We are all looking for ways to save money these days, especially those of us with multiple dogs (and cats).
While we have tried several types of "over the counter" non-prescription flea medications over the years, we always come back to the same active ingredient, Imidacloprid. The active ingredient Fipronil found in name brand products such as Frontline Plus, Pet Armor, Pet Armor Plus, and Sentry FiproGuard just doesn't seem to work in our geographical location of Michigan.
All flea prevention and treatment products (topical or ingestible) are at their core, pesticides. While you can find Imidacloprid and Fipronil "in bulk" as well as in products such as Ortho MAX Tree and Shrub Insect Control Ready To Spray (Imidacloprid 1.47%), I will not be discussing the use of those products here.
Imidacloprid Topical Flea Medications
The most well known name brand topical flea medications that use Imidacloprid as an active ingredient are K9 Advantix®, K9 Advantix® II, Advantage®, and Advantage® II. The most common of these that you will find in the US today are K9 Advantix® II and Advantage® II, both of which contain a second active ingredient, Pyriproxyfen. Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator that is not found in K9 Advantix® or Advantage®. K9 Advantix® II contains a third active ingredient not found in Advantage® II. Permethrin is an insecticide in the pyrethroid family. Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals that act like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Products containing Pyrethroids can kill cats and should never be used on or around cats. Keep dogs treated with topicals such as K9 Advantix® II which contain pyrethroids away from cats for 24 hours after application or opt to use Advantage® II instead.
Recommendation: As of 2024, we are currently using Amazon Basics Flea, Tick, & Mosquito Topical Treatment For Dogs. This Amazon Basics product is equivalent to and contains all of the same active ingredients of K9 Advantix® II for Dogs. By purchasing the Amazon Basics product instead of the name brand K9 Advantix® II for Dogs, we are saving $40.00 per 6 dose box purchased. As stated above, keep dogs treated with topicals such as Amazon Basics Flea, Tick, & Mosquito Topical Treatment for Dogs which contain pyrethroids away from cats for 24 hours after application.
We have covered how we save money purchasing products equivalent to name brands, in this section we will outline how we split doses for our animals. This section is for "informational purposes only" (see Disclaimers for more details) and we disclaim liability for any damages or losses, direct or indirect, that may result from use of or reliance on information contained within the information.
Amazon Basics Flea Topical Treatment for Cats
For our cats we are currently using Amazon Basics Flea Topical Treatment for Cats. This Amazon Basics product is equivalent to and contains all of the same active ingredients of Advantage® II for Cats.
Advantus® Imidacloprid Oral Flea Medication
In addition to K9 Advantix®, K9 Advantix® II, Advantage®, and Advantage® II manufacturer Elanco also makes a soft chewable containing Imidacloprid.
There are three things that are important to note about this product:
1. Adult fleas must bite the pet to die.
2. This product is only effective for 24 hours but can be given once daily.
3. Advantus® is specifically for dogs and should never be given to a cat.
Advantus® is sold in 2 doses based on the dog's body weight:
4-22 Pounds 7.5mg imidacloprid (Amazon $59.98 for 30 chews) - amzn.to/49lln5V
23-110 Pounds 37.5mg imidacloprid (Amazon $59.98 for 30 chews) - amzn.to/4bpYsIv
Recommendation: We do not recommend the use of this product based on its overall cost, need to give it once daily, and as well as that Advantus® use has not been studied for breeding, lactating and/or pregnant dogs. Pills with the active ingredient Nitenpyram are a better, more cost effective alternative if a dog or cat is so severely infested with adult fleas that a 24-hour oral medication is desired/needed.
Nitenpyram Oral Flea Medication
"Your mileage may vary"
As with all parasite preventions and treatments, it is important to discuss with your vet what what you are looking to target (fleas, ticks, lice, intestinal worms, etc.) and figure out together what will work in your geographical area. In our area, imidacloprid seems to work well for us, while the active ingredient fipronil seems to do next to nothing for flea treatment. Amazon Basics does offer products labeled as "Flea & Tick Topical for Dogs" and "Flea & Tick Topical for Cats" containing fipronil which are equivalent to Frontline Plus. The box design is deceivingly similar to the products containing imidacloprid and it is important to double check the active ingredients before purchasing to be sure you are getting the ingredients you desire because these are products non-returnable to Amazon.
This article only discusses our experiences and how we save money on over the counter non-prescription products; there are also numerous prescription options available through your veterinarian to prevent and treat fleas, ticks, lice, intestinal worms, etc.
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