Flea Product Comparison

Confused about flea protection? This FAQ compares all the currently available flea control products to assist you in determining which is right for your situation. These products are available at licensed veterinary hospitals. We haven’t included over the counter products (as would be sold in a grocery or pet supply store). Because there are numerous products compared in 16 different categories, the information is in four separate tables.

Table 1: Flea killing ingredient; Flea sterilizing or additional ingredients; For dogs or cats;
Youngest age or size approved for use; Waterproof or water resistant
Table 2: Approved for pregnancy or lactation (nursing); How long until maximum effect against fleas is reached;
Other parasites killed, controlled or repelled; How often applied or administered
Table 3: Oral or Topical, Prescription drug, non-prescription drug or insecticide;
LD50 (lethal dose to 50% of the population)
Table 4: Year first made available in U.S.; Manufacturer, Manufacturer’s website; Additional cautions

TABLE 1

Flea Killing Ingredient Flea Sterilizing or
Additional Ingredients
For Dogs
or Cats
Youngest Age or Size
Approved For Use
Waterproof or
Water Resistant?
Comfortis,
AcuGuard*
Spinosad none Dog 14 weeks; at least 5 lbs Waterproof
Trifexis Spinosad Milbemycin (for add’l parasites) Dog 8 weeks; at least 5 lbs Waterproof
Assurity Spinetoram none Cat 8 weeks Water Resistant
Vectra 3D,
SimpleGuard 3*,
FirstShield Trio*
Dinotefuran &
Permethrin
Pyriproxifen (flea sterilizer) Dog 7 weeks;
at least 2.5 lbs
Water Resistant
Vectra for Cats,
SimpleGuard for Cats*, FirstShield for Cats*
Dinotefuran Pyriproxifen (flea sterilizer) Cat 8 weeks Water Resistant
Revolution Selamectin none Dog or Cat 6 weeks puppies
8 weeks kittens
Waterproof
Advantage II Imidacloprid Pyriproxifen (flea sterilizer) Dog or Cat 7 weeks puppies
8 weeks kittens
Waterproof
K9Advantix II Imidacloprid &
Permethrin
Pyriproxifen (flea sterilizer) Dog 7 weeks Waterproof
Advantage Multi
also called Advocate
Imidacloprid Moxidectin
(for additional parasites)
Dog or Cat 7 weeks puppies
9 weeks kittens
Waterproof
Effitix Fipronil & Permethrin none Dog 12 weeks Water Resistant
Frontline Tritak for Dogs Fipronil & Cyphenothrin Methoprene (flea sterilizer) Dog 12 weeks and minimum of 4 lbs body weight Waterproof (but wait 24 hours after application before swimming/bathing)
Frontline Tritak for Cats Fipronil & Etophenprox Methoprene (flea sterilizer) Cat 12 weeks Waterproof
Frontline
Fiproguard, PetArmor, EasySpot (cats)
Parastar (dogs)
Effipro (cats)
Fipronil none Dog or Cat 8 weeks Waterproof
Frontline Plus,
Fiproguard Plus, PetArmor Plus
Fipronil Methoprene (flea sterilizer) Dog or Cat 8 weeks Waterproof
Activyl Indoxacarb Indoxacarb both kills and sterilizes fleas Dog or Cat puppies 8 weeks and
4 lbs, kittens 8 weeks and 2 lbs
Waterproof (wait 24 hours before swimming/bathing)
Activyl Tick Plus Indoxacarb
& Permethrin
Indoxacarb both kills and sterilizes fleas Dog 8 weeks and 4 lbs Waterproof (wait 24 hours before swimming/bathing)
Program none Lufenuron (flea sterilizer) Dog or Cat 4 weeks Waterproof
Sentinel none Lufenuron (flea sterilizer) &
Milbemycin (for add’l parasites)
Dog 4 weeks; at least 2 lbs Waterproof
Capstar Nitenpyram none Dog or Cat 4 weeks; at least 2 lbs Waterproof

