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FRONTLINE Plus vs Advantage II for Dogs: We Asked a Vet (2023 Update)

Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

By Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

Frontline vs. Advantage II for Dogs

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Written by

Dr. Kim Podlecki

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When owning a dog, there comes a responsibility to keep them on appropriate prevention. When veterinarians’ say “prevention”, we are referring to different products that treat and/or help to prevent heartworm disease, flea infestation, tick infestation, and intestinal parasites. Walking into a store or looking online at all of the different options can be overwhelming. There are many options to choose from. Some products help prevent more than one thing, while others only help to prevent and/or treat one type of problem.

Two of the oldest stand-by products on the market are Frontline and Advantage. These products can both be purchased over the counter and through most online veterinary product pharmacies. In this article we’ll look at each product, their ingredients, what they reportedly treat and/or prevent, and help you decide if one of these products may be right for your dog. Please keep in mind that for the purposes of this article, we will only be comparing FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs, and Advantage II. There are other products made by these companies on the market which we will not be discussing today.


At a Glance

Let’s look at the key points of each product.

FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs
  • Effective for 30 days
  • Waterproof Topical Formula
  • Kills: Adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, adult ticks, chewing lice
  • Safe in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age or older, and weighing at least 5 pounds
  • Active Ingredients: Fipronil & (S)-methoprene
    • Fipronil is an insecticide in the phenylpyrazole family.
    • (S)-methoprene prevents the development of flea eggs and larvae, breaking the flea life cycle.
Advantage II for Dogs
  • Effective for 30 days
  • Waterproof Topical Formula
  • Kills: Adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae and chewing lice
  • Safe in dogs and puppies 7 weeks of age or older, and weighing at least 3 pounds or more
  • Active Ingredients: Imidacloprid & Pyriproxyfen
    • Imidacloprid will attack the fleas’ nervous system, paralyzing them. Eventually, the fleas will die. It is effective against adult fleas and the larval stage of the fleas.
    • Pyriproxyfen is an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) that will prevent the larval stage of the fleas from developing into adulthood, disrupting the flea life cycle.
  • Please note that Advantix and Advantage Multi are different products than Advantage II for Dogs.

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Overview of FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs

Frontline Plus for Dogs 5-22lbs

FRONTLINE Plus is a very effective flea and tick prevention for dogs. It’s designed to kill fleas, flea eggs, flea larva, ticks, and chewing lice, including some protection against the brown dog tick, American dog tick, lone star tick, and the deer tick.  FRONTLINE Plus includes Fipronil and S-methoprene as the active ingredients. It’s effective for 30 days and is readily available at pet stores and online at pet supply pharmacies. It’s generally safe when used as directed at the recommended dose. However, it should not be used on puppies less than 8 weeks of age or any dog that weighs less than 5 pounds. It also may not be as effective at killing and preventing fleas in high infestation areas, it does not protect against heartworm disease or intestinal parasites, and it is not effective against ear mites.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to apply
  • Effective for 30 days
  • Readily available
  • Generally safe
  • Not suitable for puppies
  • Not effective against heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, and ear mites
  • Topical products may not be suitable for homes with small children

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Overview of Advantage II

Advantage II Flea Spot Treatment for Dogs, 3-10 lbs

Advantage II is another common flea and tick preventative for dogs. Like FRONTLINE, it protects against flea eggs, flea larva, and adult fleas as well as ticks and chewing lice. However, it’s safer to use on puppies and small dogs, provided that the puppies are at least 7 weeks old and weigh at least 3 pounds. It contains Imidacloprid and Pyriproxyfen instead of Fipronil and S-methoprene. It may not be as readily available in some stores but can be found in most online pet supply pharmacies. However, like FRONTLINE Plus, it may not be as effective at killing and preventing fleas in high infestation areas, does not protect against heartworm disease or intestinal parasites, and is not effective against ear mites.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to apply
  • Effective for 30 days
  • A bit safer for smaller puppies
  • Carried by most online pet supply pharmacies
  • Not safe for puppies under 7 weeks/3 pounds
  • Not effective against heartworm, intestinal parasites, or ear mites
  • Topical products may not be suitable for homes with small children

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What Are the Differences Between Them?


