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Why OTC Pet Meds Can Kill Your Dog

Updated on February 4, 2014

Are you putting your pet at risk?

copyright India Dee 2010
copyright India Dee 2010

Dog and Cat Owners Unite over Deadly Flea Prevention Medications!

Convulsions, foaming muzzles and death? Over the Counter Pet Medications can kill your pet! Before you put another drop of flea medication on your pet, READ THIS ARTICLE!

"I use these very medications to treat my dog and cats!!"

Dog People vs Cat People

Dog Lovers:

It is an undeniable difference that separates the dog loving humans from the cat loving humans. Dog people find this deep bond that carries through years and years of trusted give and take. The worthy k9 would gladly risk life and limb to rescue his person from flames or natural disaster. A brave few clip on a shield of community service to sniff out illegal drugs, or to run down a criminal or to find battered survivors in a tumble of snow. These are the loyal things our K9 friends offer in exchange for good food, medical care, and a loving pat on the head.

Cat People:

Whereas, our cat loving humans prefer the confident stroll and indifferent shrug of our fluffy whiskered felines. The gentle purr of contentment snuggled in one's lap, while the rhythmic massage of front paws in fluid motion do their dance. An excited "meow" when we cross the threshold at the end of the day accompanied by spirited bursts of energy chasing down a moving lint-ball. The nuzzling rub of affection on our leg for a bowl of protein rich morsels and a warm body to curl up with, these are the things that make the love of a cat immeasurable.

Commercial Flea Medication Alert

In our humane attempt to serve as caretakers, friends, and family to many lovable creatures, we may be steering them to their demise. On the evening news a popular news anchor told shocking stories of how flea medications are bringing illness and even death to our beloved furry friends! Horrified I looked on,..."I use these very medications to treat my dogs and cats!!"

In an attempt to prevent miss-application of pet medications, a list of information and informative sites are below. Before you medicate your pet, please gain a bit of knowledge which may stop another animal from suffering an unnecessary illness or an untimely death.

7 Tips For Using OTC Pet Meds

1. Flea medications are poison! They kill fleas and ticks, etc. by poisoning them.

2. Dog medication is for dogs. Do not put dog medication on or in your cat! Due to there unique physiology and inability to metabolize certain compounds, cats are never to be treated with any K9 medications. Don't allow your cat to groom your recently treated dog as this may result in your cat ingesting the toxins, causing him to be poisoned. If contamination occurs, CALL YOUR VET.

3. Read the packaging regarding the weight of your pet. These medications are measured to administer to a pet within certain weight guidelines. This is why you can purchase medications for your 'over 20 Lb" dog or your 'over 88 Lb' dog. On the feline medications you will find an age requirement, know your cats' age! This is not a guessing game, weigh your pets and know there age!

Frontline, Advantage & Advantix

Advantage, Adavantix, and Frontline are probably the most effective and frequently used pet flea/tick meds on the market. They offer contact information for their products at;

  • FOR FRONTLINE CONTACT~ (800) 660-1842
  • FOR ADVANTAGE CONTACT~ (800) 255-6826
  • There is a medical emergency number on K9 Advantix: Dial (800) 422-9874

4. Administer the medications as directed, ie. read the directions! Although some are similar in there application, they do differ from brand to brand. Even if only slightly, know the different application requirements. Again, you can find the differences within the body of THE DIRECTIONS. Usually a stated length of effectiveness is noted on the packaging. Don't differ from what is written. If it says, "Do not reapply medication for 30 days", then don't reapply it for 30 days!

5. These medications are also very toxic to fish. Do not contaminate water when disposing of these products or packaging.

6. Wash your hands immediately after using these products. You can cross contaminate your animals, or make yourself ill.

7. On some of the medications they make strict references that you should NOT use the medication on puppies or kittens of a certain age. Find this information on the packaging and follow it if you have a puppy or a kitten.

FLEA COMBS - How to get fleas off of your pet manually

Our Golden Retriever Puppy suns himself on a cool fall afternoon. Cutest face ever!
Our Golden Retriever Puppy suns himself on a cool fall afternoon. Cutest face ever! | Source
Snuggled among the couch cushions Miss Kitty-- our pure white Manx, finds contentment.
Snuggled among the couch cushions Miss Kitty-- our pure white Manx, finds contentment. | Source

Epa Gets Involved- Pet Products Kill Hundreds!

