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. If you would like to know why we haven’t included over the counter products (as would be sold in a grocery or pet supply store), click here. Because there are 14 different products compared in 16 different categories, we have split up the information into 4 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)

Bravecto

Fluralaner

none

Dog

6 months and 4 lbs

Waterproof

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

Bravecto

Yes

88% in 4 hours,
100% in 12 hours

Ticks

12 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

Bravecto

Oral

Prescription Drug

Dermal LD50: >2000 mg/kg (rat),
Oral LD50: >2000 mg/kg (rat)

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

Bravecto

2014

Merck
Animal Health

bravecto.com

none

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

  • As of spring 2011, Pfizer has discontinued the manufacture of Promeris (active ingredients: mitraz and metaflumizone)
  • * 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.

    Page last updated: 3/30/2014