How Does Frontline Work: The Best Tick and Flea Protection

How Does Frontline Work
Don’t we all enjoy cuddling with our furbabies? Unfortunately, the irresistibly soft fur that we love so much is also the reason why there is always a flea circus going on in our dogs and cats.
Our instincts as pet parents drive us to find the best flea protection right away. People will have different recommendations, but the majority is vouching for Frontline.
Frontline is the best flea and tick treatment product for pets. This top-quality brand has been in the market for over two decades, earning the approval and trust of veterinarians, as well as thousands of pet owners worldwide. Now the questions stand: how does Frontline work and what makes it the best flea medicine for dogs?
This article will talk about how Frontline continues to be the first choice for flea and tick treatment in our canine and feline companions. So, sit back and continue reading for we will cover everything you could ever want to know about Frontline.

What are the Signs that Your Pet has Fleas and Ticks?

You spot a tick inside the house

Ticks are hard to miss because they are big and hideous. If you see a tick on the furniture or floor, it is highly likely that a few more ticks are hiding inside your home. Do not ignore the ugly bugger and examine your pet. Pay close attention to your pet’s head, behind the ears, neck, groin, and paws.

cat itches

There are small red dots and black pepper grains all over your pet’s body

You can spot adult ticks easily, but nymphs and larva often hide from view. Therefore, you may want to run your hands over your cat or dog to check for tick bites.Starting from the head, look for small red bumps on the skin. The resulting scabs indicate an allergic reaction to the tick saliva. The same statement also holds true for fleabites.If your dog or cat has contracted fleas, you will also find black specks about the size of pepper grains. These black specks are flea feces. To confirm that what you are seeing is flea dirt, you may want to place it on a damp paper napkin. The paper will turn red if it is digested blood.

Your pet is shaking its head constantly

Has your pet been shaking its head a lot lately? If you don’t suspect your dog or cat has an ear infection, there may be a tick inside its ear canal. Ticks often crawl inside pet ears, as they are attracted to warm and moist areas.


Commonly known as Tick Fever, it causes loss of appetite, high fever, and lethargy. In extreme cases, dogs with tick fever may also suffer from seizures and abnormal bleeding. While you can treat Tick Fever at home, anemic dogs have the least chances of survival. Therefore, you should rush your pet to the vet to ensure recovery.

A tick bite doesn’t necessarily imply that your dog will develop a contagious disease. But because tick-borne diseases can be fatal, you should not take the threat of a tick bite less seriously. The quicker you treat a tick infestation, the less likely your dog will contract a life-threatening disease.

What is the Difference Between Frontline vs. Frontline Plus?

Frontline and Frontline Plus are flea and tick medication products owned by the multinational animal health company, Merial. Both Frontline products share the same objective: eliminate fleas and ticks from our beloved pets.

Merial released Frontline in 1997 as a medication to eliminate adult flea and tick populations on pets. The active ingredient of Frontline is fipronil, a broad-spectrum insecticide that belongs to the class of phenylpyrazole chemicals. Frontline Plus, on the other hand, debuted in 2000 with an additional active ingredient called S-methoprene.
The method of application for Frontline and Frontline Plus is the same. All you have to do is apply the product on your pet’s nape. The oil glands underneath the skin will absorb the active ingredient and travel through the hair follicles of your pet, killing fleas and ticks in contact. Frontline is over-the-counter; hence, you can administer the treatment without a veterinarian’s prescription.

Some consumers find Frontline Plus expensive, but the additional ingredient of methoprene and its high ratio of efficacy should justify the costs. Unlike the original formula, Frontline Plus eliminates fleas and ticks of all life stages. This product is also effective against chewing lice, mosquitoes, and other external parasites.
The manufacturer has already phased out the original Frontline.

Therefore, Frontline Plus is your only option if you are looking to stick with this brand.

How Does Frontline Work?

The use of fipronil combined with methoprene makes Frontline Plus stand out among its competition.
In Frontline Plus, Fipronil blocks the nerve receptors of the insects it encounters. Without a functioning nervous system, the parasites die out. However, fipronil alone isn’t enough to fight against a horde of fleas and ticks.

Take note that a single flea can lay almost 50 eggs a day.

That is why S-methoprene comes to play. S-methoprene mimics the effects of the hormone that controls the development of immature fleas and ticks. Therefore, flea eggs won’t hatch from their cocoons, and larvae will die off eventually.

Another strong point of Frontline is that it works rather quickly. Frontline Plus spreads from a single point of application, typically on the nape. This process is called topical diffusion. Contrary to common belief, the medicine doesn’t get absorbed through the dermal layers of your pet’s skin. Instead, the active ingredients remain in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of your pooch. Think of these areas as the reservoir for the medicine.

Once you’ve applied the dose, adult fleas will die within four hours. Dead ticks will start falling off within 12 hours after application and by that time, your pet is already 100% free of fleas. Biting is unnecessary. Frontline Plus can kill these bloodsuckers through contact with your pet’s coat.

Slowly and continually, the reservoirs release the active compounds onto the skin and hair through sebum. The cycle will repeat until there is no more left of the medicine.

While some brands do not hold up their promise, Frontline sticks to its word and offers a month’s worth of protection.

Is Frontline Waterproof?

cat itches
As mentioned earlier, you have to wait 48 hours before you can bathe your pooch or have him play water games in the pool. Doing so will give the product ample time to spread across your dog’s body. Otherwise, you risk the medication not being as potent.

How Do You Apply Frontline to a Dog?

Make sure that you are using the right dosage for your dog. The formula varies depending on the weight of your pet. Using a stronger formula instead of the appropriate dosage can lead to negative effects.
The application is also just as important as the correct dosage.

  • 1. Part the fur between your dog’s shoulder blades to expose bare skin. The treatment may not work if you apply it to the topcoat.
  • 2. Squeeze the medication out of the tube, applying the drops directly to the skin. Never apply the drops in an area where your dog can lick it. If necessary, use an Elizabethan collar.
  • 3. Lastly, allow the fur to rest naturally and keep your dog dry for at least 48 hours.
There are a variety of warnings and instructions to bear in mind when handling the applicator. So, I suggest you read the entirety of the label before you use the product. You should consult your vet if you are unsure about whether or not you are applying Frontline Plus correctly.

Does Frontline Have Side Effects?

Failure to follow the specific instructions for applying Frontline Plus can hamper the effect of the medicine, as well as cause unpleasant side effects. Aside from the wrong dose being absorbed, applying the medicine incorrectly can lead to ingestion by self-cleaning dogs.
If you have given your dog an excessive concentration of the product, it may suffer from the following side effects:

    cat Side Effects

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
As with all medicines, your dog may be allergic when exposed to the ingredients used in Frontline Plus. Puppies with ages eight months or below should not be given Frontline Plus. The same goes for dogs with compromised immune systems.
If your dog is healthy and neither too young nor exceptionally old, there should be no allergies when the correct dose is administered properly.

Is Frontline Safe to Humans?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has determined the said chemicals to be safe for veterinary use with no harm to pet owners. For that reason, you don’t have to be afraid of these man-made concoctions. If by accident you get some medicine on your skin, wash it with plenty of soap and water.

Wrapping Up

The combined abilities of fipronil and S-methoprene guarantee a comprehensive and complete elimination of ectoparasites. Since you can treat and prevent an infestation simultaneously, you no longer have to buy different products. Therefore, I suggest you add this product in your pet care arsenal, especially if you live in an area where fleas and ticks thrive, While many holistic vets are against the use of Frontline Plus, I still stand for Frontline as the best tick and flea treatment. Any adverse reactions using this product is usually due to the incorrect administration.

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