Bravecto vs Frontline: Our 2019 In-Depth Comparison

This one is a competition between a chewable and a spot-on treatment. The chemical compounds are different, but the real test is not just which compound, but which method, is going to give you and your pet the most relief.

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Bravecto is a once quarterly treatment for fleas and ticks that dogs take in a tasty chewable. Frontline is a topical, once-monthly treatment. Let’s find out if a Bravecto prescription is worth all the hassle and hype or if Frontline’s tried and true method is going to be the best path of treatment for your furry companion.

Which is Better Bravecto or Frontline for Dogs?

Bravecto’s method has the edge over Frontline. Preliminary studies have shown it to be more effective for keeping fleas at bay and marginally more effective for ticks. The technique requires little work and protects your dog for up to three months at a time.

Unless your dog has specific stomach issues that make it hard to give medication or treatments for things internally, or you aren’t able to get a prescription at this time, Bravecto is going to offer better coverage for longer at a comparable price.

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Which is Better Bravecto or Frontline for Cats?

Cats don’t have a chewable from Bravecto. Instead, it’s also a spot-on treatment. Since that’s not an issue, we are just considering the ingredients.

Bravecto isn’t waterproof like Frontline, and the safety for pregnant or nursing cats hasn’t been established. However, its effectiveness has a slight edge over Frontline for three months. You’ll still have to apply Frontline once a month.

Unless your cat is an outdoor cat (and needs something waterproof) or your cat is pregnant/nursing, Bravecto is still going to be a better option overall. It’s more expensive and will still require a prescription, but the coverage for indoor cats is superior.

Plus, it lasts longer, which will save you money on trips to the emergency room when your cat tries to claw your eyes out for daring to make its existence better (ahem).

Our Review of Bravecto and Frontline

For the most part, we’re looking at the individual ingredients and for dogs, the method of application. Cats have the same spot-on treatment and will depend on the cat’s living conditions before we make a decision there.

Key Differences Between Bravecto and Frontline

And now for the good stuff. Both Bravecto and Frontline use a neurotoxin, but they’re different ones with different types of efficacy and delivery. Let’s break all that down to help you decide.

Method of Delivery

Bravecto is a once quarterly chewable that comes in a tasty beef flavor for your dog. It’s intended to mimic an awesome treat instead of forcing a pill down your pet’s throat.

Frontline uses a tried and true “spot on” treatment method. Using a convenient applicator, you gently part the hair in a line down your pet’s back and distribute the liquid. It gently rubs into the skin where the natural oils of the coat help distribute it throughout your pet’s coat.

Both methods are waterproof and begin to kill fleas and ticks within hours. For cats, the spot-on treatment isn’t as water resistant as Frontline’s. However, for indoor cats, Bravecto’s treatment is still a three-month preventative. You don’t have as many times to fight with your cat about the application if your cat isn’t a fan of spot-on treatments.

Availability

Frontline requires no prescription and is widely available in different strengths based on your pet’s weight. You can find it in most stores, including big box stores with a pet section. The downside is that you may not have the oversight of a veterinarian in case things go wrong.

If this is the first time you’ve thought about a flea and tick treatment, you may want to check with your veterinarian anyway to make sure that things go well.

Bravecto isn’t quite as common to find. It requires a prescription, so you’ll have to present proof to the supplier to get it. You can’t usually find it in big box stores at all, making the internet your true friend here.

Price

For Dogs, Bravecto’s three-month pill and a six-month supply of Frontline is pretty comparable in price. Plus, when you add in the visit to the vet for the prescription, that makes Bravecto a more expensive overall. That gap closes a little depending on the category of Frontline, however.

Bravecto and Frontline Active Ingredients Comparison

Both use pesticides considered neurotoxins. These affect the insect’s nervous system, but not your pet’s.

Bravecto: Fluralaner

Fluralaner is a newer class of pesticide that works quickly to interrupt the nervous system of the flea, preventing it from completing the reproductive cycle and causing death. It begins to work within hours of the dose, and within eight hours, 100% of fleas are dead.

It doesn’t repel fleas because of its internal use. If you’ve got fleas in your yard, you may want to treat the yard to prevent fleas from attaching to your dog and causing irritation before succumbing to the neurotoxin.