Edge: Advantage II for Dogs

Advantage has a slight edge over FRONTLINE Plus here. Both are very safe when given as directed at an appropriate dose. However, due to the imidacloprid, Advantage is considered safe for dogs and puppies that are at least 7 weeks old, and weigh 3 pounds or more. In contrast, FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs should not be given to dogs and puppies less than 8 weeks of age and that weigh less than 5 pounds.

Imidacloprid is generally considered very safe. Rare side effects may include itching and irritation at the application site, lethargy, and hyperactivity. Because Advantage II is applied topically (there is no systemic absorption), there are no significant interactions with other drugs your dog may be taking. However, always check with your veterinarian first to make sure. While it is effective for an active flea infestation, it’s not recommended as a single therapy for flea prevention.


Edge: Advantage II

Advantage II will be slightly more affordable for most households. Most online pharmacies will carry both products, so you may be able to find coupons or deals on either product. Also keep in mind that some stores may offer coupons and/or specials if you buy more doses at one time. Both products will generally increase in price as the dose increases (i.e., it will be a little more expensive for larger dogs versus smaller dogs).

woman carrying a dog consulting with veterinarian before buying medicine
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock


Edge: FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs

FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs has been around for a long time. Therefore, it is sold in many different types of stores over the counter, in addition to almost all online pet supply pharmacies. Some veterinary offices may also carry FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs. While Advantage II can be found at many of the same stores, it is generally not as commonly found as FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs.


Edge: Tie

Both products, Advantage II for Dogs and FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs are applied topically. Both have clear instructions on how to open the package, how to open the applicator, and how to apply to your dog. Both are given by squeezing the entire contents of a single tube onto the skin (after parting the hair) on the back of your dogs’ neck. Neither one has an advantage in terms of ease of application.

Keep in mind that both products are applied topically, which may not be ideal if you have small children in your household, or other animals that may lick/groom your dog after they have had the product applied. If the product is ingested orally, either by a child and/or another animal, the toxicity risk may be different than when applied topically onto your dog.

woman applying tick and flea prevention medicine treatment to dog
Image Credit: Chutima Chaochaiya, Shutterstock

What the Users Say

It’s important to know what other people like you are saying about their experiences with both Advantage II for Dogs and FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs.

The general public who has used Advantage II reports ease of application, affordability and that there is no greasy feeling left on the fur of the dog after application. Unfortunately, numerous people have noticed that their dog may still have fleas, despite applying the product as recommended. Sometimes the fleas will be controlled for a few weeks, other times the product has seemed ineffective in controlling the fleas at all. Still, many people like the ease of availability of the product and that they are not giving their dog an oral medication which will be absorbed systemically.

For users of FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs, most users seem to be happy with the efficacy and have been loyal customers for years. As with Advantage II, many people are happy with the availability of the product, its affordability and the ease of application. There were some users who expressed apprehension at using the product because of Fipronil, but still expressed its efficacy. As with Advantage II for Dogs, this product is sometimes ineffective for the entire month, or not effective at all.

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Both FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs, and Advantage II for Dogs are generally safe, topical flea and tick preventatives. Both products can be found online and in many pet supply stores, and are known for being affordable options as compared to veterinary prescription products. People like the ease of application of both products with Advantage II being known for having a non-greasy feel once applied.

Unfortunately, both products may be ineffective in areas with high flea infestation, and/or on dogs with a severe flea infestation. Many people have noticed products becoming ineffective after a few weeks, even when reported to be effective for 30 days.

In general, both products are very similar, with Advantage II reported to be slightly less effective. If you live in a warm area of the country with a high prevalence for fleas, neither of these products may be effective as a single agent for fleas. Also keep in mind that neither product has any preventative for heartworm disease and/or intestinal parasites.

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