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How to Properly Apply Topical Flea/Tick Medication (Like Frontline Plus)

Posted by Jeff Saporito on

Our veterinarians always talk to their clients about flea and tick prevention. It's one of the few things that every single dog and cat needs as part of their life. Preventing your pet from getting fleas and ticks is simple - getting rid of them after they've already infested your animal is much harder. It's best to keep fleas at bay before they get the chance to attack. Fleas multiply exponentially on your pet.

While new orally-administered chewable flea medications like Nexgard are easy to give and super effective, they're also more costly than the topical liquid preventatives many people are used to using. Their good side is you don't run the risk of mis-dosing the medication. Topical products like Frontline Plus or Advantage II need to be applied properly, or the entire dose could be absorbed into the dog's hair, which won't do anything to help the animal. That said, it's not too hard to apply topical flea medications properly.

For this example, we'll refer to the specific packaging of Frontline Plus. Other topical medications have basically the same packaging.

1. Remove the applicator from its foil packaging.

2. Open the applicator by snapping off the tip.

3. Part your pet's hair between the shoulder blades. Ensuring you can reach your pet's skin is crucial. If you simply apply the medication all over their hair, it's not going to do anything. It needs to soak into the skin. Some dogs' hair is more complicated to part than others. It's never a bad idea to have a second person use both hands to part the animal's hair while you apply the medication, to ensure it stays parted.

4. Place the applicator tip above the skin and squeeze. Apply the entire contents.

5. Don't touch the area until it's dry, and keep the animal away from children who may come in contact with the product until it's all soaked in.

That's all it takes. The reason for applying the product between the shoulder blades is because the animal can't lick that area. It's best to wait at least 24 hours before bathing the animal or letting it get wet. That will ensure the product is completely absorbed.

Some pets may run around and get excited in an attempt to try and get the medication off their body. That's normal and doesn't last. If you have any questions about the product or any concerns after administering it, contact your veterinarian, as always.

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