PestiBytes Episode 16: Precautions for Using Spot-on Flea and Tick Products
Dr. Dave Stone, Director of the National Pesticide Information Center
Sandra Uesugi, EHSC Outreach Program Coordinator
Veterinarian Dr. Fred Berman DVM, PhD, Director of the CROET Toxicology Information Center
Welcome to PestiBytes, a podcast series from the National Pesticide Information Center. These are based on common pesticide questions from people just like you.
Hi, this is Sandra, and I'm here with veterinarian Fred Berman to talk about "spot-on" pesticides for fleas and ticks. Dr. Berman, are spot-on products completely safe to use on our pets?
Any flea and tick control product has some risk. They can be hazardous, especially if used inappropriately. It is very important to read the package label and closely follow the application instructions to minimize any potential risks to your health and the health of your pets.
What are specific hazards that pet owners should be careful to avoid?
First, when treating cats, check to be sure that the product is specifically labeled for use on cats. Never treat a cat with a spot-on product labeled for use on dogs. Second, be careful to match the dose size to the weight of your pet. You must accurately weigh your pet and use only the product listing your pet's weight on its label. Don't try splitting a larger-size dose package to treat several smaller pets. It is impossible to provide an accurate dose and you could injure one or more of your pets.
What about protecting people?
Keep children, as well as yourself, from touching the treated area on your pet until the area is dry, which usually takes about 24 hours. During this time, it is also a good idea to separate multiple pets to prevent them from grooming or contacting each other and possibly eating the flea and tick product.
Any other important things for pet owners to know?
Yes, some pets may be at increased risk for adverse effects from treatment. These include weak, older, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, and pets that are being treated with other medications. You should consult your veterinarian when considering treating these animals. Also, keep in mind that no flea treatment is risk free, even for healthy pets. Be alert for potential problems, such as skin irritation, reddening or hair loss at the treatment site, or signs of illness. If you see any of these, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Thank you, Dr. Berman.
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Last updated May 10, 2011