TABLE 2

Approved for Pregnancy and Lactation (nursing) How Long Until Maximum Effect Against Fleas Is Reached? Other Parasites Killed, Controlled or Repelled How Often Applied or Administered?
Comfortis,
AcuGuard*
Manufacturer recommends against use but not specifically labeled against 100% Fleas Dead
in 4 Hours
none Monthly
Trifexis Manufacturer recommends against use but not specifically labeled against 100% Fleas Dead in 4 Hours Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms & Heartworm Monthly
Assurity Manufacturer recommends consulting with veterinarian first 98 - 100% Fleas Dead in
12 Hours
none Monthly
Vectra 3D,
SimpleGuard 3*,
FirstShield Trio*
No 96% of Fleas Dead
in 6 Hours
Kills Ticks; Repels Flies
and Mosquitos
Monthly
Vectra for Cats,
SimpleGuard for Cats*, FirstShield for Cats*
No 98% of Fleas Dead
in 6 Hours
none Monthly
Revolution Yes 42 Hours to Zero Fleas Dogs: Ticks, Ear Mites,
Sarcoptic Mange Mites & Heartworm Larvae
Cats: Hookworms, Roundworms, Ear Mites & Heartworm Larvae
Monthly
Advantage II Manufacturer recommends consulting with veterinarian first 98% of Pre-Existing Fleas Dead in 12 Hours; Then New Fleas in 2 Hours none Monthly
K9Advantix II No 98% of Fleas Dead
in 12 Hours
Kills Ticks; Repels Flies
and Mosquitos
Monthly
Advantage Multi
also called Advocate
No 98% of Fleas Dead
in 12 Hours
Dogs: Whipworms, Hookworms, Roundworms & Heartworm
Cats: Hookworms, Roundworms, Ear Mites & Heartworm
Monthly
Effitix No 90% of fleas dead in 6 hours, 99% in 12 hours Kills Ticks; Repels Mosquitos Monthly
Frontline Tritak for Dogs no Starts killing fleas in 5 minutes, 100% fleas dead in 24 hours, 90% fleas in approx 1 hour, 95% of fleas dead in 4 hours (24 hours to completely translocate) Ticks Monthly
Frontline Tritak for Cats no 90% fleas dead in 1 hour, 95% of fleas dead in 4 hours, 97% ticks dead in 1 hour, 100% in 4 hours Ticks Monthly
Frontline,
Fiproguard, PetArmor
EasySpot (cats)
Parastar (dogs)
Effipro (cats)
Topspot Yes;
Spray No
24 Hrs to Translocate, then
4-18 Hours to Kill Fleas
Kills Ticks & Lice Monthly
Frontline Plus,
Fiproguard Plus, PetArmor Plus
Yes 24 Hrs to Translocate, then
4-18 Hrs to Kill Fleas and
24-48 Hours to Kill Ticks
Kills Ticks & Lice Monthly
Activyl no 99.9% of fleas dead in 72 hours (66% of fleas dead in 24 hours) none 6 weeks (recommended to apply monthly)
Activyl Tick Plus no 99.9% of fleas dead in 72 hours (66% of fleas dead in 24 hours) Ticks 4 weeks
Program Yes Peak activity at 6 Hours none Monthly for oral; Every 6 Months for Injectable
Sentinel Individual ingredients Yes, but combination not approved Peak activity at 6 Hours Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms & Heartworm Monthly
Capstar Yes Maximum Effect in 4 Hours none As Needed or Daily (no lasting activity)

 

TABLE 3

Oral or Topical? Prescription Drug,
Non-Prescription Drug
or Insectcide
Lethal Dose to 50% of the Population
(the higher the number, the safer the product)
[What is LD50?]
Comfortis,
AcuGuard*
Oral (Chewable) Prescription Drug >3,000 mg/kg in rats; >2.000 mg/kg in rabbits
(translates to over 30 times recommended dose)
Trifexis Oral (Chewable) Prescription Drug Spinosad: >3,000 mg/kg in rats; >2.000 mg/kg in rabbits
Milbemycin LD50 information unavailable
Symptoms of tremors and incoordination result at 19 times recommended dose
Assurity Topical Insecticide Dermal and Oral LD50 in rats > 5,000 mg/kg
Vectra 3D,
SimpleGuard 3*,
FirstShield Trio*
Topical Insecticide >2,400 mg/kg in rats for Dinotefuran,
>4,000 mg/kg in rats for topical Permethrin
Vectra for Cats,
SimpleGuard for Cats*, FirstShield for Cats*
Topical Insecticide >2,400 mg/kg in rats for Dinotefuran
Revolution Applied Topically, but rapidly absorbed through skin Prescription Drug >1,600 mg/kg in rats
Advantage II Topical Insecticide Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Orally: 450 mg/kg in rats
K9Advantix II Topical Insecticide Imidacloprid Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Imidacloprid Orally: 450 mg/kg in rats
>4,000 mg/kg in rats for Permethrin
Advantage Multi
also called Advocate
Topical Prescription Drug Imidacloprid Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Imidacloprid Orally: 450 mg/kg in rats
>2,000 mg/kg in rabbits for Moxidectin
Frontline Tritak for Dogs Topical Insecticide Cyphenothrin: rat 318 mg/kg; Fipronil Dermal Dose:
>5,000 mg/kg in rats: Fipronil Orally: 750 mg/kg in rats
Methoprene Orally: >34,600 in rats (virtually non-toxic)
Effitix Topical Insecticide Fipronil Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Fipronil Orally: 750 mg/kg in rats;
>4,000 mg/kg in rats for topical Permethrin
Frontline Tritak for Cats Topical Insecticide Etophenprox > 5000 mg/kg (toxic dose may not be established as it is so high); Fipronil Dermal Dose:
>5,000 mg/kg in rats; Fipronil Orally: 750 mg/kg in rats;
Methoprene Orally: >34,600 in rats (virtually non-toxic)
Frontline,
Fiproguard, PetArmor
EasySpot (cats)
Parastar (dogs)
Effipro (cats)
Topical Topspot or Spray Insecticide Fipronil Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Fipronil Orally: 750 mg/kg in rats
Frontline Plus,
Fiproguard Plus, PetArmor Plus
Topical Insecticide Fipronil Dermal Dose: >5,000 mg/kg in rats
Fipronil Orally: 750 mg/kg in rats
Methoprene Orally: >34,600 in rats (virtually non-toxic)
Activyl Topical Insecticide Indoxacarb must be activated by insect metabolism
(no activity in mammals)
Activyl Tick Plus Topical Insecticide Indoxacarb is inert in the mammal body,
>4,000 mg/kg in rats for Permethrin
Program Oral; or
Injectable for Cats only
Over the Counter Drug Orally: > 2,000 mg/kg in rats
Sentinel Oral Prescription Drug Lufenuron Orally: > 2,000 mg/kg in rats
Milbemycin LD50 information unavailable
Symptoms of tremors and incoordination result at 19 times recommended dose
Capstar Oral Over the Counter Drug Orally: 1,575 mg/kg in rats

