How Effective Is Frontline? Are There More Effective Solutions?

How Effective Is Frontline? Are There More Effective Solutions?

When it comes to finding the best flea protection everyone is going to tell you something different. In recent years we have gone from having products that are able to kill living fleas to having products that kill fleas, eggs and larva – which is exactly what we needed.

Now the question stands, which one works best? This can truly vary between dogs, breeds, ages, location and more. You are also likely to notice that your vet prefers a certain brand while your friends vet swears by another. What are you to do?

According to the Frontline website, Frontline Plus is the most commonly vet recommended flea and tick treatment around. Does it really live up to these standards? This article will likely cover anything you could have ever wanted to know about Frontline!

In the end though, the decision is up to you and what you think is best for your dog. If you are looking into using Frontline for the first time and want to know how it holds up compared to other common name brands read on…

How Long Does it Take to Work?

One of the best parts about Frontline is that it starts working rather quickly. According to the Frontline website it will start killing live fleas within 2-4 hours and ticks within 12 hours. Your pup is sure to be flea free within 24 hours or so!

Some medications – flea baths and flea sprays or collars for example – are slow to start working. It could be days before you stop seeing your poor dog stop scratching. For the most rapid flea treatment, vets often recommend an on-spot treatment like this one.

How Long Does it Last?

Like most flea treatments, Frontline is meant to kill and prevent fleas for up to 30 days. Some products have been noted as not able to hold up to this promise. Frontline, on the other hand, is one of the leading brands that stick to their word.

Once you’ve applied the first dose of Frontline Plus your dog (or cat for that matter) should be flea free for up to 30 days. You will need to keep applying this medication on a monthly basis for it to stay effective.

If you miss a dose there is a chance you will start to see fleas all over again. Don’t let your poor dog suffer – it only takes a few minutes to apply any on-spot topical flea medication. That’s not too much to ask of you to keep the fleas at bay for a month, is it?

How do you Apply Frontline to a Dog?

Using Frontline on your dog is easy as can be. The good part is unlike some on-spot treatments, this one comes formulated for different sized dogs – rather than making you and your vet estimate how much your large dog needs.

Simply take the tube of Frontline and part the fur between your dog’s shoulder blades to expose his bare skin. You only need to be able to see a small bit of his skin, enough to apply the medication to.

Then squeeze the medication out of the tube and onto the skin. You can now allow his fur the rest naturally. There may appear to be a wet or oily spot on his fur where you applied to treatment. Don’t worry, however, as this is normal and will go away in a day usually.

From there the medication soaks into their skin and is dispersed through oils in the skin throughout the month. On-spot treatments for fleas are really a one-of-a-kind medication that makes things so much easier for both dog and owner.

How long until the Next Bath?

One of the best parts about Frontline is the fact that the medication is waterproof. This is great since many dogs love to go swimming. The last thing you want is to have to retreat them every time they jump in a pool or lake.

You should probably give it 24 hours for the medication to soak into the skin properly before you bathe your dog again. Using flea shampoos will not affect how useful this treatment is, so don’t fret if you normally use a flea repelling shampoo.

Is there a Generic Version?

After years of paying way too much for things like flea treatment the industry finally did it! The answer is yes, there is a generic version on-spot medication using the same active ingredients as Frontline!

Are these products just as effective? In most cases, the answer is yes again. Most generic on-spot treatments will work just as well as commercial brand names. However, you will need to make sure that these treatments are both for fleas as well as eggs and larva.

I made the mistake one time of not checking the ingredients in a generic on-spot flea treatment. I was happy the first few days as the fleas seemed to die off – however it didn’t kill the eggs.

So some of those pesky buggers jumped off my dog after hatching and infested my carpets. It took quite a few bug bombs, a better generic flea treatment, and carpet powder insect killer to get rid of them all!

The second version of generic treatment I bought worked just as well as any version of Frontline I have ever used. You just need to be sure you do your research on the product before purchasing! Talk to your vet – they may be able to suggest a good generic to Frontline.

Frontline VS Frontline Plus

So what’s really the difference? The true difference is that the original Frontline worked just like that generic version I got first. It only killed the fleas – it didn’t kill off the entire flea cycle.

After a few years of fiddling with the formula and listening to customer complaints, Frontline Plus was created! Frontline Plus not only fights off fleas but also their eggs, larva and even ticks as well!

