No matter what pet you own, you probably take certain steps to ensure their health, well-being, and general happiness, whether that means giving them a good meal and comfortable accommodations or making sure that their natural predators know that this particular specimen is off-limits. We rarely expect much in return, save their loyalty and affection; in most cases, even that is more than we really want back from our pets; fish, for instance, rarely reciprocate our affection despite being a fairly common house pet.
For all the importance that we attach to an unresponsive house pet, it is only natural that we should be far more interested in a pet that can understand and return our affections. Most such pets are mammals of one kind or another, and reciprocation of emotion has been observed in many species, but only a few are of the size and temperament that can realistically be kept as house pets.
Of this narrow slice of the animal kingdom, the one species that enjoy the most attention and affection is, without a doubt, the dog. In all of their various shapes and sizes, dogs are kept as house pets throughout the world, and people have created an imposingly large pet care industry entirely focused on the care and enjoyment of our preferred pooches. Dogs by and large understand how devoted we are to them and return our feelings in a manner so consistent with our own emotional makeup that multiple psychological principles can be derived from the study of canine behavior.
When we care so much about something, the lengths to which we will go for it become truly inspiring to behold; the previously mentioned pet care industry has produced tens of varieties of every product that one could possibly want for their dog, from bedding to clothing to toys and so much more. Many dogs of various kinds have been trained as working dogs with a specific task or profession; these dogs enjoy a continually increasing number of crossovers and adaptations between human professional gear and animal outfits.
It’s not all about making the dogs cute and comfortable, of course; no reasonable pet owner would trade either of those for knowing that their pet was healthy first. There have been incredible developments towards that end as well, with healthy pet food a steadily growing field of both science and industry. Some of the most advanced technologies in food preparation go not towards feeding humans but ensuring that pet food, in which most preservatives cannot be used for fear of harming the animal, remains shelf-stable at least as long as a human diet.
Nothing in life is perfect, though, and even the best efforts to protect one’s pet sometimes fall short. With the same selfless affection that made having a pet possible in the first place, we’ve invented the practice of veterinary medicine, which has since grown into a colossal industry in its own right and in many ways mirrors the medical industry of the human world – there are general practitioners, pharmacists, surgeons, and other specialists exclusively for animals, with training and certification processes no less demanding than those who operate on people on a daily basis.
From the sheer size of the industry created to maintain and restore their health, you may have guessed that dogs can get themselves into a fair bit of trouble, and you’d be right. Every conscientious dog owner knows all too well about the many injuries and diseases that might strike their canine companion and has likely taken steps to prevent them. The most obvious example of this is vaccination, now legally mandated in many countries for both the dog’s health and the owner’s safety. Many dogs will be immunized against tens of diseases that there is no proof that they have, simply because dog owners are rightly afraid for their pet’s health.
With pet owners so protective of their furry friends from unintentional damage or entirely natural accidents, one can imagine that the dog’s owner will be even less compromising against those that try to hurt a dog intentionally. Amazingly, it has been found that dogs can sense this protectiveness too, and have been observed responding in kind by coming to their owner’s aid when the human comes under attack.
A good dog owner is probably willing to go to some risky lengths to confront the person attacking their dog, but there are more malicious individuals than meet the eye. Dogs are warm-blooded mammals, making them the ideal environment for numerous pests that feed exclusively on the blood of such organisms. The most noted of these parasites are ticks and fleas, and dog owners the world over know to be on the lookout for either one starting to move in on their dogs. Noticing such an infestation ahead of time can be the most important and effective step one can take in treating either kind of parasite.
As mentioned, there is a colossal market for nearly everything pet-related that one can imagine, and the driving force of the global pet market combined with our determination to make sure no one hurts our dogs has made sure that there are plenty of tools and methods available to rid your dog of ticks, fleas, and any other unwanted guests that happen to have settled into its fur.
Of all the pest control methods that are available to the infested dog’s owner, a topical tick killer is often the simplest and most effective option – simply lather it onto your dog during their next bath and the various parasites should begin to fall away soon after. The main issue with a topical pest control agent is that it is a relatively brief reprieve, lasting only until your pet next gets wet or rolls in something moist; after that, it’s back to the drawing board.
