What is the difference between frontline plus and frontline gold?

Ah, the eternal question – what is the difference between Frontline Plus and Frontline Gold? While both of these popular flea and tick preventatives are made by Merial, they do have some key differences that may sway you one way or the other. So without further ado, let’s break it down.

What is Frontline?

Before we dive into comparing these two products, let’s take a moment to talk about what exactly Frontline is. Essentially, it’s a topical solution that you apply directly onto your pet’s skin to kill fleas and ticks.

If you’re not familiar with how this type of preventative works (shame!), here’s a brief overview: when an insect comes into contact with your pet after being treated with frontline (the contact can be as simple as just sitting on them), the medication will get absorbed through their exoskeleton and cause fatal nerve damage to those unwanted pests.

Now that we’ve got our basic understanding in place (woohoo knowledge!), let’s move onto the real battle at hand: which version reigns supreme?

The Basics

First things first – before getting too deep into specific differences, let’s review some similarities between these two options:

  • They’re both designed for dogs over 8 weeks old
  • They’re available in different sizes based on weight
  • Both are waterproof

Seems like a bit of a wash so far right? Let’s start breaking down where these treatments differ!

Active Ingredients

The most significant difference between Frontline Plus versus Frontline Gold lies in their active ingredients.

Front Line Plus Details

  • Fipronil
  • S-methoprene

Fipronil targets adult fleas while s-methoprene acts like birth control by preventing new offspring from maturing. By interrupting the flea’s lifecycle, it helps avoid infestations in your home or on your furry friends.

Front Line Gold Details

  • Fipronil
  • Methoprene
  • Pyriproxifen

All three of these ingredients work together to stop fleas and ticks before they have a chance to even jump onto your dog. While methoprene does the same job as s-methoprene in Frontline Plus, pyriproxyfen is an additional insect growth regulator that specifically targets certain tick species such as brown dog ticks and lone star ticks (among others).

Flea vs Tick Treatment

While we’ve talked about how both products are effective against fleas and ticks (booo parasites!), there is actually a small difference here between Frontline Plus versus Frontline Gold when it comes to treating those pesky bloodsuckers:

  • Frontline Plus: kills adult fleas +/- eggs/larvae plus all stages of four major tick species, including black-legged (Deer Tick) Ixodes scapularis, American Dog Tick Dermacentor variabilis, Brown Dog Tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Lone Star Tick Amblyomma americanum
  • Frontline Gold: Kills adult fleas +/- eggs/larvae plus all life cycles including Rhipicephalus sanguineus which carries canine ehrlichiosis bacteria; Haemaphysalis leachi hook-like mouthparts can irritate skin; Ixodes holocyclus paralysis tick native only to Australia

So if you’re worried about any of those specific pests for whatever reason (because let’s face it – no one wants their precious pupper getting #infested), then you’ll want to take note!


One important aspect where these two treatments differ is in their application process. Let’s take a look:

Frontline Plus

Frontline Plus uses a single spot application for each dose. The dosage amount depends on the weight of your furry little friend so be sure to read up before applying!

  1. Find an area between the shoulder blades free from hair and dirt.
  2. Using the applicator tip, part your pets fur at this location and apply directly on their skin in one continuous motion
  3. Wait 24 hours before bathing or letting them swim

Frontline Gold

So what’s different about its cousin – Frontline gold? Here’s how applying it differs:

Frontline Gold is also applied with a spot treatment but includes three separate doses piped out for easier application (One per tube). Splitting them into equal parts allows you to more easily smear that sweet medicine across your doggo.

  1. First things first! Identify if Onyx or Jade is best matched with Fido based on their measurements #specificscountfolks
  2. Peel off the lid of individual tubes, holding upright snap off cap
  3. Apply each tube right on top of last month’s treatment, working quickly while being careful not to get it on yourself…or else risk looking like you have fleas 😉
    4.Wait 24 hours before your pup goes full Michael Phelps again

Price Difference

Ok budget-conscious shoppers, let’s talk price differences between these two treatments (hear that penny pinchers!) When comparing costs online here are some general notes:

  • For dogs weighing 23-44lbs, expect ~$60-$66 per three pack FRONTLINE GOLD vs $45-$51 for FRONTLINE PLUS
  • Dogs over X lbs need heavier dosages = price difference may increase accordingly

Basically what we’re saying here is don’t just assume products within a product line cost exactly the same (their mama raised them better than that!)

Other Considerations?

Whew, we’ve covered a lot so what could there possibly be left? Wellll here are just a couple more random things to consider:

Frontline Gold and Its Resistance Protection

Ooooh that fancy name! So you might ask “Does it really work or is this another marketing ploy?” (my gullible heart wants to believe #shame). According to Merial, ticks actually develop resistance rather quickly especially in areas where specific species abound.

Hence why FRONTLINE GOLD employs more active ingredients – ranging from 40%-70% based on whether pyriproxyfen or methoprene dominates.

What type of protection does frontline Plus offer against developing resistance? Honestly…none.

Let’s Sum Up Our Comparison

So when all is said and done, the most significant benefits of Front Line Gold compared to its predecessor boil down those three additional key benefits as described earlier:
Pyriproxifen inclusion kills select tick types
Methoprene increases flea birth control effects over s-Methoprene found in legacy design
Multipronged defense against pests thus less developmentally prone for external parasite kryponite

Overall though both treatments generally seem very effective – FYI even vets have been observed using these products on their pets! Hopefully our little guide helps make the decision making process a bit easier.

Good luck picking between these two haymakers (now go forth my fellow pet lovers and help us rid society of these bloodsucking menaces once and for all!)

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