It is really important to ensure your pet is treated regularly for external and internal parasites, as they are very common and can be harmful to both you and your pet.
In this article, we will focus on two readily available ways to treat external parasites. Biting external parasites like fleas and ticks can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation and can also spread other diseases. Fortunately, there are lots of products that can help you to control fleas, ticks, and other biting insects on your pet.
If you are concerned about your pet, or treatments are not working, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a professional opinion. There are lots of types of external parasites that don’t respond to some medications, so it’s essential that you ask for help if you are struggling with your pet’s skin. It is also vital to use home treatments properly and as per the package labeling.
At a Glance
Overview of Advantage II
Advantage II is a spot-on preparation that kills fleas and biting lice. It comes as an improvement to the original Advantage by the addition of a second active ingredient, pyriproxyfen.
Advantage is available in a range of sizes for dogs and cats and does not need a veterinary prescription in the US. Advantage contains imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen, two common insecticides that are absorbed across the skin and provide protection for 4 weeks. It must not be used in puppies under 7 weeks old.
Advantage is designed to target fleas and all parts of their life cycle, including young and eggs. The imidacloprid kills the adult fleas, whilst the pyriproxyfen is designed to control the egg and larval population in the environment. Advantage is also used to treat biting lice infestations, although these are fairly rare.
Advantage does not require fleas to bite to be affected by the poison, which is great for dogs and cats that have flea bite hypersensitivity. Advantage starts working to kill fleas within 12 hours of application.
Applying the product
Advantage comes as small pipettes of liquid, either in single doses, 4-packs, or 6-packs. These pipettes are designed to be applied to your pet’s skin by parting the fur and squeezing the pipette onto the skin. It is important not to wash your dog or let them swim for two days prior to, and two days after, application of Advantage.
The product lasts for 4 weeks, so it needs to re-applied monthly for continuous cover. Breaks in cover can lead to infestations, as adult fleas are brought into the house on your dog’s fur and lay eggs in the house. These infestations can take 12 weeks to clear, so it’s important to apply Advantage without a break in cover.
What are the possible side effects?
Side effects of Advantage are unusual. On rare occasions, skin reactions such as hair loss, redness, itching, and skin lesions can occur. See the package leaflet for full information on side effects, and always speak to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet.
Overview of Advantix II
Advantix II is a flea, tick, biting lice, and mosquito-killing product available for dogs. It contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen, three common insecticides. It is an improvement on the original Advantix, which didn’t contain pyriproxyfen.
This product must not be applied to cats under any circumstances as permethrin is extremely toxic to cats. Care should also be taken in combined dog-cat households, where cats may come into contact with the product, especially if the dog and cat share furniture or beds or participate in mutual grooming. It must not be used in puppies under 7 weeks old.
Advantix is a spot-on liquid preparation suitable for topical application to the skin. There are several different sizes for different size dogs. Advantix does not need a veterinary prescription in the US. Alongside killing adult fleas, Advantix also has activity against:
Applying K9 Advantix
Advantix should be applied topically by parting the fur and squeezing the contents of the pipette onto the skin. Because of the large volume of fluid, it’s generally advised that Advantix is applied in several spots along the length of your dog’s back. They should not be allowed to lick the product off.
Once applied, the product begins working within 10 minutes and kills over 98% of fleas on the animal within 12 hours. It then lasts for 4 weeks, and it needs to re-applied monthly for continuous cover. It is important not to wash your dog or let them swim for at least two days after use.
What are the possible side effects of Advantix?
On rare occasions, skin reactions such as hair loss, redness, itching, and skin lesions can occur. On very rare occasions, dogs may become agitated, restless, twitching, and a bit unsteady after application. There may also be tummy upsets including vomiting or diarrhea. These are not common.
See the package leaflet for full information on side effects, and always speak to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet. If your pet experiences side effects, even if they appear to be fine, it’s important that you talk to your vet so the drug company can be made aware.
Which one should you use?
Whether you want to use Advantage or Advantix will depend on your circumstances, your dog, and your local area.
Both treatment products are good for killing fleas quickly and without necessarily having them bite. However, if your dog has flea bite allergies or very sensitive skin then having the repellent activity of Advantix may be useful.
Advantix kills ticks and biting lice, which can be just as nasty as fleas and arguably spread more severe diseases than fleas. If ticks and fleas are a common problem in your area, Advantix may be a better choice to fully protect your dog, as Advantage has a more limited spectrum of use.
Advantage tends to be a bit cheaper than Advantix, which may be a factor in your product choice. Advantix is also toxic to cats, and treated dogs should be kept separate from cats for 48 hours. If this is not possible, you may want to use Advantage.
If your dog has had previous problems with their nervous system or digestive system, or if they are sensitive to other drugs, then it may be worth speaking to your veterinarian before using either product.
|Species||Available for Dogs and Cats||Toxic to cats|
|Treats||Fleas, Lice||Fleas, Ticks, Lice, Mosquitos, Biting Flies|
|Active ingredients||Imidacloprid (9.1%), pyriproxyfen (0.46%)||Imidacloprid (8.8%), pyriproxyfen (0.44%), permethrin (44%)|
|Does it repel?||No||Yes|
|Frequency of Use||Monthly||Monthly|
|Minimum size and age of dog||Over 7 weeks of age.
Over 3lbs body weight.
|Over 7 weeks of age
Over 2.5lbs body weight
|Possible risks||Skin irritation (not common).||Skin irritation (not common), nervous and digestive signs (rare)|
|Rough cost||Usually cheaper||Usually more expensive|
It is important to cover your dog (and cat!) for external parasites and there a great many ways to do this. No product covers every type of infestation, and your choice of product will depend heavily on you, your dog, and your local area.
Two common spot-on treatments are Advantage II and Advantix II, which are both available without prescription online. Advantage II is usually cheaper and tends to have fewer listed side effects but does not cover for as many parasites as Advantix II does, and it doesn’t repel these bugs either.
Regular cover is important, whichever product you choose. Remember, if you are confused by the range of choice, or concerned about your dog, the best professional advice will come from your local veterinary clinic.
Featured image credit: laureettaawilliams, Pixabay