you looking for the best flea and tick treatment for your dog? No doubt you’ve been on the hunt for the right one that will hopefully put those pesky parasites to rest. Frontline Plus has likely come into the conversation. Does it really work? Keep reading to find out.

But first, you must educate yourself about your enemy—which is in this case, the fleas and ticks attacking your canine companion—before conquering them

What are fleas?

illustration of a flea
Not drawn to scale. Fleas are much smaller than this in real life!

Fleas are small, wingless parasites that like to feed on hosts, or other organisms for blood. Although they don’t have wings, fleas can jump long distances. This is likely how they’re so easily spread.

But how does your dog get fleas?

Fleas live in shaded, protected areas outdoors like tall grass. If your dog spends time outside, especially in these areas, then he becomes the perfect host.

Once a few fleas have grabbed hold of your four-legged friend, your home and your beloved dog become a breeding ground for an infestation. Also, fleas can spread diseases to not only dogs, but humans as well.

Fleas go through four life stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. A female flea can lay up to 400 eggs. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment, the eggs can develop into flea larvae in as little as two days. The larvae are hard to spot and look like tiny maggots (Eeek). They like to feed on the feces of adult fleas (Yuck).

diagram of flea life cycle
Flea Life Cycle

 

After this, the larvae transition to the pupae, or cocoon stage and emerge within 7 to 14 days if under ideal warm/moist conditions. From there, the flea becomes an adult, giving it the opportunity to mate and multiply when possible.

How to tell if your dog has fleas

The possible signs of fleas include:

  • Constant scratching, licking, and/or biting
  • Red patches of skin
  • Pale gums
  •  
  • Flea “dirt”/feces on fur

If you suspect that your dog has fleas, be sure to check the warmer parts of his body like the ears or armpits as fleas thrive in warm conditions. Even if you’re convinced your dog has fleas, taking him to the vet is very important to rule out any other causes of his symptoms and to get proper treatment if it is fleas.

For further help, watch this short video to learn how to check your dog for fleas.

What are ticks?

Still with me? Let’s push on.

lone star tick
The famous Lone Star tick

Ticks are arachnids. “Arach” is the root word for spiders. Therefore, ticks are very similar to spiders. One key difference is the fact that ticks bite and then, feed on your dog’s blood.

Like fleas, ticks live outdoors and find their way onto your dog by latching onto his skin with their mouths and producing a sticky substance that helps them stay attached.

Then, the tick bites, gains access to your dog’s blood, and feeds on it. If the tick goes unsuspected long enough, it can draw so much blood that your dog can develop anemia.

The Dermacentor variabilis, also known as the American dog tick, or wood tick, is the species of tick that commonly affects dogs. These ticks carry various diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The American dog tick is certainly not the only type of tick that feeds on larger animals like dogs. Some types of ticks–for example, the deer tick that might carry Lyme disease–are more common in certain parts of the world like the Eastern parts of the United States, California and Oregon, or Europe.

How can you tell if your dog is being attacked or bitten by a tick?

It can be difficult to tell. Ticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also position themselves under a dog’s fur, so they aren’t always in plain sight. Here are a few things you might notice if your dog has suffered a tick bite:

  • Blood loss
  • Anemia
  • Skin Irritations

There are some symptoms that are more severe. Your dog might be experiencing paralysis caused by a dangerous neurotoxin released when female ticks bite. This toxin then enters your dog’s bloodstream. Lyme disease, a serious bacterial infection, is another possible illness your dog might contract from a tick bite. The symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lameness
  • Renal failure

What is Frontline Plus and how can it help?

It is a topical solution that you apply to your dog’s fur to kill fleas and ticks. It comes in an applicator with a tip for easy application.

Key Features of Frontline Plus

The manufacturers of Frontline Plus claim that it is proven flea and tick protection that vets have trusted for almost 20 years. A study showed that Frontline Plus killed adult fleas within 12 hours of application. Not only that, but flea eggs, pupae, and larvae, to prevent new flea infestations and promote one month of protection.

Additional features:

  • Works for a full 30 days
  • Prevents all flea stages from developing
  • Kills all parasitic life stages of ticks, Including ticks that may transmit Lyme disease

 


How does Frontline Plus for dogs work?

Frontline Plus is made with two powerful ingredients–fipronil and s-methoprene. Fipronil kills adult fleas, while s-methoprene kills flea eggs and larvae. S-methoprene is an insect growth regulator, which prevents flea larvae from growing into breeding adults. Fipronil, an antiparasitic agent, interferes with the central nervous system (CNS) of fleas and ticks, thereby killing them on contact.