Matthew Daly -The Associated Press- Provides us with a great bit of information regarding the EPA and what there plans are to protect our furry family members. WASHINGTON – Products intended to treat cats and dogs for fleas and ticks kill hundreds of pets each year and injure tens of thousands, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday as it outlined plans to make the products safer.

He continues to offer information from the EPA stating that the EPA said it will develop stricter testing and evaluation requirements for flea and tick treatments that are applied to a pet’s skin. The agency also will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones need to say more clearly how to use the products. Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said new restrictions will be placed on flea and tick products, with additional changes for specific products likely – including possible changes in some product formulas.

5 Steps To Natural Flea Control

If a more natural approach is your cup of tea, here is some helpful information

  1. Vacuum your home frequently. (Dispose of bags promptly in an outside trashcan.)
  2. Bathe your pet weekly with a very mild and moisturizing soap. (fleas love dry skin, so moisturizing is important. Adding Linitone or fish oil to your dogs food will help with this.)
  3. Regularly wash your pets' bedding. Fleas may be breeding under your pets very nose.
  4. Using cedar shampoo on your dog and cedar oil in the sleeping area repels fleas.
  5. Mix a small dose of brewers yeast (available in powder or pill form) in with your dogs food. The fleas don't like the way it makes your dog smell. Don't worry, you won't be able to sense the change in your dogs aroma.

Never use "Dog Flea Medication" on your Cat - That's what "Cat Flea Medication" is for!

With this Golden Gaze, our k9 friend gets whatever he long as it's good for him!
With this Golden Gaze, our k9 friend gets whatever he long as it's good for him! | Source
Our Chance kitten. She's the was old lady in the bunch, we miss you sweet girl!
Our Chance kitten. She's the was old lady in the bunch, we miss you sweet girl! | Source

Dangerous Natural Flea Control. Who Knew?

An old remedy for flea prevention has in the past included the addition of garlic to the brewers yeast to aid in deterring fleas from hopping aboard your dog. This is NOT RECOMMENDED. Studies have revealed that garlic has an unusual effect on canines in that it can bring on anemia (lowering red blood cell production). Onions and grapes (among other common food items) are other human consumables you should avoid feeding to your dog. Onions—raw or cooked— should never be offered as they become toxic in your dog. As for grapes, these sweet treats can destroy your dogs' renal system (kidneys) before you realize what has hit him. So I recommend sticking with carrots for your dogs vegetable snacks. They provide a nice, tooth cleaning crunch, and they are healthy for your K9.

Please keep in mind that these natural flea control suggestions are for a mild infestation or to maintain good flea management. If you have a significant infestation, your best bet may be to use the 'spot on' flea medications.



Comments for, "Why OTC Pet Meds Can Kill Your Pet"

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  • profile image


    8 years ago

    wot animals dont bight me sow I can biy won ples

  • TENKAY profile image


    9 years ago from Philippines

    Having 4 dogs and a cat and a not so large apartment, it is mandatory for my pets to be flea and tick free. I've been using coconut oil massaged to the pets fur and skin and this I apply once a month. I've been doing this for more than 5 years already. Coconut oil moisturizes skin and discourages almost all skin parasites on pets.

    Thanks for warning pet lovers. Informative hub.

  • nataliejs profile image

    Natalie Schaeffer 

    9 years ago from California

    My husband and I use flea spray on 3 of our 4 cats (the 4th one is still a kitten, so we don't spray her). We give each cat one spray each every couple of weeks or so. I love how you stress the importance of the proper application of flea treatment, because some pet owners are careless and too liberal with it and take it upon themselves to think, despite what the directions say, that it's okay to put a ton of flea drops on their small animals because they have a ton of fleas. They forget that they are tampering with a poison and an irritant which could seriously harm their pets if not used properly. Thanks for this info!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Might Mom! What a treat to find you here in the comment section! You know, In 2005, a six-year-old black cat named Colby Nolan had a job working with a Pennsylvania lawyer (prosecutor) in an attempt to catch Internet bad guys who were selling fake college degrees. A masters degree in business (MBA) was issued by TSU to Colby the cat that same year. Colby ended up with his MBA for the minuscule cost of $5,000. Anyone who has gone through a master's program knows how a $5K master's program could tempt even the most honest of business students. Having never attending a single class, Colby was able to achieve a quite respectable grade-point-average of 3.5. Even though Colby had achieved is educational goals, he refrained from going right into the job market, deciding to better serve as evidence in the case against the scamming Internet bad guys. As reported by the original story teller (Becker, DVM), when Colby the cat was interviewed he remarked that the catnip on campus was plentiful. "I admit," he purred. "I inhaled."