This has naturally led the veterinary pharmaceutical industry to pursue a waterproof bug repellent formula that will stay on your dog through swimming, bathing, or just plain rolling around. Dogs are continually rubbing or rolling against things, so having a product that will stick to them is vital for affording your dog long-lasting protection against parasites of all kinds. Two of the most successful products in this field are Frontline and Advantix, both of which are topical tick killers marketed as waterproof against complete submersion and capable of killing or driving away the vast majority of your dog’s uninvited guests.
Choosing between two good options can often be more confusing than picking out the best bad choice. When it comes to your pet’s health, how do you know which of these two is really the right one for your four-legged friend?
Breaking It Down
The first and foremost consideration for either of these products is whether or not it will prevent or cure parasitic infestations, and if so, to what extent. A pest prevention product that can’t meet those criteria hardly deserves the name. Other factors to consider are the number of treatments, cost of the product, and for how long the treatment remains effective; all of these things are important to consider when picking a pest control product, but should not be allowed to eclipse the importance of the product’s effectiveness against parasites.
K9 Advantix II Flea, Tick & Mosquito Prevention
Advantix is a topical pest killer and prevention agent that can kill off a broad spectrum of parasitic insects in your dog’s fur and will keep them away as well; it is available in multiple different strengths depending on the age and weight of the dog and is recommended by veterinarians as a good midrange solution to a number of infestations. In addition to the two most common infestations, fleas and ticks, this formula serves to repel mosquitoes, lice, and biting flies; along with killing or repelling the adult forms of these insects, it will also paralyze eggs, preventing a recurrence.
A single package of this product costs a little more than $50 USD and contains six doses, each effective for approximately four weeks; the formula is calculated to be given in monthly doses only, and should not be used more frequently than that. It is rated as waterproof even after swimming or bathing, so don’t worry if your dog gets wet – there is still no need to reapply their bug spray once they dry out.
Treatment with Advantix kills most pests on contact and can spread all over your dog in as little as 12 hours from the time it is applied; because it is a topical agent as opposed to being absorbed into the dog’s body, there is no need for the insects to bite the dog for the product to take effect, reducing the risk of transmissible diseases in your dog and the number of bites your pet will have to endure. Because some of the insects this product addresses lay eggs on the host, one should allow as much as 30 days for complete eradication of an infestation; this process may be sped up by thoroughly combing or brushing out your dog with an implement not used on them before being treated.
The active ingredients in this product are imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. It is available for both dogs and cats in packages of two, four, or six pre-measured doses, differentiated by the size, age, and weight of the pet in question. According to the manufacturer, it is potentially fatal to apply the wrong product to the wrong pet; the manufacturer cautions in the strongest of terms to avoid using this product on any animal that does not fit all the parameters listed on the packaging, and above all not to exchange dog formula for cat medicine or vice versa.
Other warnings from the manufacturer include the need to keep the product away from the dog’s eyes, nose, and mouth, and to consult a veterinarian before using this product. While it is not a medication and will likely not need a prescription, it still contains potentially harmful chemicals, and both professional guidance and a healthy amount of caution are heavily encouraged.
This particular variety of Advantix is for use on dogs between 11 and 20 pounds only, and should not be applied to puppies under seven weeks of age; other packages of Advantix are similarly and clearly marked with the age and weight bracket for which they are intended, a set of instructions that are to be strictly followed for the safety of the pet being treated.
It is worth noting that this product is harmful to pets and people alike if ingested, inhaled, or in contact with the eyes, and steps should be taken to keep it out of reach of children and to prevent accidents of this nature. Should any of these things occur, contact poison control immediately.
- Adjustable dosage
- Available for both dogs and cats
- A wide range of pests treated
- Lasts up to four weeks
- Packaged in convenient monthly doses
- Strict guidelines for size and age of dogs to be treated
- Can be harmful if used outside of guidelines
Frontline Gold Flea and Tick Treatment
Frontline is another topical flea killer, applied directly to the dog’s skin and allowed to work its way into your pet’s coat through the natural heat and motions that it produces by moving around or even just its breath and pulse. Frontline is effective against ticks, fleas, and chewing lice, either preventing them from attacking your dog or killing them once they do. It can also sterilize larvae, eggs, and pupae, making it an effective choice for advanced infestations by disrupting all stages of a parasite’s life cycle.
Frontline is available in several different strengths for different sizes of dogs, with each one clearly marked and color-coded for a different weight class. The active ingredients are fipronil, (S)-methoprene, and pyriproxyfen, giving three different antipest actions in one product.