The two ingredients are long-lasting because they collect in the oil glands of a pet’s skin, providing flea and tick protection for 30 days.

To apply Frontline Plus, you part your dog’s hair through the shoulder blades, place the applicator tip just above the skin and squeeze. The contents of the applicator should be applied in a single spot. Do this every 30 days.

how to apply frontline plus

It’s very important to place the liquid between your dog’s shoulder blades so that he won’t be able to reach back and ingest it. From that one spot, the contents of Frontline Plus will spread over the entire body.

Is Frontline Plus safe for dogs?

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates Frontline Plus and touts it as a safe and effective pesticide for not only dogs, but cats as well.

But that doesn’t stop some veterinarians from discouraging the use of the product due to concerns of its toxicity.

The most common side effects of Frontline Plus are skin reactions and they include:

  • Itching
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Sores
  • Redness
  • Hair loss 

Although rare, a dog might experience neurological side effects like seizures, lethargy, and uncoordinated movement.

How long does it take Frontline Plus to start working?

The manufacturers claim that Frontline can kill fleas within 24 hours and ticks within 48 hours.

Things to consider when using Frontline Plus

There are certain factors that may affect results and could possibly pose safety risks.

Age

Your dog must be at least 8 weeks of age to be treated with Frontline. If your dog is younger than this, it’s best to seek other methods of treatment like flea combs or using tweezers to pick off fleas.

Size/Weightlarge dog and small dog sitting together

Larger dogs will require a higher dose of the treatment. This is why it’s important to purchase the kind that’s specific to be your dog’s weight. But if you have a relatively small dog, you might want to think twice about using Frontline on him.

An investigation conducted by a team of veterinarians gathered by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that smaller dogs between 10 and 20 pounds were more susceptible to certain side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and seizures.

Other pets

If you have a cat or another dog, then chances are, they have fleas too. It’s best to treat them for fleas as well. Be sure to get the Frontline that’s specially formulated for cats.

Life stage of fleas

Flea eggs are a huge problem if not under control. According to a few case studies, for every adult flea, there is an estimated 120 eggs around your home. This is because female fleas can lay about 40 eggs a day. So if there are a lot of flea eggs on your dog, it will be harder to kill them as opposed to just a few adult fleas.


Severity of infestation

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. The more severe the infestation, the harder it will be to treat. It may take more than one dose of Frontline to notice a difference.

Other things to take into consideration:

  • Any medical conditions that may prevent treatment
  • Whether your dog is pregnant or nursing
    other medication(s)
  • If your dog is taking any medication (s) that might react with or reduce the effectiveness of the treatment

 

Is Frontline Plus effective?dog scratching

Yes, Frontline Plus can be effective if used correctly and in conjunction with other treatments. This includes treating your home for fleas and regularly bathing your dog with a quality flea shampoo (before administering Frontline Plus, NOT after, until about two days have passed).

 

Is Frontline Plus the best flea treatment?

When answering this question, it’s important to understand or determine what constitutes “best”. Of course, the effectiveness of the product is a key factor. But what about ingredients or overall safety and risks?

The amount of time it takes to treat the fleas and ticks should also be taken into consideration.

Is it cheap? Expensive?

You should also consider the killing power of other parasites and insects like lice, mosquitoes, and flies.

Frontline Plus may not be the best flea and tick treatment and protection on the market, but it is still a good option for a relatively mild infestation in areas that aren’t highly populated with fleas and ticks.

Pros of Frontline Plus
  • Fast-acting
  • Waterproof
  • Lasts up to 30 days
  • Provides protection against fleas and ticks

Cons of Frontline Plus
  • Not budget-friendly
  • Can be greasy
  • Possibility of severe, yet rare side effects

Alternatives to Frontline Plus

Advantage II is pretty similar to Frontline as it kills fleas and provides protection for 30 days. Unfortunately, Advantage isn’t effective against ticks. But it does treat, prevent, and control lice infestations. Advantage is a bit more expensive than Frontline.

If you’re interested in a cheaper option, you might try K9 Advantix Plus. Advantix is another topical flea and tick treatment and prevention product like Frontline, but also kills and protects against mosquitoes that may carry diseases like West Nile virus or heartworms.

