Frontline Plus for Dogs is topical treatment that kills not only fleas, flea eggs and larvae, but also ticks and chewing lice. However, it doesn't work for all dogs. Reviews are split between those who find the product highly effective and those who say it didn't help at all. Frontline Plus seldom causes any side effects in dogs, but it may be hazardous to humans. Also, products sold online as Frontline Plus may be counterfeits.
Doesn't work for every dog. While most users find Frontline Plus for Dogs highly effective against both fleas and ticks, a significant percentage of owners disagree. Many say Frontline Plus or its precursor, Frontline, used to work for their dogs, but its efficacy has diminished. Vet Eric Barchas, writing for Dogster.com, says it's "almost inevitable" that fleas will become resistant to this product, but he still considers it more effective than most flea treatments. However, the vets at Mid Hudson Animal Hospital in Hyde Park, N.Y., say they can't recommend Frontline Plus because so many of their clients find it ineffective.
Some risk for humans. We consulted hundreds of reviews from dog owners and found almost no reports of side effects from Frontline Plus. Many owners, in fact, say it's the only product their dogs can tolerate. However, fipronil, an ingredient in Frontline Plus, may pose some risks for humans. A pet-products guide run by the Natural Resources Defense Council describes this chemical as a possible human carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor. It recommends only "limited and careful use" of the product in areas with severe tick problems. Following instructions exactly and washing your hands afterward should help minimize your exposure.
Easy squeeze. Most dog owners find the single-dose tubes of Frontline Plus easy to apply. The only downside, they say, is that it can leave a greasy residue on the dog's fur. However, pet owners do need to be careful when buying the product. Websites, and even some pet stores, may carry products that are packaged as Frontline Plus but are actually counterfeits. It's best to buy only from a vet or a reputable retailer, and double-check the product in the box before using it to make sure it matches the pictures on Frontline's website.
We found over 3,600 reviews for Frontline Plus at this online pet pharmacy, averaging a lackluster 3.4 stars out of 5. Dog owners like the product somewhat better than cat owners, but still, a significant percentage complain that it doesn't work for their dogs.
Review: Frontline Plus, Contributors to 1800PetMeds.com, As of December 2013
Frontline Plus for Dogs receives over 3,100 reviews at Amazon.com, where it earns an overall score of 4 stars out of 5. Most owners find it safe and effective, and they like the fact that it works on both fleas and ticks. However, there are many warnings here about counterfeit versions of the product.
Review: Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Dogs and Puppies, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2013
Eric Barchas, a veterinarian with over a decade of experience, says Frontline Plus is one of the safest and most effective flea treatments for dogs. However, he warns that topical products like this one 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
4. Mid Hudson Animal Hospital
Vets at Mid Hudson Animal Hospital in Hyde Park, N.Y., advise against using Frontline Plus for Dogs. They say they "would love to recommend" Frontline Plus because it kills ticks as well as fleas, but too many of their clients complain that it doesn't work for their pets.
Review: Recommendations for Flea Control, Staff of Mid Hudson Animal Hospital, Not Dated
Frontline Plus for Dogs earns stronger ratings here than at other sites. In more than 525 reviews, it earns 4.5 stars out of 5, and 89 percent of users recommend it. Most dog owners say it works on both fleas and ticks and has no adverse side effects.
Review: Frontline Plus for Dogs, Contributors to Petco.com, As of December 2013
6. Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital
An unnamed veterinarian at Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital recommends Frontline Plus for Dogs. Because it kills fleas at all stages of their life cycle, the vet says it's "effective as a preventative or as treatment for an existing infestation." Safety is also praised.
Review: A Dayton, OH Veterinarian Discusses Flea Control: Taking Aim on Fleas, Staff of Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, Sept. 5, 2013
This directory from the Natural Resources Defense Council labels Frontline Plus for Dogs a moderate-risk product. The editors describe fipronil, an ingredient in Frontline Plus, as a possible human carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor, but they say it may still be worth using in areas with severe tick problems.
Review: GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory, Editors of SimpleSteps.org, Not Dated
We found over 35 reviews for Frontline Plus for Dogs at PetSmart.com, plus additional ones elsewhere on the site. It earns a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Many dog owners say this product is fast and effective, but others say their flea problems are as bad as ever.
Review: Frontline Plus for Dogs - 6pk, Contributors to PetSmart.com, As of December 2013