Taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet
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- Questions On Pesticides?
National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) 1-800-858-7378
Taking care of your pets responsibly includes protecting them from fleas and ticks. Before purchasing and applying pesticide products to pets to control fleas and ticks, there is important information you should know.
On this Page
- Safety tips for pet owners
- Advice for Reporting Incidents
- Flea and tick control tips
- Additional information
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.
- Consult your veterinarian about the best way to to protect your pets from fleas and ticks and whether pesticides are even needed.
- Use extra care before use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products.
- 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.
- 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 to report any incidents. This portal is not for use by the public.
- Tell EPA: Forward the information in our “ask a question” site:
- Go to the Pesticides Frequent Questions Web page
- Select "flea and tick products" on the left sidebar
- The question that will give you the information about reporting an incident will be one of the first questions. Or you can search for ID number 18052 using the advanced search function near the top of the left sidebar.
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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following ways to reduce ticks in your yard:
- Modify your landscape to create Tick Safe Zones. To do this, keep play areas and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Also, regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas.
- Provide a vegetation-free play area. Keep play areas and playground equipment away from away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation.
- Use a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks. A single springtime application of acaricide can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68-100%.
- Discourage deer. Removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them.
See CDC Web page: Stop Ticks for more information on ticks and tick-borne diseases.
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.
- Contact the National Pesticide Information Center (1-800-858-7378) for information about the pesticides contained in these products or for other information about effects of pesticides on people and animals. (NPIC is partly funded by EPA and provides science-based information about pesticides.)
- Pet Spot-on Analysis and Mitigation Plan, Data Evaluation Records for Products, and public comments on mitigation plan
- Visit Pesticides Frequent Questions Web page.