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Flea and Tick Prevention For Dogs

Updated on November 10, 2008
Keep Fido happy by keeping him parasite free!
Keep Fido happy by keeping him parasite free!

The 21st century is a good century to be a dog in. As recently as one decade ago, flea and tick prevention bordered on archaic. Horrible flea collars that made Fido’s hair fall out, horrible sprays that made both you and him cough and sneeze, God-awful shampoos that sent him running under your bed, leaving a nice, sudsy trail of nasty smelling bubbles all over your home. Welcome to the future – those days are long since gone. Today you have options that offer Fido flea, tick and internal parasite control. That is a serious improvement for man’s best friend. However, it’s very important you educate yourself before picking one of the many products out there.

None of them do exactly the same thing. Some offer lots of protection, some don’t. If the product you choose doesn’t cover something like Heartworm prevention, realize you are going to have to buy something separately and add that to Fido’s regimen.. I’m not going to include all the products available, just the major ones I’ve researched and/or used for my own dog. The important thing to remember here, is Big Pharma is just like Big Tobacco. They’re always going to paint the prettiest picture they can about their product, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you buy. I’m listing both the US and EU product names.


Revolution/Stronghold (Pfizer)

This is the one I use on my own dog. I strongly recommend it. It’s a monthly spot treatment that’s placed between the shoulder blades. It protects against a number of things, but it's important to note that there are differences between Europe and America as far as the indications are concerned. It is the SAME product in both places, though! I called Pfizer UK to ask why, and they told me it has to do with differences in licensing practices.

In the US the indications are: Fleas, American Dog Ticks, Ear Mites, Sarcoptic Mange and Heartworm.

In the UK and Europe: Fleas, Ear Mites, Sarcoptic Mange, Hearworm and Roundworm (toxocara canis). If you would like to verify that for yourself you can view the NOHA website and read the government approved uses for Selamectin. Obviously, the reason American Dog Tick isn't listed, is because the species is American. This doesn't mean it won't be effective against EU ticks, it could just mean that the product hadn't been tested against them before Stonghold was put on the market.

Cost: 3 month supply $35

US Version
US Version
UK/EU Version
UK/EU Version

Frontline Top Spot/Spot On (Merial)

Another monthly spot treatment. Most of you have probably heard of Frontline, it was definitely one of the pioneers and I used it with great success on my cat when it first came out. I personally do not trust Frontline for flea and tick prevention anymore, because I’ve seen too many studies suggesting fleas and ticks are now becoming immune to it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It just means that if you notice the efficacy to be lacking, you should switch to something else.

Protection is ONLY against Fleas, Ticks and biting lice. That’s it. I did see one site claim the PLUS version protects against Lyme disease, but until I see further evidence on that, the jury is still out. Personally, I suspect that’s just a clever marketing strategy – the site mentions it kills all ticks, including those which transmit Lyme disease. But I have yet to see them explain what part of the chemical composition actually prevents the transmission of Lyme disease if a tick does latch on.

Remember, there’s no guarantee a tick won’t bite your dog, just because it’s been given a monthly spot treatment. So until I see Merial explain this claim, I’m going to assume they’re being a typically smarmy company and misleading dog owners. Which puts them straight at the bottom of my list. I could be wrong, of course – but regardless, I don’t consider Frontline to even be in the running. Not when there are products like Stronghold offer so much more protection for the same price.