If you live in an area where ticks are a problem, then Frontline Plus is an awesome product to have in your pet care arsenal! The “Plus” of this on-spot treatment is perfect for any dog (over 7 weeks old) and has seen years’ worth of great results!

Basically, original Frontline is no longer available on shelves or by prescription. If you are looking to stick with this brand name, Frontline Plus is going to be the only option. On the other hand, it’s the better option, so is that such a bad thing?

Frontline vs Advantage

When comparing products like these you need to look at all angles. Yes, one might be cheaper than the other, but is it as effective? Most of the time, a cheaper product can stand up to what the expensive ones offer – in the case of Frontline vs Advantage this is not the case.

While Frontline is able to fight against both fleas and ticks (as well as breaking the horrid flea cycle), Advantage is only prepared to kill off the fleas. If you have fleas and ticks to worry about, Frontline is definitely the better alternative between the two.

On the other hand, if you live in an area where you hardly see a tick ever, you might be able to get away with using Advantage. After all, it does do just as well with killing fleas, flea eggs, and larva.

Both medications are meant to last a total of 30 days – it does seem that many customers prefer Frontline to Advantage on this issue. You may find that Advantage doesn’t seem to last the entire 30 days for your dog – it is waterproof as well, but maybe not as waterproof?

I’m not really sure why Advantage seems to lack in the long-lasting department compared to other brands. Maybe it’s Bayer’s way of getting you to try their more advanced option K9 Advantix.

Frontline Plus vs K9 Advantix

Yes, as I just mentioned, K9 Advantix and Advantage II are both products by Bayer. (Yes, Bayer like the aspirin!) Why is one company making two different flea products? Actually, they have three and they all do something different.

While Advantage is meant for flea control they also make Advantage Multi which is also a heartworm preventative. Then there is K9 Advantix which fights fleas, ticks, and even mosquitos.

Can’t you tell me you’ve forgotten their original commercial? The puppy singing as he plays at camp, “Hello Mother, Hello Father, Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitos, really bother!” Now you’ll be singing the song all day – enjoy!

The fact that K9 Advantix fights against mosquitos as well is really a plus in some areas. They use an active ingredient that is often used on farms and in barns to keep all the bugs out. It works extremely well at killing all of the pests that may harm your dog or transfer disease.

However, some customers to report that when it comes to tick prevention, Frontline was a clear winner. While K9 Advantix did kill the fleas, some customers mentioned that they still found them on their dog during brushing or baths where with Frontline they never found one.

So on this one, I would like to say that Frontline Plus takes the cake – unless you are worried about mosquitos. In which case, K9 Advantix may be your best solution.

Frontline vs Vet Guard

Newer brands are on the rise to accomplish what brands like Frontline Plus and Advantage II do not. These brands are not only striving to be less expensive but also more effective. This is the best way to get customers, right?

It seems to be working for Vet Guard which has been noted by many pet parents as their on-spot flea treatment of choice. Not only does Vet Guard fight against fleas, eggs and larva but ticks as well. This makes it a real rival for Frontline Plus considering the price difference.

Vet Guard can be bought at stores like Wal-Mart for as little as $24 or less for a 3-4 month treatment – whereas Frontline can be $38+ for a three month supply. The active ingredients are a little bit different, but they are also in stronger doses than those in Frontline.

Does this make the product more effective and last longer? Not so much – it seems that they are both very effective products and work well for up to the 30 days guaranteed by the manufacturer.

Frontline vs NexGard

So, in this case, things get a little trickier. These products are made by the same company and there are a few major differences. For instance, the major difference is that Frontline Plus is an on-spot topically treatment and NexGard is an oral medication (flavored like a beef chew).

Both are flea treatments and both are highly effective at treating fleas, ticks and flea eggs and larva as well. The benefits of NexGard are much the same, it is fully effective in as little as 24 hours and it will stay effective for up to 30 days.

If you have a hard time getting your dog to sit still for an on-spot topical treatment or if your dog’s fur is too thick to get to his skin then NexGard might be the way to go. However, it is slightly more expensive and requires a prescription from your vet.

Using NexGard will not affect any other oral chew medications such as those for heartworms. Another benefit is there is no wait time before your dog can be bathed or go swimming as it does not need to soak into their skin first.

