Advantage Spot-On


Liquid Spot-on

Active ingredient


Frequency of use

Every 4 weeks

Minimum age

8 weeks


Fleas (adults), fleas (immature), biting lice

What is Advantage?

Advantage is a brand name of the drug imidacloprid, manufactured by Elanco. It’s a topical flea treatment that comes in a small pipette ready to be applied to the back of a dog, cat, or rabbit’s neck, often known as a ‘spot on’. It treats fleas and biting lice for 4 weeks.

What does Advantage do?

The key active ingredient in Advantage is imidacloprid. Imidacloprid affects the nervous system of fleas, disrupting their ability to transmit nerve impulses. This leads to paralysis and, ultimately, the death of the fleas.
After application, imidacloprid is absorbed through the skin and enters your pet’s bloodstream. It is then distributed throughout your pet’s body. This provides a sustained release of imidacloprid, ensuring ongoing protection against fleas for four weeks.
When a flea bites, they ingest some imidacloprid, and are killed within 24 hours, before they can mate and lay eggs.

What is Advantage for?

Advantage is used to treat infestations of fleas on pets. It can also act as a preventative, by killing fleas picked up from the environment before they have time to breed. While biting lice infestations are fairly rare, Advantage can also treat these.

What are the possible side effects with Advantage?

Advantage is generally well-tolerated, but as with any medication, there can be potential side effects. Here’s a simple explanation of the possible side effects of Advantage:

  • Temporary Irritation at Application Site: Some pets may experience mild and temporary irritation at the application site. This can manifest as redness, itching, or a tingling sensation. 
  • Hair Loss at Application Site: In rare cases, there may be temporary hair loss at the application site. 
  • Hypersalivation (Excessive Drooling): Occasionally, pets may exhibit excessive drooling after application. It’s a temporary response to the taste of the medication, and is not because they have been poisoned by it.
  • Agitation, Incoordination and Tremors: These have been recorded rarely along with other nervous signs such as depression.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea: If dogs lick sufficient quantities of the product or if it is accidentally given orally then vomiting and diarrhoea may occur. 

How to give Advantage safely

  • Follow instructions carefully: Always use Advantage exactly as your vet has prescribed, or according to the instructions on the label. This includes the right dose and frequency.
  • Never split doses: Always use the right size for your pet. Never try to split a larger dose between several pets.
  • Check the species: Never give a dog dose to a cat, or vice versa. Not only will the dose be incorrect, but some common dog flea treatments are toxic to cats.
  • Storage and Handling: Store Advantage according to the instructions on the label, usually in a cool and dry place. Make sure it’s out of reach of children and pets.
  • Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Advantage, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They will calculate whether the overdose is likely to cause a problem and inform you of next steps.
  • Apply to back of neck: The product needs to be placed high enough that the dog cannot lick it off. The back of the neck is usually the best place, a little higher than the shoulder blades. In larger dogs, it’s recommended to split the dose down the back line – dogs will need to be prevented from licking until the treatment is dry. 
  • Don’t apply too much in one spot: If you apply too much product in one location it may spill over, dripping down your pet and increasing the chance of ingestion. If necessary, continue applying the second half of the dose in a new spot.
  • Do not allow your pet to swim: Imidacloprid is damaging to aquatic organisms. Your pet should not be allowed to swim for at least 48 hours after having Advantage applied. 
  • Do not bathe your dog frequently during treatment: While one bath has been demonstrated not to stop Advantage from working, frequent bathing is likely to cause the treatment to fail.
  • Take care with furniture: This product may stain materials including leather, plastics, and fabrics. Do not allow pets to come into contact with these surfaces until the product is dry.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after application: Some people are sensitive to the product. Washing hands after use should help reduce accidental absorption and sensitivity. 

Advantage FAQs

How often should I apply Advantage to my pet?

Advantage should be applied to pets every four weeks. If there is an infestation, fleas can still develop for 12 weeks after treatment starts, so repeat treatment is necessary.

Can I use Advantage on my puppy or kitten?

Advantage is not suitable for puppies or kittens under 8 weeks of age. You should have an accurate weight for your pet in order to get the correct dose. 

Is Advantage safe for pregnant or nursing pets?

Advantage is not licensed for use in pregnant or nursing pets as the studies are too limited. However, the manufacturer states that evidence so far suggests there is unlikely to be an increased risk of side effects in pregnant or nursing pets or their young.

Can I use Advantage if my pet has sensitive skin?

It is possible for pets to be sensitive to Advantage, and the drug should not be used if pets have a known hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients in advantage. If your pet generally has sensitive skin but isn’t known to be sensitive to the ingredients in Advantage you could apply it and see, or ask your vet for an oral product instead.

How long does it take for Advantage to start working?

Fleas are killed within one day after starting treatment. In case of a flea infestation, repeat applications every 4 weeks for at least 12 weeks is likely to be required to prevent a new infestation starting from immature fleas.

Can I bathe my pet after applying Advantage?

It’s not a good idea to bathe your pet within 48 hours of applying Advantage. After this, a quick bath is unlikely to severely reduce efficacy, but if several baths are needed it’s best to move to an oral flea treatment like Bravecto or Credelio – your vet can recommend one for you.

Is Advantage effective against ticks and other parasites?

Advantage is only effective against fleas and biting lice, it does not kill ticks or other parasites.

Advantage Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Advantage box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

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Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.