Cost: 3 month supply approx $35

K-9 Advantix (Bayer)

I am not a fan of this one. Advantix is marketed as repelling/killing mosquitoes before they can reach your dog (the implication here is that Advantix protects your dog from Heartworm by killing mosquitoes before they can bite and infect your dog). Funnily enough the next sentence on their website mentions a 95% success (5% failure) rate in preventing them from feeding. That means it doesn't kill/repel ALL of them, now doesn't it? Sorry, Bayer, that’s an unnecessary risk on a product which already offers me FAR less than Stronghold/Revolution does. Protection covers Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes. Cost of 3 months supply of Advantix: $45

Advantage Multi/Advocate (Bayer)

This is Bayer’s response to Pfizer’s Revolution/Stronghold product. It’s a monthly spot on treatment that protects against Fleas, Ear mites, Sarcoptic Mange, Heartworm, Roundworm, and Hookworm.That’s everything Revolution/Stronghold does, plus Hookworm. Sounds great until you realize it has one very big minus: NO TICK PROTECTION. Hello? What kind of company makes a product like that and leaves out tick protection? Wait, I have a better question for you – why would you even bother with something like this, when you could just buy Revolution/Stronghold? I won’t, that’s for sure. Cost of a 3 month supply of Advantage Multi/Advocate: Approx $35

You only have to drop into your local pet shop to know there are other products out there. I don’t consider them to be worth mentioning, so I haven’t. I had a hard time listing Frontline, as it was. I only did so because I know so many people use it, and I wanted to show them it’s time to move on the next step in prevention. Also, remember that NONE of these products cover all the parasites, etc your dog might encounter. But things like Revolution/Stronghold offer more protection than others – and the benefit is you don’t have to figure out how to get a pill down, or give 5 meds to cover what’s listed here. I vote for Pfizer’s Revolution/Stronghold – but make your own decision. Research what’s out there and make the best decision as it relates to you and your dog. Fido will thank you for it!


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  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    Deborah, I'm very sorry for your loss. :(

    It's important to note, however, that any chemical which kills insects is going to be classed as a pesticide. I interpret your comments as surprise at finding these products contained them - but they all have the active ingredient clearly labeled on the box, beneath the brand name, usually.

    Permethrin is an old chemical that is known for its potential toxicity - particularly in cats - so, unfortunately, it does not surprise me to hear this disturbing news. If Bayer didn't study their product well-enough, it certainly warrants a class-action suit.

    Best of luck to you, should you choose to pursue that.

    For anyone wanting to know the 2 chemicals Deborah refers to in Advantix, they are: permethrin and imidacloprid.

  • profile image

    Deborah Wilson 10 years ago

    I would be very careful about recommending K9 Advantix. Reason: It has 2 active ingredients that are deadly to dogs. I know, and so does my Vet. each of the products you mentioned have one active pesticide in it. K9 has 2. Although sold in packages for various size dogs, thee is absolutely no mention of it deadly affects on small dogs. I purchased size for puppies over 7 weeks old and older dogs up to 10 10lbs. I purchased it for my 4.45 lb, 2 yr old pomeranian. I gave it to her on the first of each month from beginning of spring until cooler weather, usually ending in November. (I'm from SO. CALIF). I started up again in June. Within 2 days she became lethargic, urinating clear water constantly. After three days she wouldn't eat. Label has no phone number for emergencies. After trying to track down company, they denied dogs have problems with their product. They said it had to be something else, something she had eaten. But to be safe, give dog a bath. I washed her 3 times. Symptoms did not go away. They got progressively worse, including what looked like a burn on her lower back. Long beautiful hair fell out in this area. Rushed her to hospital. She died two days later. Paid for an autopsy to be sure it wasn't from any plants I had around back yard, including an avocado tree. RESULTS: She died of toxic poisoning. The chemicals they found in her system...and yes in her blood stream (they said it doesn't get in the blood) were the same two active ingredients on the package label. Vet's said once it is put on, it really never leaves. I was slowly poisoning my dog without knowing it, until it was too late. The product worked very fact too well...not only did it eliminate any fleas, tix and mosquitoes, it eliminated by beloved,beautiful pet.

    Vet says more and more people are bringing their dogs in with same symptons. It has been on the market since 2002. Now that dogs have been using it for 2 or more years, the occurrences of fatal illnesses are increasing.

    Large dogs might be able to tolerate it for a longer period. Small dogs...ABSOLUTELY DO NOT USE IT!

    This company should have a class action