Ticks, fleas, and other external parasites are more than just a nuisance to your dog. These creepy crawlies carry and transmit potentially life-threatening diseases, such as heartworm disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis. They also cause allergies, itching, anemia, abscesses, and paralysis, so it’s critical to keep your pet parasite free.
There is no shortage of options available when it comes to external parasite treatments, so finding the best one for your beloved dog can feel overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve gone ahead and compared two popular products: Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II.
In a rush…? Here’s the quick answer!
There’s no clear winner here – both Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II are effective products. The product that’s right for your pooch depends on your dog’s specific needs as well as the parasite populations found in your geographic location.
K9 Advantix II has a broader spectrum of activity compared to Frontline Plus. In addition to killing and preventing ticks, fleas, and chewing lice, it also kills and prevents mosquitos and biting flies, so if you live in an area where mosquitoes or biting flies are an issue, K9 Advantix II is your best bet.
If you have cats in your household, you may be better off choosing Frontline Plus. Permethrin, one of the active ingredients in K9 Advantix II, is toxic to cats. Treated dogs should be separated from cats for 24 hours following an application of K9 Advantix II, so it’s probably easier and safer to opt for Frontline Plus.
Frontline Plus is also a better option for dogs that love to swim. Although both products are technically waterproof, if a dog is frequently exposed to water, K9 Advantix II may not work for the full 30 days.
At a Glance
Overview of Frontline Plus
Frontline Plus is a topical medication used for the treatment and prevention of ticks, fleas, and chewing lice on dogs that are older than 8 weeks and weigh at least 5 pounds. It contains the active ingredients Fipronil and (S)-Methoprene. Fipronil kills adult fleas, ticks, and chewing lice by affecting their nervous system, while (S)-Methoprene prevents the development of flea eggs and larvae. By interrupting the flea life cycle at multiple stages, Frontline Plus prevents flea reinfestation, which is a common problem.
Frontline Plus comes in five different pipette sizes, with each corresponding to a specific weight range. To use, snap the pipette open, part your dog’s hair, and apply the medicine directly to the area of skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. Once Frontline Plus is applied, it quickly covers the entire dog and collects in the sebaceous glands of the skin. The medication is slowly released from these glands into the surrounding skin and hair follicles, where it provides protection against parasites for 30 days. Fleas and ticks are killed on contact and do not have to bite the dog in order to die.
Overview of K9 Advantix II:
K9 Advantix® II is a topical medication that not only kills ticks, fleas, mosquitos, biting flies, and chewing lice on dogs but also repels them. Parasites are killed through contact – they do not need to bite the dog in order to die. One application of K9 Advantix® II provides protection for 30 days.
K9 Advantix® II contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Imidacloprid and permethrin disrupt the nervous system of parasites causing paralysis and eventual death, while pyriproxyfen prevents flea eggs and larvae from maturing into adult fleas, effectively breaking the flea life cycle and preventing reinfestation.
K9 Advantix II comes in four different pipette sizes each corresponding to a specific weight range. To use, apply the contents of the pipette to the skin along the top of your dog’s back, from the shoulders to the base of the tail, in four to six spots. The hair should be parted at each spot before the liquid is applied.
K9 Advantix® II may cause possible side effects such as skin irritation (redness, scratching, or other signs of discomfort), or gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
At first glance, Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II are very similar. Both are topical, waterproof products that last 30 days. There are, however, some key differences between them. To help you decide which is best suited to your pup, let’s take a closer look at the two products and see how they stack up against each other.
The key difference between Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II is their coverage. Both products kill ticks, fleas, and chewing lice; however, K9 Advantix II provides broader coverage, as it also kills mosquitoes and biting flies.
In some geographic locations, mosquitoes transmit diseases like heartworm to dogs. Although K9 Advantix II is not a heartworm preventive, it may reduce the risk of a dog contracting the disease by killing and repelling mosquitos. K9 Advantix II should be paired with a monthly heartworm preventive for optimal protection.
If you live in an area where mosquitoes and biting flies are an issue, K9 Advantix II is a better option than Frontline Plus.
Ease of Application
Frontline Plus is applied to the skin between the dog’s shoulder blades in a single spot, whereas K9 Advantix II is applied evenly to four to six spots on the top of the back from the shoulders to the base of the tail. Although both products are easy to apply, some owners find Frontline Plus a little easier to use, as it only requires application in a single spot.
Both Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II become water-resistant 24 hours after application; however, if a dog is frequently exposed to water, K9 Advantix II may not work for the full 30 days. If your dog frequently gets wet, Frontline Plus is a better option.
K9 Advantix II is slightly more expensive than Frontline Plus. While this may be the case, the price difference is justified as it provides broader coverage compared to Frontline Plus.
Time to Take Effect
K9 Advantix II takes half the time of Frontline Plus to work. Frontline Plus® kills fleas within 24 hours of contact and ticks within 48 hours of contact, whereas K9 Advantix II starts to kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes within 12 hours.
What the Users Say
Given that Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II are two of the most popular flea and tick medications on the market, there is no shortage of reviews.
Unsurprisingly, both products receive predominantly positive feedback from users.
Frontline Plus users feel that the product is extremely effective at killing fleas and preventing reinfestation. They like the fact that the product is waterproof and continues to work even if their dog repeatedly gets wet.
K9 Advantix II users like the fact that it’s effective and easy to use. They also like its broad spectrum of activity and that, in addition to treating ticks and fleas, it also kills and repels mosquitoes and biting flies.
While most of the feedback was positive, two issues accounted for the majority of negative feedback for both Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II. Some users were dissatisfied by the products’ negative side effects, while others mentioned that Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II didn’t seem to work.
A small number of Frontline Plus users reported that their dogs experienced side effects, such as redness and itching, at the site of application, while other users reported that K9 Advantix II caused irritation at the application site, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.
While all medications have risks, Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II rarely cause side effects. When side effects do occur, they tend to be mild and resolve quickly. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict which dogs will experience adverse reactions; however, there are some things you can do to minimize potential reactions. Always read the product label before applying the product and apply only the recommended dose based on your dog’s weight.
While it is not possible to say for sure why Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II didn’t work for some dogs, user error may play a role here, and it’s possible that the treatments weren’t applied correctly. As mentioned above, it’s important to read the product label before applying any tick and flea preventative treatment.
There’s no clear winner here. Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II are both effective products that have their place in our arsenal in the fight against external parasites. Ultimately the product that’s right for your pooch depends on your dog’s specific needs, as well as the parasite populations found in your geographic location.
Frontline Plus comes out on top if your dog frequently gets wet or if you have cats living in your home, whereas K9 Advantix II is the best option if your dog needs coverage against mosquitos or biting flies.
For individual recommendations for your particular pet, your veterinarian is the best person to speak to.