Frontline Plus for Dogs
Ease of Use
Value for Money
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?
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).
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.
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
- 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:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Contact dermatitis
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- If your dog is taking any medication (s) that might react with or reduce the effectiveness of the treatment
Is Frontline Plus effective?
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.
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.
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.
Do you use Frontline Plus on your canine companion to treat his fleas? Or do you take a more holistic approach?