Flea & Tick Products Could Be Harmful To Fido

April 20, 2010

By John Newcomer:

The “spot on” product used to control fleas and ticks is a miracle for most pet owners. A once a month application to Fido and fleas and ticks are gone.  No more dips, sprays, and frustrations.

One wee problem.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noticed a significant increase in adverse incidents and launched an investigation. Yes, the EPA is responsible for assuring that pesticides do not cause unreasonable risk, and flea products are a pesticide. The adverse incidents ranged from mild skin irritation in pets to death.

More is Not Better

The EPA did not single out any one manufacturer, but rather lumped all “spot on” flea products together.  The problem was not the product itself, but primarily a labeling and instruction issue.

The most affected dogs were the small breeds–Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus,Dachshunds, and Bichon Frise. But all breeds were affected. Cats, in particular, had severe adverse reactions.

Careful Not to Mix Up Products

The problem is pet owners put too much product on Fido (more is not always better—sometimes it is fatal).  This is why small dogs are more affected by the product.  Also, be careful to use the product for your type of pet.  “Spot on” flea control for dogs is not appropriate for cats!  Whiskers will have a serious reaction to Fido’s flea product.  You need to check the label. Cat and dog products are NOT inter-changeable.

Better Labeling Needed

The EPA will soon require improved labeling; clearer instructions to ensure proper dosage per pet weight; and clearer marking to differentiate between dog and cat products.

Bottom line – the miracle product that keeps Fido and your home free of fleas is safe.  You just have to be careful, and read the instructions.  Misuse of this product can and will make Fido and Whiskers very sick.