Safely Using Flea and Tick Products

Fleas and ticks are a nuisance to pets and their owners. This can be especially true in Florida where warm temperatures keep fleas around for most of the year. In addition to being a nuisance, fleas and ticks can be a health risk to your pet. Fleas can cause worm infestations and ticks can carry disease. When animals are repeatedly bit by fleas, they may develop anemia or flea dermatitis.

Flea and tick products can be a life saver when it comes to keeping your pet’s critter free. There are so many available products; it can be hard to know what to use or how to use it. Products include pills sold through your veterinarian, collars, shampoo, spot on treatments, powders and more. It is important to be informed about your options when it comes to flea prevention and treatment as these products can be poison to your pet if not used correctly. Following are some tips on how to safely treat your pets.

  • Do not use a product meant for dogs on your cat or a product meant for cats on your dog.
  • Be sure you know the weight of your pet before giving flea and tick medication as dosing is usually according to weight.
  • Never use a product containing Permethrin on cats. While your dog can handle this, it is toxic to your cat! All products containing Permethrin should be labeled “for dogs only.” This is why it is important to read all labels carefully and call the product manufacturer if you have any questions.
  • The EPA reports that most adverse reactions to flea products are a result of “spot on” treatments that are applied directly to your animal’s skin. These products are usually applied between the shoulder blades. You can find “spot on” treatments in retail stores or at your veterinarian’s office. Reactions include mild to severe skin irritation and even seizures and death in more extreme cases.

If you are unsure of what product is best for your pet, consult your veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian when choosing a product for your pregnant, sick, or older pet.