Frontline: Fipronil

Fipronil is another type of neurotoxin, but its effects are the same. It interrupts the breeding cycle of the flea and kills both eggs and larva until the flea population is gone. It goes one step further to repel fleas and ticks, so your dog can find relief even if you have a problem in your yard. It begins to work within hours, and you should see a noticeable reduction in fleas within the first 12 hours. It requires monthly applications to maintain efficacy.

Which Treatment is the Best Priced?

Overall, Frontline is better priced. You don’t need a prescription, and you can find it just about anywhere. It’s roughly $20 or more cheaper than comparable Bravecto dosages.

As far as value, Bravecto’s ability to work consistently from the inside plus the regular supervision of your veterinarian makes it a better value despite being more expensive. Plus, Bravecto has a slight edge in preventing fleas from returning over Frontline. We think the extra is worth it.

Which Do We Recommend?

We recommend Bravecto wholeheartedly because it’s easy, fast, and extremely effective against most flea and tick infestations. You won’t have to fight with your dog to get the dose applied, and you won’t have to keep your dog’s away from each other or your children while you’re waiting on the treatment to absorb. One and done for three months.

If your pet is pregnant or nursing, switch to Frontline until you can go back to Bravecto. For cats, if your cat is exclusively an outdoor kitty, Frontline’s water resistance is better. Aside from these two cases, Bravecto is the better choice for cats.

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7 Treatment Application Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re administering either of these treatments.

For Dogs:

  1. If your dog hates to take even the Bravecto chewable, it can help to sandwich the dose in between treats it loves. Take one treat and give it to your dog while allowing it to smell the other treat. Quickly give your dog the Bravecto chewable and then present the good treat right away. Your dog should take the Bravecto chewable in anticipation of getting another favorite treat.
  2. For spot-on treatments like Frontline, make sure you get all of your dog’s energy out by playing a favorite game or going on an extra-long walk. When your dog is calm (or sleepy), it can make it a lot easier to apply the solution without getting it all over everything. It also makes it easier to keep dogs apart after the treatment if they aren’t trying to play once you’ve gotten them treated.
  3. Check each time for new sensitivities either to the chewable or the spot on treatment. Even if you’ve given the treatment before, it’s always possible for your dog’s aging, environmental changes, or other issues to crop up causing problems with the treatment. While usually not cause for concern, it may need a quick look from the veterinarian.

For Cats:

  1. Cats are tricky. To successfully apply a spot on treatment, your cat may need to have expended all its energy and be ready to rest. Depending on your cat’s personality, you may want to play a game with your cat or take your cat on a walk. When your cat is ready to relax, gently stroking your cat with one hand and parting the hair can help get the treatment on before your cat has had enough.
  2. Cats are sometimes calmer if they can’t see. You can purchase a “kitty muzzle,” something that fits over your cat’s eyes without blocking breathing. Once your cat is calm, you can apply the treatment and allow it to absorb for a few minutes before removing the blindfold and allowing your at to resume its day.
  3. Outdoor cats may be especially tricky. It can help to apply the solution as best you can and then supplementing with a basic flea collar to help keep any other fleas or ticks at bay. Even if you can’t quite get the dosage on fully, the collar can be your back up system.
  4. Indoor cats will still need some kind of treatment. It’s vital that you treat your cats for both fleas and ticks even if the cat never goes outside. Fleas and ticks can still find their way into your home by hitching a ride, and you could be looking at an infestation before you even realize what’s happening. Work with your veterinarian for the best solution to your indoor cat’s treatment plan, so you head off problems before they ever start.

Final Thoughts

Making sure your furry companions are protected from biting insects such as fleas and ticks isn’t just about itching. It’s about staving off diseases those insects may be carrying. Even indoor pets aren’t 100% safe from these because you’re in danger of bringing pests into your home just by existing outside.

A suitable treatment plan marries efficiency with ease. Bravecto’s chewable for dogs is one of our favorite solutions for biting insects because we don’t have to plead with our pet or trick it to treat it. We almost look like the good guy by giving them a treat (that just so happens to contain the proper amount of flea and tick medication!) It’s a slam dunk.

Be sure you watch your pet if this is the first time they’ve ever taken a chewable flea and tick preventative, but most pets should be fine. There should be plenty of water available regardless.

So, tell us. How are you handling treating your cats for fleas and ticks? If you’ve got tips to make the process easier, let us know in the comments below.

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Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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