Dog Flea Treatments Kill Cats

I know this has been said a lot on the internet but it needs to be said over and over again because hundreds of cats are dying a painful death each year in the UK because their owners wanted to save some money by using a dog flea treatment on their cat. Or they just did not read the instructions on the packet. I actually think that manufacturers could do more to emphasis the dangers by redesigning their packets.

The problem clearly is most likely to happen in households were a person keeps a dog and a cat. This is a fairly common situation. Also cat flea treatments are expensive. I would actually say that they are very expensive and there is no doubt in my mind that manufacturers are not doing enough to prevent these deaths.

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

There is a poisonous insecticide in dog flea spot treatments called permethrin. It is a common insect repellant. Dogs are OK with it. Cats cannot process it. It simply poisons them. The name permethrin is very similar to the name pyrethrin. I’ll quote:

..only the pyrethrins are safe for cats.

But even this chemical in too concentrated a form can harm a cat and:

..many over the counter topical flea treatments have concentrated pyrethrins….cats can be affected by..high levels of pyrethrins.

Permethrins are so toxic to cats that sometimes they can be poisoned by sleeping next to a dog that has been treated for fleas. And many cats have dog buddies and groom them. They may easily be poisoned when grooming a treated dog.

Cats Poisoned by Dog Flea Treatments

I have put the message across in a bold red typeface so that it sticks in the memory. A pet owner might save a few pounds or dollars in sharing flea treatments between cats and dogs but the ultimate price is far higher than the savings.

Signs of toxicity include:

  • drooling
  • depression
  • tremors
  • staggering
  • vomiting
  • laboured breathing
  • hyperthermia (overheating)

Call the vet immediately and get there fast.

7 thoughts on “Dog Flea Treatments Kill Cats”

  1. I know what you mean Ruth,always put the new stock at the back is the golden rule but I’ve worked with people who don’t do that and the old stuff at the back goes out of date by it comes to the front.
    I shudder to think of cats being treated with dog stuff too,I bet most of those same people are very careful about their own medication being only for them.

  2. Good one Michael, a very important message you’ve rightfully written boldly.
    I would only add that using out of date flea treatments is very dangerous too, cats have died because people haven’t checked the expiry date. Maybe they bought a pack of treatments and didn’t realise how long they’d been in the cupboard, but also even buying flea treatments from a vet everyone should check the expiry date at home before using it as mistakes can happen, new stuff can get pushed behind the old by a careless person.
    You can’t be too careful.


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