Advantage and K9 Advantix

- Flea control with imidacloprid -

Summary: Advantage (tm) and K9 Advantix are a spot-on flea control medications. Advantage can be used on both dogs and cats but K9 Advantix (tm) adds permethrin to the ingredient in Advantage to control ticks and mosquitoes in addition to fleas so should not be used on cats.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

What are Advantage and K9 Advantix?

Advantage and K9 Advantix are spot-on flea control medications for dogs (Advantage or K9 Advantix) and cats (Advantage only). Both are very effective topical medications for fleas. Both use the active ingredient imidacloprid to control fleas while K9 Advantix adds permethrin to control ticks as well. K9 Advantix should not be used on cats (or even in households with cats) because permethrin is toxic to cats.

Both products come in small, measured-dose applicators where the amount of liquid is matched to the weight of the animal. Four dosage levels are available for dogs, two levels for cats and kittens. Once applied the insecticide quickly spreads over the skin providing protection from bites for at least a month.

Advantage and K9 Advantix control  fleas
Adult cat fleas (1/5"-1/10") move between the host animal and "nest".

Applying Advantage or K9 Advantix

Be careful to apply the liquid to the pet's skin not to the fur; see How to Apply Spot-on Flea Control. Also, please read over the General Information and Precautions before using any of the flea control products.

Imidacloprid, the active ingredient in Advantage and K9 Advantix, is not readily absorbed through skin so there is less chance of side effects compared to systemic flea control medications. Package instructions say that monthly applications are allowed; however, unless fleas are frequently re-introduced into the pet's environment monthly applications probably are not needed. Re-apply only when fleas, "flea-dirt" or ticks (in the case of K9 Advantix) are found.

Does K9 Advantix protect against heartworm?

Yes, but...If you live where heartworm has been reported your pets should be protected from this serious, often fatal, parasitic infection (see What is Heartworm?). Even though heartworm is transmitted by mosquito bites we believe that systemic heartworm medications like Heartgard are better protection than topically-applied mosquito repellents such as K9 Advantix.

Advantage and K9 Advantix are available without a prescription from your local veterinarian clinic and online (see below). Online sources generally are less expensive than vet clinics. Be sure to order the dosage level that closely matches your pet's weight. If you decide to use Advantage you'll probably also want to use a flea and tick collar for protection against ticks.

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