Advantix® for dogs is a commercial pesticide most commonly used to treat flea and tick infestations. It also can be used to treat chewing lice, mosquitoes, and biting flies, but some care should be taken when using it. Though the main active ingredients in Advantix® are considered safe if applied properly, they do have risks associated with them. It is not recommended that puppies under seven weeks old receive Advantix® for dogs, nor should adult animals that weigh less than 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms).
One of the two active chemicals in Advantix® for dogs is Imidacloprid, usually at 8.8% by volume. Imidacloprid is an insecticide that functions similar to nicotine. It is a chemical toxin for a wide variety of insects, with low risk to animals and people. Imidacloprid is also used against many crop pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, and beetles. Advantix®, therefore, offers protection to dogs from any of these types of insects as well.
Permethrin is the main active chemical in Advantix® for dogs, at 44.0% by volume. This chemical functions as a neurotoxin, and it is not known to be harmful to birds or mammals in small amounts, but it is highly toxic to both cats and fish. If accidentally given to a cat as a flea treatment, the cat will most likely die. However, studies where a cat and dog live together in close proximity, where the dog was treated with Advantix® for dogs, show no discernible toxicity passing to the cat. It is strongly advised that the dog be isolated from the cat for several hours after treatment to prevent the risk of cross contamination.
Due to permethrin’s strong effects, it is used to treat many pests in agriculture and forestry. It is even used as a protective measure in military uniforms and mosquito nets. Therefore, using Advantix® for dogs with permethrin will effectively treat any other type of insect irritation the dog is suffering from indoors, and also those encountered in nature. Tick infestations on the dog before treatment, which are some of the hardest of insects to kill, will die within 12 hours.
As it is known to have some neurological side-effects, care should be taken with prolonged use of permethrin. If the dog displays itching, biting, muscle twitching, or irritation of the area where Advantix® for dogs was applied, it is a good idea to stop using it and consult a veterinarian. Other flea treatments that do not contain permethrin can be substituted. Though Advantix® for dogs is a very effective dog medication, excessive exposure to the chemical has been shown to pose health risks to mammals.