For increased protection and killing power, Frontline Gold is a viable option. Unlike Frontline Plus, it contains an additional flea and tick-killing ingredient, for triple action. But you get what you pay for with Frontline Gold as it’s more expensive.

frontline gold
Frontline Gold for Dogs

 

The Verdict – Frontline Plus, an Effective Solution for Fleas and Ticks

So does Frontline Plus work? The short answer? Yes. The long answer? It depends on the dog (i.e. size, weight, age, health, etc.), the severity of the flea infestation, and your environment (i.e. dry, humid, warm, cold, etc.).

Keep in mind that side effects may occur, so you should use at your own risk. You have to ask yourself, would you rather your dog contract a disease from parasites or deal with the possible side effects of treatment? Weigh the risks and benefits of using the product because only you can decide the best flea and tick treatment for your furry friend.

Click to Buy Frontline Plus for Dogs

Do you use Frontline Plus on your canine companion to treat his fleas? Or do you take a more holistic approach?

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10 thoughts on “Does Frontline Plus Work?: Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs

  1. Reply
    Boby - February 7, 2019

    I used to have a dog when I was a child, so it’s a long time ago!

    However, I still remember how much care every pet requires. And getting rid of fleas and ticks is no exception.

    Frontline Plus seems like a good solution to this problem.

    I’ll keep it in mind in case I decide to have a pet again.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. Reply
      Britney - February 11, 2019

      Hi Boby!

      If you do decide to get a dog, I’d not only recommend a flea and tick treatment like Frontline Plus, but also flea and tick prevention in the form of collars and sprays. As well as regular bathing. These will help keep those parasites at bay.

  2. Reply
    Anthony - February 7, 2019

    Hi Britney,

    First off, what an informative article.

    I’m new to being a dog owner as I only picked Barney up from the shelter 3 months ago, so please bear with me. Yesterday, after taking Barney for a long walk, I was sat on my couch brushing him and noticed something jump off him and was lost on the carpet. On closer inspection of his fur, particularly around his ears I found what I guess was a flea turd.

    Hence, why I’m here. How dare them little nasty little critters drink poor old Barney’s blood. I’m not having it! So, I’ve just clicked on your link and bought the Frontline stuff.

    As you mentioned in this article, if Barney’s got fleas, then my house will at least have eggs, which will hatch and the cycle starts all over again. So my question is, What do I need to get to eradicate these horrible things from my house!?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Anthony

    1. Reply
      Britney - February 12, 2019

      Hey Anthony!

      I wouldn’t say you need anything to eradicate the fleas from your home except a vacuum cleaner and a washing machine. Vacuum your carpet really good and wash things that are washable like sofa cushions, rugs, comforters, etc.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Reply
    SkyPath - February 7, 2019

    I love my dog. I will try my best to keep him happy. Fleas are very annoying, so this is a very helpful article. I like the way you rated Frontline Plus — very honest. You listed the pros and cons, which is very important to help me decide if I want to buy it or not.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Reply
      Britney - February 12, 2019

      I’m so glad this article was helpful to you. I hope that you can apply some of this information to the way you eradicate fleas and ticks on your furry friend!

  4. Reply
    John - February 8, 2019

    I used Frontline on the last two dogs I had. If used properly, you will not have problems with fleas and ticks. We had a day of the month for putting it on and never had any problems. The dogs slept with us and we never got bitten once.

    I have an inside cat now. Do you think that I should use this product on a cat that never sees the outside of the house?

    John

    1. Reply
      Britney - February 12, 2019

      It’s great that Frontline Plus worked so well on your dogs and didn’t cause any negative effects.

      And yes, you should definitely put your cat on a flea and tick preventative medicine. Although your cat is mostly inside, people and other pets can bring these parasites indoors. Also, your cat can pick up fleas and ticks from the vet.

      Hope this helps!

  5. Reply
    Mel - February 8, 2019

    Britney, this post was amazing.

    You are so thorough in explaining what fleas and ticks are instead of just giving the review and being done with it. I like the way you are realistic with the product instead of being biased based on how much you like it as a person. A lot of reviewers do that these days.

    Thank you for a very informative post. I feel my dog is in good hands after reading this.

    All the best.
    Mel

    1. Reply
      Britney - February 12, 2019

      That means a lot, Mel.

      It’s definitely my aim to be completely up front about a product, especially if it’s not 100% safe. I want pet parents to know the many options that are out there and that Frontline Plus isn’t the only way to go when it comes to flea and tick treatment and prevention.

      Thank you so much for reading!

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