Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Revolution vs. Frontline Plus: We Asked a Vet (2023 Update)

Dr. Joe Mallat

By Dr. Joe Mallat

Revolution vs. Frontline

Vet approved

Dr. Joe Mallat Photo

Written by

Dr. Joe Mallat

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Choosing a product to keep fleas and ticks off your dog can be hard. There are countless products on the market, each with its own list of benefits. Then you need to consider the cost of the product, and how long it lasts. To make things easier, this article provides you with a direct comparison of two popular products: Revolution and Frontline.

Both are effective against fleas and ticks, both are applied topically, both last for one month, and both are very safe. But what about the differences between them? And what about all the other parasites my dog can pick up, beyond fleas and ticks? While the major difference between the two products is the fact that Revolution protects your dog against heartworm infection, there are other important points to consider when choosing the right product.


At a Glance

  • Simple topical application to skin
  • Lasts for 30 days
  • Protects against fleas, ticks, mites, and heartworm
  • Safe in pregnant/lactating dogs
  • Often comes with Canex® tablet to kill intestinal worms
  • Rapidly kills fleas
  • Protects against ticks and mites, but not heartworm
  • Simple topical application to skin
  • Lasts for 30 days
  • Safe in pregnant/lactating dogs

hepper-dog-paw-divider 4

Overview of Revolution

Revolution Topical Solution for Dogs, 40.1-85 lbs

Revolution has become a very popular parasite preventative in dogs. The active ingredient in Revolution is selamectin, which is very safe in dogs. It is important to highlight that while the topical Revolution product itself does not protect against intestinal worms (such as roundworm and hookworm), many Revolution packs contain a separate tablet (called Canex®) which does protect against intestinal worms for 3 months.

  • Protection against fleas, ticks, and heartworm if used monthly
  • Simple topical application
  • Safe in pregnant/lactating dogs, and puppies older than 8 weeks
  • Requires separate tablet to treat intestinal worms
  • Sold only by prescription (vets)
  • Does not kill flea eggs/larvae (just the adults)

Divider-Dog bone- New

Overview of Frontline

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Extra Large Dogs, 89-132 lbs

The active ingredient in Frontline is fipronil; Frontline Plus also contains S-methoprene. Frontline hasbeen on the market for a long time, and is a very trusted product. However, the release of many newer products with more “broad-spectrum” coverage against parasites has seen it fall lower down the ladder.

  • Fast protection against fleas, ticks, and mites
  • Kills flea eggs and larvae
  • Simple topical application
  • Available over the counter, and generally cheaper than Revolution
  • Does not protect against heartworm
  • Requires purchase of separate intestinal wormer

hepper-dog-paw-divider 4

What Are the Differences Between Them?

Active Ingredient

Edge: tie

While Revolution and Frontline contain different active ingredients, both ingredients act as a neurotoxin to the parasites. While trying to feed on your dog, the parasites ingest the active ingredient, and become paralyzed; they are then unable to feed, resulting in their death, and they fall off your dog.

Duration of Action

Edge: tie

Both Revolution and Frontline last for 30 days (one month).


Edge: tie

Generally speaking, both products are very safe and have been tested extensively in dogs. Side effects are rare, but panting, vomiting/diarrhea and skin irritation can be seen. Both products are safe to use in pregnant or lactating dogs, and both are safe in puppies older than eight weeks.

One downside to both products is that they can be very harmful if ingested. This is unlikely to happen, but can occur if accidentally administered orally, or if your dog finds the packet and decides to chew it up.

vet checking samoyed dog's eyes
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Parasite Coverage

Edge: Revolution

While Frontline protects against more species of tick than Revolution, the big bonus with Revolution is protection against heartworm. Frontline does not protect against heartworm.

Neither product provides coverage against common intestinal worms such as roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm. However, Revolution products that come with the Canex® tablet effectively treat intestinal worms. The Canex tablet needs to be given orally (by mouth) every 3 months.


Edge: Frontline

Frontline is usually less costly than Revolution. However, if your dog lives in a part of the world where heartworm is a problem, you’ll need to purchase a separate product to protect against this. This should be factored into the cost of complete parasite prevention.

Divider-Dog bone- New

Which One Is Right for My Dog?

While we believe Revolution is, overall, a superior product to Frontline, this does not necessarily mean it is right for your dog. Ultimately, both products are extremely effective at killing fleas and ticks; heartworm protection is the primary difference between the products.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right product. The first thing to consider is the risk of particular parasites in your area. For example, some areas have lethal ticks but no heartworm; in other regions, heartworm is very prevalent and ticks are non-existent. The second thing to consider is the route of administration. If you can give your dog a tablet or chew and are looking for a preventative that lasts 30 days, neither of these products may be best, and Nexgard® may be more appropriate. Thirdly, any drug or chemical product being administered to dogs can cause adverse reactions. If you know that your dog has had an allergy or unusual response to a certain product, it may be best to choose something else.

Lastly, if monthly preventatives are too hard for you to remember, you may prefer a longer-lasting product such as Bravecto®. If you are unsure which product you should be using, we recommend discussing this with your local veterinarian or veterinary clinic.

Pet dog owner with nurse in vet surgery waiting room reception
Image Credit: Juice Flair, Shutterstock

What the Users Say

When choosing a parasite-preventative for your canine friend, we advocate for doing your own research. However, we have scoured the web to provide you with a brief summary of customers’ feedback.

Users of both products have some complaints about the messiness of the application, as it is greasy and can be difficult if your dog doesn’t sit still. With that being said, many users also seem to find this much easier than putting a chew or tablet in their dog’s mouth—this will depend on your preference (and your dog’s preference!). Remember, whether you have applied Frontline or Revolution, your dog shouldn’t get wet or swim for several hours afterward.

While some purchasers enjoy the lower cost of Frontline, others point out that it can work out more expensive when combined with a monthly heartworm preventative tablet or annual heartworm injection. Additionally, some vets will still recommend an annual heartworm injection on top of Revolution. An explanation of why is beyond the scope of this article, but it comes down to disease prevalence and the heartworm life cycle.

Monthly administration seems to be a challenge for some people, especially when compared to other products that last for up to 6 months. However, other dog owners seem to find monthly administration easier to remember, as it becomes a habit. Whatever product you choose, the most important point to make is that missing a dose, even by a few days, can have drastic health consequences for your dog.

Dog Watcher
Chewy logo

35% OFF at Chewy.com

+ FREE Shipping on Pet Food and Supplies

How to redeem this offer

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3


Both Revolution and Frontline are very good at doing their job: keeping fleas and ticks off your dog. While similar in many respects, the key difference is that Revolution protects against heartworm, too. If you are mainly looking to kill fleas, as you’ve noticed them on your dog, Frontline is probably an ideal product. However, we believe that all things considered, Revolution is a more complete and effective product.

Whatever product you decide to go with, regular and timely application is most important. Other products may be required to ensure your dog is completely protected against intestinal worms. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have any questions. It often helps to make this decision in conjunction with your local expert.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database