Cheapest Alternatives to Frontline Flea Medication for Pets
In 2011, the patent for fipronil—the active ingredient in Frontline for dogs and cats—expired. Since then there have been numerous generics available. But what are the cheapest generics for cats and dogs and how does fipronil work to control fleas and ticks?
After researching the generic choices, here are the best brands at the cheapest price, but first you should understand what kind of product this is.
It is important to discuss any kind of flea control and medication with your vet before changing products. Some products work well for some pets and not well for others. It is also important that each pet gets the correct dose.
Here is a review of the product and what to look for when choosing a generic alternative. Natural flea treatment alternatives are also discussed.
The chemical in Barricade, fipronil, adheres to the oils found naturally in your dog's skin and will continue to be released for up to three months (for fleas) and up to a month (for ticks).
Fipronil for Dogs
Barricade Spot On Treatment for dogs contains 9.7% fipronil, the same amount as in the original Frontline brand. When looking for a generic alternative, you will want to make sure that it does contain this amount of the fipronil in order to be effective.
The chemical fipronil adheres to the oils found naturally in your dog's skin and will continue to be released for up to three months (for fleas) and up to a month (for ticks). The flea treatment can be applied every month if needed and this is recommended for those that live in high-infestation areas such as the southern United States.
Fipronil, in SENTRY, bonds with the natural oils found in the cat's skin and is stored in the hair follicles to be released over time. Most cats respond well to the chemical.
Fipronil for Cats
Cats can also benefit from the ingredients found in Frontline alternatives. If your cat is an adult and over a certain minimum weight (usually 1.5 pounds), then the fipronil dosage is usually the same. Sentry tends to have the best deal, per dosage, for cats.
Fipronil also bonds with the natural oils found in the cat's skin and is stored in the hair follicles to be released over time.
Most cats respond well to the fipronil chemical and it can keep your cat flea-free for up to 3 months. If your cat goes outdoors, you may want to consider using the treatment every month.
How to Apply Topical Flea Medication
To apply topical flea medication, first read the package instructions or consult your vet for guidelines. Some medications need to be administered all in one place and some should be dotted along the back in 3 or 4 places.
If the topical is to be administered in one place:
- Part the hair at the back of the neck, in an area your pet can't lick.
- Make sure you can see the pet's skin.
- Squeeze all the contents directly on the skin, trying to get as little as possible on the fur.
- Discard the container and wash your hands.
- Monitor your pet for any adverse reaction and contact your vet if they develop vomiting or lethargy.
How to Apply Any Flea Topical
If the topical is to be administered in more than one place:
- Make sure you pet is calm and still.
- Start at the base of the neck and part the fur, exposing the skin.
- Squeeze a small amount of the medication in the spot.
- Move 4 to 6 inches down the spine, part the fur and repeat.
- Continue for the amount of application sites recommend on the package (usually 3 to 4)
- Discard the container and wash your hands.
- Monitor for your pet for any kind of reaction and contact your vet with concerns.
As with any flea medication, fipronil is a toxin that is meant to control pests such as fleas and ticks. Although most animals are not bothered by the chemical, it is important to figure out what works for your individual pet and its needs.
If you have been treating your pet for years with Frontline or other fipronil products and begin to have problems with fleas, you may need to switch medications for six months to a year.
According to a 2008 study by Jill Maddison and Stephen Page, some fleas can develop a resistance to fipronil over time. By alternating medications, you can help to eliminate the ability of the insect to adapt and resist.
You can also add an oral medication such as Comfortis to boost the power and combat the fleas with two different products at once.
As always, ask your vet about the right treatment plan.
How Does Fipronil Work?
Once fipronil is ingested, it goes to work on the nervous systems of insects, targeting a chemical structure and glutamate-gated chloride receptors, something that mammals don't have (Wikipedia, fipronil).
Because the chemical is slow-acting, insects can infect their nests and lairs as well (a consideration when treating an insect such as a cockroach).
According to drsfostersmith.com, fipronil targets adult fleas, basically speeding up their nervous system before killing them. So if you are treating a pet that already has fleas, you may see the fleas running around at high speed on your pet before dying.
It is important to remember that fipronil does not target eggs or larva so, if you already have fleas, it may take several weeks for your pet to become completely flea free as the chemical targets them once they become adults.
What About Natural Alternatives?
Just as the market of natural products for people has exploded in the past few years, so has the market for pet products and alternative flea medications for cats and dogs.
Some have had good luck with products such as Diatomaceous (diametrious) Earth products which is a natural product that is toxic to insects but harmless to pets.
This product is usually fed to the animal or sprinkled in areas where there are flea infestations.
While with any product, you should consult your vet, my experience has been that this may work well in cooler climates or those that are not heavily infested.
People in humid and hot climates may have a harder time controlling fleas with just natural alternatives but it may be something viable to try if that is what you are interested in.
Other Natural Alternatives
According to PETA there are other natural alternatives you can try such as:
- Black Walnut
- Natural Flea Treats With Vitamin B
- Sodium Borate
- Daily Flea Combing
- Herbal Shampoos
- Vacuuming and Washing of Pet Bedding
Even if you need to use topicals to get you flea population under control, you can try the natural alternatives during lower flea infestation times or after the flea problem is under control.
Find What Works for Your Pet
If you are looking for a good alternative flea treatment at an affordable price for your cat or dog, the fipronil Frontline alternatives may be a good choice.
But remember that each pet is different and each pet needs its own health plan. While we all want to save money while keeping our pets healthy, we need to make sure that we are using the best flea treatment plant for them.
Just a few years ago, there were no effective flea treatments for pets that did not cost well over fifty dollars for even a three-dose box.
Thanks to patents expiring, good flea prevention and care is well within many different pet owners' reach and budgets.
What kind of flea product do you choose for your pet(s)?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Where do you buy Fipronil the generic Frontline alternative?
You can get it online or in grocery stores. I also have seen it in discount department stores like Walmart or Target. Check the ingredients. There are many generic versions these days.Helpful 3