How to Apply Frontline

Three Parts:Applying the First DoseCaring for Your Pet AfterwardsTaking Safety Precautions

Fleas and ticks plague pets and their owners every summer and, in some places, all year-round. They carry diseases and make life uncomfortable for dogs and cats. An infestation in the home can also occur if the problem is left unchecked and fleas are allowed to multiply. A flea and tick medication called Frontline has been successful in killing these pests at all stages of life. You can apply Frontline to cats and dogs to prevent or treat a flea infestation.

Part 1
Applying the First Dose

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    Buy the correct type of Frontline. You can purchase Frontline at a pet store or your vet's office. You also may be able to get Frontline at some drug stores, like Walgreens. It's a good idea to buy Frontline from a vet, however, as a veterinarian can a make sure you get the right product.[1]
    • Frontline makes flea and tick treatments for dogs as well as cats. Make sure you use the medication designed for your pet.
    • The dosages are sold according to the weight of the pet. Check the weight recommendations on the package and get a dosage appropriate for your pet's weight.
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    Remove the applicators. Frontline comes with several small plastic applicators. They look something like little bottles. Each applicator contains a single dose of Frontline.[2]
    • There are perforated lines between each applicator. You can separate the applicators by tearing or cutting along the perforated line.
    • Be careful when separating the applicators. You want to make sure you do not tear an applicator and spill a dosage of Frontline.
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    Snap off the opening of the applicator. Each applicator has a small tip that you can easily snap off. You must snap off the tip prior to applying Frontline to your dog or cat.[3]
    • Make sure to do this away from your face to avoid getting the chemicals in your eyes.
    • If the tip does not come off easily, you can use scissors to cut it off.
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    Find a spot on your pet's back. You should apply Frontline on your pet's back, directly between your pet's shoulders. Frontline is safe to use on a pet's skin, but should not be ingested by the pet. Your pet will be unable to reach this are, preventing them from licking Frontline off.[4]
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    Apply the Frontline to your pet's skin. Part your pet's fur so you can see its skin. This is very important. To work effectively, Frontline must be absorbed into your pet's skin. It must make direct contact with the skin, and not the fur, to do so.[5]
    • Place the tip of the applicator onto your pet's skin.
    • Squeeze the vial and empty all of the liquid onto your pet's skin. Try to avoid getting any liquid on your pet's hair.

Part 2
Caring for Your Pet Afterwards

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    Allow the medication to be absorbed on its own. Avoid rubbing the liquid in or spreading it around. It will absorb quickly on its own. You can let your pet go shortly after applying Frontline.[6]
    • If you get any Frontline on your hands, quickly wash your hands in soap and water.
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    Keep your pet dry for 48 hours. You want to make sure Frontline is adequately absorbed into your pet's skin. Water can drain the oils from your pet's skin that are necessary to spread Frontline. Your pet should not get wet for 48 hours after you apply Frontline.[7]
    • Do not bathe your pet after applying Frontline. Frontline should be effective on its own to treat fleas and ticks. A flea bath or dip is not necessary.
    • Do not let your cat or dog swim for 48 hours after applying Frontline.
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    Reapply Frontline as necessary. Frontline is effective for 8 weeks for dogs, and 6 weeks for cats. Mark on your calendar when you applied Frontline. Reapply Frontline at the 6 or 8 week mark.[8]
    • It's important to reapply Frontline regularly. Even if an infestation has cleared up, fleas and flea larvae may be present in your home. You want to make sure your cat or dog is continually protected from fleas and ticks.

Part 3
Taking Safety Precautions

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    Read all of the instructions and warnings. This is a good precaution with any medication. You should not apply Frontline before reading the instructions manual.
    • If your pet has any underlying health concerns, you should talk to a vet in addition to reading the instructions manual.
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    Make sure you use the correct type of Frontline for your pet. Frontline for dogs and cats are not the same product. Many people think they can be used interchangeably, but this is not the case. Make sure you do not use Frontline for dogs on cats or vice versa.[9]
    • If you accidentally used Frontline on the wrong type of pet, contact your vet immediately. Your pet could have an adverse reaction.
    • If you want a product that can be used on both cats and dogs, look into Frontline spray.
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    Do not share applicators. Each applicator contains a single dose of Frontline. You should not share applicators between pets. If you do so, neither pet will get a full dose. This can prevent the product from working effectively.[10]


  • If bathe your pet before or after the Frontline application, make sure not to use a flea or tick shampoo. Mixing and overuse of chemicals could cause a toxic reaction.
  • Avoid bathing your pet prior to applying Frontline. Your pet has a natural oil in its coat that must be present to help with the absorption and distribution of the medication.

Article Info

Categories: Canine Health