Advantage II for Dogs is a monthly, over-the-counter topical treatment that kills fleas at all stages of their life cycle: adults, eggs and larvae. It doesn't work for every dog, but reviews suggest it's more reliable than its chief rival, Est. $65 for a 6-month supply . Unlike Frontline Plus, however, Advantage II doesn't work on ticks. Most owners find the product easy to apply, and side effects are rare.
Not perfect, but better than most. Most owners find Advantage II for Dogs very effective. Most dog owners say it works fast to wipe out fleas, and many say that this product worked when Frontline Plus failed. However, some reviews complain that this product was ineffective or stopped working before the month was up, requiring an extra dose. A few owners say Advantage II used to work for their dogs but no longer does. At Dogster.com, vet Eric Barchas says it's "almost inevitable" that fleas will eventually become resistant to this product, if they haven't already. Still, he says it remains more effective than most treatments on the market.
Side effects are rare. We saw over 1,000 reviews for Advantage II from dog owners at various pet-product stores, and the vast majority of them say this product had no side effects. Only a handful of owners at Amazon.com say that their dogs had bad reactions to the drug, typically involving vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to keep the fluid out of the dog's eyes and mouth -- and out of your own as well. The product insert says to wash your hands thoroughly after applying the product and to call poison control if it's swallowed or gets in your eyes.
Leaves a greasy spot. Advantage II comes in a single-dose tube that you squeeze onto the dog's skin. Small dogs get the entire dose between the shoulder blades; on larger dogs, it's applied at three or four points along the back. In the reviews we consulted, owners don't describe any problems applying it to their dogs. However, a few complain that it leaves a persistent, greasy residue on the dog's fur. Also, although the manufacturer claims this product is waterproof, one owner at 1800PetMeds.com says that "if you wash your dog, you wash the Advantage off."
There are more than 2,600 user reviews of Advantage II at this online pet pharmacy, covering both the dog and cat versions of the product. Users give it 4.2 stars out of 5 overall, with 4.2 stars for effectiveness and 4.6 stars for ease of use.
Review: Advantage II, Contributors to 1800PetMeds.com, As of December 2013
We found more than 530 reviews for Advantage II for Dogs at Amazon.com. Most dog owners find it effective, with many saying it works where other products fail. However, some owners say it didn't help their dogs or stopped working before the month was up.
Review: Bayer Advantage II Flea Control for Dogs, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2013
Advantage II for Dogs receives over 350 reviews from dog owners at Petco.com. Its overall rating is 4.3 stars out of 5, and 86 percent of users recommend it. While most owners find it effective, some complain that it didn't work or lost its efficacy after about a week.
Review: Advantage II Once-A-Month Topical Flea Treatment for Dogs & Puppies, Contributors to Petco.com, As of December 2013
Eric Barchas, a veterinarian with over a decade of experience, says Advantage II is one of the safest and most effective flea treatments for dogs. However, he warns that topical products like Advantage II can irritate the skin and may lose effectiveness as fleas become resistant to them.
Review: Ask a Vet: Is Your Flea Control Product Hurting Your Dog?, Eric Barchas, April 2, 2013
Advantage II for Dogs has over 250 reviews at PetSmart.com, spread across multiple pages, including more than 130 here. Dog owners award it 3.9 stars out of 5 overall, a somewhat lower rating than the feline version. Most owners find it effective on fleas, but some disagree, and many wish it killed ticks as well.
Review: Advantage II for Dogs - 6 Pack, Contributors to PetSmart.com, As of December 2013
6. Mid Hudson Animal Hospital
Vets at Mid Hudson Animal Hospital in Hyde Park, N.Y., recommend Advantage (a precursor to Advantage II that kills only adult fleas) for treating fleas in dogs. They say it's more reliable than Frontline, but it won't kill ticks; for treating fleas and ticks, they recommend K9 Advantix II.
Review: Recommendations for Flea Control, Staff of Mid Hudson Animal Hospital, Not Dated
Veterinarian Carol S. Foil says the original version of Advantage for Dogs kills fleas fast and maintains "100% killing" for at least two weeks. She also says that Nylar, the ingredient added to Advantage II for Dogs, is "extremely effective against flea eggs."
Review: Flea Control, Carol S. Foil, Not Dated
This directory from the Natural Resources Defense Council gives Advantage II for Dogs a safety rating of two "paws" out of three, or medium risk. Editors note that its key ingredient, imidacloprid, shows signs of toxicity in rats but is generally classified as low risk for humans.
Review: GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory, Editors of SimpleSteps.org, Not Dated