Frontline is intended for both cats and dogs, although one should never use the formula for one on the other; additionally, the Frontline Plus and Frontline Gold formula can be employed for longer-lasting protection against a wider range of subspecies of each parasite that Frontline treats.
This product will kill most pests on contact, and begins working inside half an hour from application. It is resistant to bathing, swimming, and rain, but should not be subjected to heavy scrubbing within a week of application.
You can buy this product in packages of three or six single-dose squeeze tubes for under $50 USD per package, each of which is rated to last for up to 30 days if allowed to applied properly. Although it is not subject to veterinary prescription, it does contain harmful chemicals and should be treated with the appropriate care.
Do not use this product on dogs under eight weeks of age, or on dogs that fall outside of the specific weight class listed on the packaging. Keep the product away from the dog’s mouth, nose, and ears, and be sure to fully close and dispose of the container once it is empty; if you believe that your pet or a person has ingested this product, contact poison control immediately
- Longer lasting treatment
- Affordably priced
- Simpler to apply
- Treats mites and chewing lice as well as the more common ticks and fleas
- Kills parasites faster than other products
- Does not hold off mosquitoes or biting flies
- Takes longer to become waterproof
Final Verdict: Advantix
Advantix takes the title in this comparison for the simple reason that it treats more varieties of pest, both by killing existing infestations and by acting as a preventative agent to hold off new specimens; while these two products are evenly matched in many areas, Advantix provides protection against more than Frontline does; it is waterproof in only half the time, and there are more varieties of it available for a greater variety of pets than Frontline offers.
There are distinct disadvantages to using Advantix, first and foremost the price – every package of Advantix costs nearly $20 USD more than a similar package of Frontline, and it does not address the problem of mites as Frontline does. Frontline also lasts marginally longer, rated for 30 days instead of the four weeks that Advantix delivers; still, there is no doubt that Advantix is the better choice if you can get it.
That said, if your pet supply outlet does not stock Advantix, Frontline remains a perfectly acceptable option. Either one will get rid of difficult infestations of ticks and fleas, and they are similar enough in action and application that one can realistically substitute one for the other without seriously disrupting your pet’s treatment cycle.
They also share the weight bracket and age restrictions that are so important in properly dosing your dog. Although you should consult a veterinarian to have your pet properly weighed before using either one, it is possible to use the same weight class of Frontline and Advantix interchangeably without needing a separate weigh-in before switching from one to the other.
When buying either Frontline or Advantix, the first thing to do is to determine what weight class your pet falls in; as the doses are calculated by weight, one should never procure either brand without knowing what strength to get. This is especially pertinent since the active ingredients are more concentrated in higher weight classes; using the wrong dosage on your dog can have serious side effects and may even be fatal to the pet.
Make sure that you have a secure storage place for the product of your choosing once you receive it; this product does contain toxins, and treating it accordingly is important for any dosage. The ideal storage spot is somewhere secluded and out of reach of children, preferably with a securely locked door; it should also be labeled as containing medications, and other members of the household should avoid storing anything but medications in that space.
Applying either of these medications is a simple matter of squeezing the tube in a line along the spine of the pet to be treated or in a circle around the area where an infestation has been spotted. Most such medications include detailed instructions on how to apply the medication for different kinds of infestations, so make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before you treat your pet.
Although you should see the pamphlet included with the medication for full instructions, keep in mind that as a rule, the medications will work best when applied directly to the pet’s skin as opposed to along the top of their fur. Use a comb or the edge of your hand to sweep back the fur along the area where you are applying the medication and squirt it as close to the roots of individual hairs as possible.
Dispose of empty containers in outside bins and as close as possible to collection day to minimize the chances of either your pet or anything else finding the used tube and bringing themselves to harm with the chemicals within. It is similarly advisable to treat your pet while wearing disposable gloves to avoid any of the medication making its way onto your hands.
As the infestation begins to die out, you may begin to notice the dead parasites emerging out of your pet’s fur. This indicates a successful treatment, and should not be confused with a resurgence in the parasite’s numbers. Sweep or comb away as many as possible to avoid confusion and remove pollutants from your pet. If possible, gently rinse them to dislodge dead pests that may have lodged in their fur.
To further prevent any recurrence of infestation or a new pest from taking hold of your pet, thoroughly fumigate all possible hiding places for such pests; of particular note are any upholstered pieces of furniture, as the spongy texture is highly conducive to insect nests. Clothing and drapes should also be treated, ideally with a product that kills parasites at all points in their life cycle.