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One of the most effective flea and tick control options on the market are Frontline and Advantage - topical "spot" medications that are used on your dog once per month. This type of treatment kills adult fleas and younger fleas or pupae during development.
It lasts between three and four weeks and is less toxic and more effective than most treatments available.
The pros for products like these are their effectiveness and ease of use.
Cons are that you can't bathe your dog for 2 days after treatment, they are not always effective for large dogs, and you should beware if you have small children. Make sure you apply the treatment far away from little hands and fingers!
Additionally, these treatments are not "repellants" so parasites will bite or attach before they die.
Actually, because frontline works in the oil glands beneath the skin as well as in the blood stream it kills fleas and ticks on contact. Also,when treating fleas only Frontline has been proven to last up to three months. As you mentioned there are some negative aspects to Frontline. For instance, as with most chemicals it should be handled with caution. As with any chemical that works in the blood stream it can also damage the liver over a period of time.