As a dog owner, one of your many concerns is likely flea and tick prevention. I know it is for me, especially living in Florida where it is summer all year round.
So far I have been lucky with my dog (isn't he cute?) but I do remember my childhood dog having a flea infestation and it was a nightmare for all of us - my parents and the dog especially.
Fleabites can be more than an itchy nuisance to you and your pet and can lead to a host of other health issues.
Tick bites are slightly more worrisome as they are known to carry infections such as Lyme disease which can be transmitted to humans posing risk to you and your family.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates that pet owners will spend $45.4 billion on pet supplies and OTC medications, including flea and tick products, in 2009.
There are hundreds of available pesticides, repellents and more on the market to protect your pet from flea and tick bites. Some are available by prescription from a veterinarian; while others are available over-the-counter without a prescription.
“Pet owners need to carefully read the label; package insert and any accompanying literature to ensure proper use of flea and tick products,” says Ann Stohlman, V.M.D., a veterinarian in the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Regulation of Flea and Tick Products
The FDA and and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate flea and tick products.
Animal drugs fall under FDA regulation, including most oral and injection flea and tick products; while, products used to control external parasites falls under EPA jurisdiction.
Animal drugs must be approved by the FDA before they are allowed on the market. While pesticides must be registered with the EPA before they can be marketed.
The EPA and FDA carefully review information about the product’s safety and effectiveness provided by the manufacturer or other product sponsor. The sponsor must show the drug or pesticide meets current safety standards to protect the animal, people in contact with the animal and the environment.
The sponsor also holds the responsibility of showing that the drug or pesticide produces the claimed effect. Flea and tick products are required to carry specific labeling to direct consumers on how to safely use the products and warn of any precautions.
Any adverse side effects associated with use of these products must be reported by the manufacturer to the regulating agency.
In April, the EPA issued an advisory concerning 70 registered spot-on pesticides used for flea and tick control in cats and dogs.
Adverse reactions reported from spot-on products range from mild effects, such as skin irritation, to more serious effects, such as seizures, and, in some cases, death. More than 44,000 potential incidents associated with registered spot-on products were reported to the EPA in 2008.
Pet owners should carefully read and follow label instructions and to monitor their pet for any signs of adverse reaction, recommends the EPA.
? Read Tips for Using Flea and Tick Products
Toxic Chemicals Found in Flea and Tick Collars
A recent study by The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows some flea and tick collars leave a toxic pesticide residue on the animal’s fur that can be hazardous to the pets and their owners.
The NRDC filed a lawsuit following the results of the study, which found high levels of propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TVCP) – both which are known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
The suit contends 16 retailers and manufacturers, failed to warn consumers that they were exposed to unsafe levels of propoxur in violation of state law.
GreenPaws maintains a list of well known flea and tick products. Each product is categorized by its potential risk and falls under one of three categories: Avoid Use, Use Sparingly or Use only when chemical control is needed. #