Can I Wash my Dog If He’s on Frontline or K9 Advantix?

You’ve just given Rex his monthly flea and tick treatment, and now he’s come in from the garden looking like he’s found the biggest and best mud pool in town. He may be overjoyed but you’re not. He needs a bath NOW! But will a bath wash away his flea treatment?

It’s a common question and given the expense of monthly applications of Frontline or Advantage, you don’t want to apply any more than is necessary. So what should you do?

According to the manufacturers’ instructions, you should wait for 48 hours after applying Frontline or Advantage before bathing your dog. The main ingredient in Frontline, fipronil, stores itself in the dog’s oil glands, reapplying itself constantly through the hair follicles. Meanwhile, Advantage’s main ingredient is imidacloprid, which coats the skin.

Although both claim to be waterproof, some dog owners have found that the treatments do seem to be less effective after bathing. Regular washing with medicated or flea shampoos can dry the skin, making flea treatments weaker and less likely to work. There’s also the problem that many commercial flea shampoos contain harsh chemicals. Do you really want to apply those on top of the regular monthly treatment? One alternative is to use a natural shampoo after flea treatment applications; a gentle shampoo (like Comfy Dog Oatmeal Shampoo) can help moisturize the skin while cleansing.

Or perhaps you want to consider a switch from chemical flea and tick treatments to something more earth friendly. Most natural products can be used on their own, or as a complement to Frontline and Advantage.

Some natural alternatives to try include:

    • Garlic and brewer’s yeast tablets. Added to your dog’s food, or given as a daily treat, these are full of nutrients to help improve your dog’s skin and coat, plus you have the added bonus of repelling fleas and ticks. The scent of the garlic and yeast is secreted through the skin, keeping those pesky bugs away.
  • Some essential oils are great at repelling fleas. Since essential oils can cause irritation when applied directly to the skin, I prefer to add a few dabs to my dog’s collar, or add a few drops to a small spray bottle of water and apply a few squirts over their coat. Cedar, lavender, citronella, and rosemary oils all work well and have helped keep my pets tick free.
  • Flea the Scene offers the best of all things: essential oils that both repel fleas and soothe the skin, a range of emollients to moisturize the skin, and a sunscreen to offer protection from the rays. It can be used with or instead of a medical flea and tick application. What’s more, it’s safe for humans too so I can simply give us all a quick spray before we head off to the park. No bugs, no sunburn, and we all smell great!

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  1. I will look in to some of the alternatives you suggest.

    It is an expensive business buying the tick/flea treatments for three Dogs!

  2. Very useful and great information. I have a dog with dry skin. Everything I have tried so far has not helped. I am going to try out what you have suggested. Thanks for the help

    1. Grain-Free dog food has helped with our dogs ear infections and scratching.

  3. Also, if you notice that your older dog now has an issue with fleas and has sores or “hot spots” it could mean there overall health is declining. Use straight apple cider vinegar on the hot spots or irritated skin. It will clear the area in about 24 hours and new hair growth will return in a week or so. Start giving brewers yeast daily and buy a good topical flea med. Dog will feel and look great in a couple of weeks. Worked a miracle on my old dog as I thought he was dying he look so bad, now a year later he looks like a new dog and he is almost ten!

    1. Hi JPS,

      You are correct that garlic and onions may be harmful to dogs, HOWEVER, the toxicity revolves around the dosage given.

      The ASPCA states: “While it’s uncommon for dogs to eat enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of toxicosis.”

      The key to supplementation for any dog is knowing the proper dosage. Any pet parent should check with their veterinarian to determine correct dosage before giving supplements. And, in this case, raw garlic is recommended, NOT garlic powder which is highly concentrated.

      According to “The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Pitcairn, a nationally-recognized expert on holistic care, this raw dosage can be given daily without harming the animal:

      10 to 15 pounds: 1/2 clove

      20 to 40 pounds: 1 clove

      45 to 70 pounds: 2 cloves

      75 to 90 pounds: 2-1/2 cloves

      100 pounds +: 3 cloves

      Again, one should check with their pet’s veterinarian before beginning any new supplementation.

      I hope this helps.

      Cate RVT

  4. i’m not sure i would go with garlic for my dog! that’s a strong smell to have around

  5. My friend has a dog which he put one application of Bob martin ‘spot on’ two weeks ago. Since then the dog has been in the sea a few times and now the fleas are back just as before. I advised him to buy some front line drops and put them on the dog now. He says he won’t because it might cause a reaction with the other drops he put on over two weeks ago. Is that likely to happen?

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