General Question

jca's avatar

Have you tried the Walmart "cheapo" version of Frontline, and if so, is it as effective on fleas as Frontline?

Asked by jca (36046points) August 25th, 2011

I see the ingredients in the Walmart version are exactly the same as the ingredients in Frontline. I love a bargain but when it comes to fleas, I feel it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Have you tried the Walmart version of Frontline, and if so, is it as good with killing fleas on your pets as Frontline?

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17 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I have not, but my parents have… and their indoor/outdoor cats are flea-free.

Buttonstc's avatar

I don’t know how much less the Walmart version is, but for something as persistent and pervasive as fleas with their many life cycle forms, I would be extremely reluctant to cheap out on this one.

It may be the same ingredient but is the concentration percentage of active ingredient be the same?

Is the dispersant solution the same? How could one tell?

In the world of human medicine, I’m aware that generic drugs are regulated by Federal law to be sure that the ingredient levels are the same. And most of the time this works fine.

However, I have read of cases where it’s not only the active ingredients which determine it’s effectiveness. There is also something known as bioavailability and dispersant rates which can vary significntly from onecompany’s formulation.

This has shown up specifically in some time release formulations and heart medications. In cases where a steady amount of medication in the body system is critical, only the brand name has the consistent effect needed.

I don’t know how much oversight there is for Veterinary medications.

From past personal experience with Frontline and several lengthy conversations with cust. svc. operators at the company, I know that aconsistent level of the ingredient for three months will eradicate all fleas in whichever cycle they are completely as long as it is applied once every 30 days. But you can’t let the intervals be longer than 30 days apart or you’re messing with the system and it gives the little buggers time to re over and regenerate.

In addition to using the Frontline, I also went over my cats with a fine toothed comb (LITERALLY) to see how many fleas I could remove from them.

What I noticed was that after 24–48 hours after starting each new dose, there was not a live flea to be found for at least a couple of weeks.

However, towards the end of each 30 day period I was getting more and more fleas with each combing. Granted, they were smaller and many in a less active (weakened) state.

But I didn’t need to be convinced to not let it go a longer interval a I did them a day of two early just to be on the safe side.

But because of the daily combing, I was able to see it with my own eyes. And three months later my kitties were totally flea free.

But this is for indoor only cats. There weren’t any new fleas from outside hopping on them. For cats who go outdoors at all, I guess one would have to dose them every 30 days until the first frost which would kill them off until next spring.

Personally, I would be reluctant to use a generic version unless the company making it could prove that it’s identical in EVERY WAY ( active and inactive ingredients with same concentration).

but I have a hunch they’d be unwilling (or unable) or both to do that :)

Companies are not eager to disclose their propietary formulas.

Jude's avatar

I read somewhere that it’s garbage. Stick with the Vet brand.

YARNLADY's avatar

As far as I can see, it’s only $10 cheaper for a 6 month supply. We use Advantage, which is the same price as WalMart PetArmor, and is recommended/sold by our vet.

creative1's avatar

@jca I would check with your vet, I have not personally tried the Walmart brand but I wouldn’t want to risk fleas for $10 pr month. Even if all ingrediants are the same except maybe 1 then it may not be effective. Did you compare the active ingrediant in both?? are they the same mg’s. Fleas are not something to fool around with

woodcutter's avatar

I get it for the dogs and the one cat who mostly stays outside. It seems to be as good as the brand name as in no profuse scratching. The vets are shills for the big brands and they get a cut for pushing them, as well as Science Diet foods. Nothing wrong with any of those brands and I’m sure they all want the best for pets but if a family has multiple critters at home it gets ridiculous trying to use the top brands. You don’t love your pets any less if you want to save some money.
It was a matter of time before something was done to get these products out because I feel Merial has been gouging people since day one. Apparently many others feel the same way. Now because there is competition prices will start to come down and the result is more pets are going to be protected.

spanishsnow's avatar

Our pets and house were flea infested for weeks. I believe we used a brand called Adams, which is relatively cheap and pretty effective, to treat and protect them. However, this brand (and I’m sure many others are this way, too) seem to have some harsh chemicals that make the dog have dry skin or start shedding, etc. I think it might be a better idea, if you have the time and patience, to check into natural flea remedies that would be safer (no need to “wash your hands” after applying). I read a great article in a recent Dog Fancy magazine that talked about this, and there are other books or articles out there that have similar suggestions.

