Report From U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets
There are many EPA-registered pesticide products on the market today to treat your pets for common problems such as fleas and ticks. When used according to label instructions and precautions, pet products can be very effective, but when misapplied or not used according to directions, your pets may be unnecessarily exposed to pesticides and could become ill.
Your pets may also be exposed to other pesticide products used or stored around the home, lawn, and garden. Protect your pets from pests and potential pesticide risks by following product label directions and understanding the precautions. EPA is responsible for assuring that all pesticides sold in the United States do not cause unreasonable risks when they are used according to label directions and precautions.
Every EPA-registered pesticide product has an EPA registration number on its packaging. If evidence arises to challenge the safety of a registered pesticide product, EPA reviews scientific data and takes action if necessary to reduce or eliminate the risks. Some flea and tick products are drugs that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet
* DO NOT Buy Counterfeit Pesticide Products for Dogs and Cats
* Limit Your Pet's Exposure to Household Pesticides
Read the Label First: Protect Your Pet.
To help minimize incidents that may be caused by product misuse, EPA is reminding consumers to always carefully read and follow all instructions on the label for these products.
Safety tips for pet owners:
* Consult your veterinarian
*If you use a spot-on product or any other pesticide on your pet, carefully read and follow the product label.
* Use flea and tick control products only on the animal specified by the product label. For example, dog products for dogs only and cat products for cats only.
* Follow any label prohibitions against use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown sensitivity to pesticide products.
* Apply only the amount indicated for the size of the animal being treated.
* Do not apply to kittens or puppies unless the product label specifically allows this treatment. Pay attention to the age restrictions for puppies and kittens on the label.
* Monitor your pet for side effects or signs of sensitivity after applying the product, particularly when using the product on your pet for the first time. Do not apply spot-ons to pets known to be sensitive to pesticide products.
* If your pet experiences an adverse reaction, immediately bathe the pet with mild soap and rinse with large amounts of water.
* Keep the package with the product container (such as individual applicator tubes). Also keep the package after treatment in case adverse effects occur. You will want to have the instructions at hand, as well as contact information for the manufacturer.
*Advice for Reporting Incidents
* Keep the package with the product container (such as individual applicator tubes). Also keep the package after treatment in case adverse effects occur. The package contains the product label, which includes important information such as the EPA registration number and contact information for the manufacturer.
* Report any adverse effects to the manufacturer, who is required by law to report it to EPA. Contact information can be found on the product label. In addition, you may report the incident to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), 1-800-858-7378
* Encourage your veterinarian to use NPIC's Veterinary Pesticide Adverse Effects Reporting portal at http://npic.orst.edu/vet disclaimer to report any incidents. This portal is not for use by the public.
*Flea Control Tips The following tips may help to prevent, reduce, or eliminate flea infestations:
* Vacuuming on a daily basis to remove eggs, larvae and adults is the best method for initial control of a flea infestation. It is important to vacuum the following areas: carpets, cushioned furniture, cracks and crevices on floors, along baseboards and the basement.
* Steam cleaning carpets may also help as the hot steam and soap can kill fleas in all stages of the life cycle. Pay particular attention to areas where pets sleep.
* Wash all pet bedding and family bedding on which pets lie in hot, soapy water every two to three weeks. If an infestation is severe, discard old pet bedding and replace it with fresh, clean material.
* Flea combs are very effective tools in the suppression of adult fleas. They allow hair to pass through the tines but not the fleas, removing fleas as well as flea feces and dried blood. Focus combing on those parts of the pet where the most fleas congregate, usually the neck or tail area. When fleas are caught, deposit them in hot soapy water to kill them.
* Consider keeping pets indoors. Besides spot-ons, there are other pesticides registered for flea and tick control on pets. These include shampoos, collars, dust, and sprays. Consumers should apply the same precautions when using these products as recommended for spot-ons. Pet owners may also wish to consult their veterinarian for advice and recommendations.
Spot On Flea Product Warning/Caution; To help minimize incidents that may be caused by product misuse, EPA is reminding consumers to always carefully read and follow all instructions on the label for these products.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control due to recent increases in the number of reported adverse reactions in pets treated with these products.
Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, death of the pet. Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting your pets and your family's health because fleas and ticks can transmit disease.
While many people use the products with no harm to their pets, EPA recommends that pet owners take precautions when using these products. People should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of an adverse reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Also, before use of these products on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products, EPA recommends that a veterinarian be consulted.
Pets may experience adverse reactions from flea and tick control products, including spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of reports to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back.
Additional safety tips are available for taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet.
For more information, go to EPA's Q&A database and select "Fleas and Ticks" in the drop-down topic menu.