Whichever method of these two is right for you and your dog are up to you in the end. Be sure to talk to your vet about all your options when it comes to flea protection.

Frontline vs Comfortis

Comfortis is another chewable like NexGard – but with a few fewer benefits. Unlike Frontline Plus and NexGard Comfortis is not meant for fleas and ticks but only fleas. When it comes to killing all the live fleas on your dog Comfortis does a great job – but that’s about all it kills.

Unfortunately, Comfortis does not stop the flea cycle, it does allow eggs to hatch and it does not kill adult larva, only fully developed fleas. It will kill the fleas once they develop for up to 30 days, but sometimes this just isn’t good enough.

If you are looking for a flea protection that will work against several types of bugs and their larva as well, then Frontline Plus is definitely the way to go here. On the other hand, if ticks are not so much a problem for you, Comfortis might be a good alternative.

Frontline vs PetArmor

PetArmor is one of those generic brands of Frontline Plus.From the outside, they both look to be exactly the same – the same active ingredients, the same application process and the same 30-day protection guarantee.

It looks as though it all checks out – however reading reviews from pet owners discourages using this product. Many have said that they switched back to Frontline as it was better to pay for something they knew would work.

After all, it can get costly once you have to remove the fleas both from your pet, you and your home! No one wants to deal with that. There may be better news out there – maybe your pet will respond to it better than others.

In the larger scheme of things, it is possible that even though their active ingredients are the same, that perhaps the inactive ones are totally different. Those inactive ingredients will play a large part in how well the active ingredients are able to work.

It is up to you whether or not you want to take a risk on a discount and a potentially less effective product. Other generic versions seem to have a better reputation than PetArmor. My personal experience, however, tells me buying the brand name is worth the price tag.

Frontline vs Hartz

Okay, this one I feel very, very strongly about. Do NOT buy any Hartz products. When it comes to buying cheaper because you cannot afford a brand name medication for whatever reason you NEED to make sure you do your research.

I am all for trying to save a few bucks and I understand that some months things are just more affordable than others. In the end, however, if the lower price tag could also mean your pet’s wellbeing is at risk, it’s not worth it!

I have seen countless photos where people trusted Hartz products in place of Frontline, either for cost reasons or convenience – all of these pets are suffering from chemical burns, nervous system problems and more!

The Hartz products are not a good line of products – they are cheap and they act cheap. They use harmful chemicals that should never touch a cat or dogs skin!

As I said – I understand the need to cut costs – my cat wears a flea collar and I use a generic form of flea protection. However, I both checked with my vet and looked up reviews on the products before putting them anywhere near my cat.

If your pets mean the world to you – as they do to most people – then you will want to avoid Hartz products. You can read more about these horrible products at

A large number of reviewers that have used this product have lodged complains that their pets have been injured or fallen ill due to it, and it is for that reason that I would recommend looking elsewhere for a solution to your flea problem.

In this instance, I would absolutely say that Frontline Plus is the superior product. If you were considering Hartz as an alternative, I advise you consider Frontline, no matter what the price gap.

Pros and Cons of Frontline Plus

There really are a lot of things to consider when you are looking for a good flea and tick protection for your dog.

Not only do you need to know which product will work best to remove the fleas (or ticks) bothering your dog now, but also what will prevent them best in the long run. It can be tricky when there are so many different products out there.

When it comes down to it, getting a name trusted by your vet is often the best way to go. If your vet suggested Frontline Plus, then here’s a quick run-down:


  • Effective against fleas, ticks, and lice.
  • Will prevent flea eggs from hatching, ending the flea cycle
  • Will also kill flea larva
  • Effective for a full 30 days
  • Waterproof
  • Starts working in less than 12 hours


  • Topical treatment (means no bath for 24 hours)
  • Monthly doses means if you miss one, fleas could strike
  • A little more expensive than some OTC brands

In the end, Frontline Plus is an extremely effective product and recommended by many vets. If you are looking for a product that will start working to kill fleas immediately then this is what you need.

Living in areas where fleas are your only insect worry you might be able to get away with another brand of flea control such as Advantage II. However, if Ticks are a problem in your area the Frontline is the perfect all-in-one pest prevention for dogs.

The most important thing to do when looking for a product is to know what the ingredients are and how they may affect your pet.

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