    SO I am now in total agreement with you, cats are indeed heroic in their own quiet dignified way!

    Go Giants--that's the only time I will say that!);)

    HubHugs MM~


  • Mighty Mom profile image

    Susan Reid 

    9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

    Hey woman,

    Great, useful hub you got here.

    I use prescription Revolution on my feline babies (although our new vet seems to think it's overkill -- as in, don't bother with the prescription stuff, use Frontline or Advantage instead).

    They do make Revolution for cats by weight.

    I have a kitten who is (still) under 5lbs and she has her own scrip. Once she hits 5 she can use the same strength as the others.

    Thanks for the recommendation about disposing of the dispensers and washing hands.

    Only point I can even remotely disagree with is cats can be heroic, too. Just in a quiet, more dignified way than dogs :-).


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Paulart~ Thanks so much. I am glad you find the hub worth taking in.



  • Paulart profile image


    9 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

    Wow great hub.I appreciate your work.Keep it up.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Some important information I am just trying to get out. A Proven CAT FLEA SHAMPOO that does KILL RABBITS. I found out the hard way. I gave my 5 year Old Rabbit: Gizmoe a bath in flea and tick shampoo called: Magic Coat Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats & Kittens, by: Four Paws. The shampoos active ingredients are: Pyrethrins, Piperonyl Butoxide- Technical, and N-Octyl Bicycloheptene Dicarboximide . On with the story of Gizmoe: She acted like her normal self for a few hours after the bath and she has had many baths before just not with the use of the above shampoo. She got wet runny pop sometimes even though she ate the same Producer’s Pride 50 pound bag of rabbit feed that the vet recommend to us to feed her, ( and no she did not get a lot of treats.) and it sticks to her bottom and drys there. Then she can’t get it off, so we gave her a bath when it happened. A few hours after the bath she started not acting right she wouldn’t spreed her legs out and lay down like she always does and she wouldn’t eat or drink. I took her to the vet and to some it up he said he didn’t know of anything that would really help her. He said to give her another bath and use dawn dish soap to try to get the bad chemical off her. I did just what he said and minutes after the bath she cried two times really loud and died. She died about 11 Hous later after we used the flea and tick shampoo for her. I watched her back legs give out, she then did the 2 loud cry’s, she stopped breathing, and her heart stopped shortly after. It was traumatizing and still is. She died 12-23-2011 20 mins. before noon. Merry Christmas to me. I soon found out that Pyrethrins makes animals sick and has even killed them including cats. I used flea shampoo that time because I adopted a street kitten with fleas the vet put medication on the kittens back to kill the fleas, but I was then worried about my rabbit so I gave her a flea shampoo bath and you know the rest. Now I refuse to use flea shampoo on any of my pets. They will just go to the vet. I hope this helps people and saves bunny rabbits and other animals life’s.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    one thing I feel I must share; the situation I had may be unusual, but certainly not as rare as some might think. If you have a female dog that is lactating and nursing a cat or kitten, Frontline Plus is the only flea remedy the vet said was safe for the nursing cat. Advantix was not safe and dangerous/toxic for the cat or kitten.

  • profile image

    Lisa @ Pet Coupons 

    9 years ago

    I have to say I've had bad experiences with some pet medications. You really do have to be careful and buy these medications from a trusted source. We try to go the natural way as much as possible especially with managing fleas. With 2 dogs and 3 cats we have our work cut out! Thanks for taking the type to write up this hub!

  • profile image

    John @ Petmeds 

    9 years ago

    This is probably the best hub I have come across that talks about this! I know that pet medications can be harmful and kill your pet. We had a dog that passed away because we were giving the wrong meds for him. I guess we will always go to a trusted source now and make sure our Vet knows exactly what we give our pets from now on!

    Obviously we try to go the natural way as much as possible for any of our pets!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    Puppyluv~Thank you for your comments. I am so pleased that you, who works with animals in a vets office can express the daily pain these pet meds can bring if used improperly. Thank you for the support.