 

TABLE 4

Year First Made Available in U.S. Manufacturer Manufacturer Website Additional Cautions
Comfortis,
AcuGuard*
2007 Elanco www.comfortis4dogs.com
(AcuGuard is a private label*)
Should not be used in dogs with known seizure disorders
Trifexis 2011 Elanco www.trifexis.com Puppies less than 14 weeks of age may experience a higher rate of vomiting
Assurity 2011 Elanco www.assurity4cats.com none
Vectra 3D,
SimpleGuard 3*,
FirstShield Trio*
2007 Summit www.summitvetpharm.com
(SimpleGuard 3 and
FirstShield Trio are private labels*)
none
Vectra for Cats,
SimpleGuard for Cats*, FirstShield for Cats*
2008 Summit www.summitvetpharm.com
(SimpleGuard for Cats and FirstShield for Cats
are private labels*)
none
Revolution 2000 Pfizer www.revolutionpet.com Pets should test negative for Heartworm before use
Advantage II 1996 Bayer http://advantage.petparents.com none
K9Advantix II 2003 Bayer http://k9advantix.petparents.com Do not use in cats
(cats are sensitive to Permethrin)
Advantage Multi
also called Advocate
2007 Bayer http://advantagemulti.petparents.com Pets should test negative for Heartworm before use
Effitix 2012 Virbac www.virbacvet.com Canine product cannot be safely used on cats
Frontline Tritak for Dogs 2012 Merial www.frontlinetritak.com The canine product cannot be safely used on cats
Frontline Tritak for Cats 2012 Merial www.frontlinetritak.com Do not use with other topical pyrethroid/pyrethrin product
Frontline,
Fiproguard, PetArmor
EasySpot (cats)
Parastar (dogs)
Effipro (cats)
1996 (Frontline)
2012 (Effipro)
2011 (all others)
Merial
Sentry
FidoPharm
www.frontline.com
www.sentrypetcare.com
www.petarmor.com
www.easyspotpet.com
www.parastarpet.com
www.virbacvet.com
none
Frontline Plus,
Fiproguard Plus, PetArmor Plus
2000 Merial
Sentry
FidoPharm
www.frontline.com
www.sentrypetcare.com
www.petarmor.com
none
Activyl 2012 Merck
Animal Health
www.activyl.com Fleas tend to get more active when this product works on them so tend to be more visible. It may look like the pet has more fleas.
Activyl Tick Plus 2012 Merck
Animal Health
www.activyl.com Toxic to cats
Program 1994 Novartis www.program.novartis.us Give with food
Sentinel 1997 Novartis www.sentinel.novartis.us Give with food; Pets should test negative for Heartworm before use
Capstar 2000 Novartis www.capstar.novartis.us none

* VCA Animal Hospitals and Banfield Pet Hospitals market some products under their own hospital private label, made by the same manufacterer as the original product. It is the same product (made by the same manufacturer) but with a different name.

 

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