I was also told to avoid using flea collars, as some of them can have side effects on dogs/cats.

If you happen to have fleas in/around your home, or on your pet, the best method is to treat everything at the same time. After you’ve removed all fleas from your home, isolate your pets in one area, so the fleas don’t spread to furniture or toys again (in fact it would be better to get rid of anything fabric that your pets, and therefore fleas, may have been in contact with).

gailcalled's avatar

The other important issue with Frontline for outdoor cats is the tick, curse him. The ticks are problems year-round and not just in the frost-free months.

Over a year, the cost of a trustworthy tick and flea prevention med. is peanuts…

Buttonstc's avatar

Another thought for those whose outdoor pets are in an enclosed yard.

There is a unique product with which you can treat your yard as well. I don’t know the brand name but you can Google it.

It uses nematodes which evidently come in dried form which you sprinkle all over the yard. They’re totally harmless to humans or pets but they love feasting on flea eggs and larvae.

It’s a totally natural remedy which really cuts down on outdoor flea populations.

I haven’t tried this personally since my cats are totally indoor only but from what I’ve read about it, it’s quite effective.

And it makes sense to me since it’s basically using predators of fleas found in nature anyway.

jca's avatar

I had the exterminator spray the yard. I hate doing that to the outdoors, but I was desperate, as I had fleas on the deck and in the basement and you all know what that means.

I have Frontline. The ads for the Walmart version list the exact same ingredients and percentages as Frontline.

Buttonstc's avatar


This is also the exact worst time of the year as fleas multiply rapidly in conditions of heat and higher humidity.

How many total pets do you have and are your cats outdoor/indoor?

jca's avatar

@Buttonstc: I have 3 cats and they are indoor/outdoor. I also have a small child. I had fleas four years ago, and had to hire an exterminator then. This time, I didn’t bother with the over-the-counter crap, as I knew that it was all a waste of money, and I went right for the exterminator. I also had to wash all the linens on the beds, etc. I got the Frontline and just put on the second dose. I think the fleas are pretty much gone now but next year I am putting the Frontline on as soon as it starts to get warm!

Buttonstc's avatar

So your cats aren’t necessarily confined to your own yard? That makes things much more difficult for you and nematodes for your yard are probably not worth it.

But you’re absolutely right about getting ahead of the situation and treating at the first warm weather instead of waiting until you come upon the first flea. By the time you see the first fleas, there’s already a huge population of them.

Have you also considered making them indoor only during the warmer months or there a reason why that might not be feasible? Since there arent any dogs involved, It would definitely save you some bucks, just to state the glaringly obvious :)

jca's avatar

@Buttonstc: I could except they really like going out, and they will sit by the door, cry and hit the door with their paws. It’s kind of pathetic (LOL).

Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah. I figured that idea wouldn’t pass muster with the kitties. After all, it’s their home; We just live in it :)

I’m glad that I’ve lived in areas where it wasn’t possible (for safety reasons) to allow them out. So, all of mine are indoor only and it sure makes life easier all around.

And in all these years, I only had one who dedicated her life to escape attempts (but she had already spent two years indoors in a small rural shelter with common rooms rather than cages so it’s not like she were used to being outdoors at all). But I lived in a city Apt. building so there was zero option for outdoors at all.

All the rest of my cats have been quite content with window shopping. It’s like TV for them and my current one really gets into it as her teeth chatter and she’s ready to pounce on all the birds and squirrels up in the trees. Even tho I’m no longer in the city now, the area here is rife with coyotes who would just love a tasty kitty sandwich for dinner and even my landlord stays close by when his little Shitzu does his business rather than letting him alone in the yard.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca That excuse doesn’t sit right with me. Who knows more about the dangers of the great outdoors, you or the cat? Who is more responsible for keeping them healthy, you or the cat? They will do the same thing on the outside wanting in, or in the bedroom wanting out/in – they always want somewhere they aren’t.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: I am the Doorman for the Cats. Actually the Doorwoman for the Cats. What I do is prop the door open when I’m home and they go in and out.

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