  • Puppyluv profile image

    Serena Zehlius 

    9 years ago from Hanover, PA

    Voted up and useful! Thank you for sharing this information! Working at an animal emergency hospital, we see cats die on a weekly basis from these medications. People also don't realize how harmful it is to apply DOG flea treatments to CATS.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Jeff and Ranay~ Thanks for the comments! You make a really good point regarding pesticides in the spot on flea medications for dogs. They may keep the flea away for a month or so, but at what cost to the family dog? I really appreciate you stopping by today.


  • profile image

    Jeff and Ranay 

    10 years ago

    This is a great and informative Hub. So many folks trust the people who are supposed to be in the know to give them the correct information. I wonder how many people have been told that these spot on flea remedies are pesticides? Thanks for sharing some great info.

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 

    10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    K9, In behalf of the Hubnuggets Team, I announce with glee your Hubnugget nomination. Do visit the link I will post after this comment and you will see your nomination. Be sure to cast your vote and do the works to promote your hub. Enjoy:

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Dobson~ Thanks for stoppin' by! Hoping this information keeps even one little fuzzy wonder safe and healthy. There are some really good natural methods to use for pet health,...but always check with your vet just to be safe. (double check side effects of any perscribed RX just like OTC drugs, they may not be the best choice).

    ~always choose love~

  • Dobson profile image


    10 years ago from Virginia

    How can we know our poor furred friends who depend on us to protect them are not going to harmed by what we give? Thanks for providing this information.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    equealla~ Thanks for the read. In my opinion, some (not all) vets are tied in pretty tight with the pharmaceutical companies. Obtaining perks and bonus points for perscribing, selling and using these spot-on products. So, as responsible pet owners we must stay knowledgeable about how to protect our fuzzy friends and our human friends as well. Sorry to hear you were invaded by creepy crawlies--

    I appreciate you stopping by.~always choose love~

  • equealla profile image


    10 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

    Thanx for looking at my hub. Because of that I came to yours. This is scary. We had a field across the road cleaned, causing zillions of natural crawlies fleeing into our homes, and onto our pets. The vet told me in cases of bad infestation this poison can be used more often than directed. Next time I visit them, my laptop is going with and they will sit and read, even if I have to go home at midnight.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    RebekahELLE~ So glad you have found some options for treating your furry friend within my article. I too have found some delayed reactions in my pet after treating with RX type spot meds.

    Thank you for sharing my hub, as I am flattered that you are doing so. Thanks for following!

    ~Always choose love~

  • rebekahELLE profile image


    10 years ago from Tampa Bay

    thank you for the natural options. it's soon time for my dog's dose of medication, and I didn't want to give him his usual. I have noticed the day after he gets his dose, he seems not his usual self. I'm going to try these methods. I'm also sharing this hub! :]

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    A bunny sounds so sweet and cozy. Happy you found some information that suits your needs. Rub your bunny's foot for luck and possibly no fleas will enter your world! Thank you for the read Cosette, always an honor to have you follow.

    ~Always choose love~

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    i too believe in the natural approach for so many things. i don't have a dog, but i have a bunny, and i have wondered about flea collars because they have some stuff in them that kills fleas and it is slowly seeping into the dog's bloodstream, which never sounded right to me. if i had a dog or cat, i would definitely try your suggestions. they are good common sense. thank you for this hub.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    I bet your wolfies are beautiful. SO pleased you found use in the article. Thank you for stopping by Kaie!

  • Kaie Arwen profile image

    Kaie Arwen 

    10 years ago

    Thank you for the information............ I have three beautiful wolfies to take care of, and if medications are ever needed, it's nice to have a natural treatment!

    Thanks again, Kaie

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    Nellieanne, I feel so sad for your loss of such long time companions. Hotel/Motels who allow our pets to stay with us must take safety precations. Extermination products can be delivered to our furry companions through rodent contact and in some cases carpet products effect pets (primarily cats)and cause illness or death. So tragic!... My hope for you is that, a new fuzzy friend for you to curl up with enters your life. They are worth the care it takes to have one! Thank you for the read, and again my heart goes out to you.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    10 years ago from TEXAS

    I don't have a pet now, but we had two kitties who lived a very healthy 17 years and would probably have outlived both of us, but we ONE time only - took them with us to a motel when we happened to be traveling without our RV. It was Christmas and we made an unsheduled stop-over to spend it with some family en route back from the ranch. Sometime during the stay they got ahold of something toxic in the room. They were both sick by the time we got home and she died almost immediately. He rallied and seemed to be back to normal, but he started the same symptoms in March and was gone as quickly as she had been. Heart-breaking.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    nlowman~ Thanks for reading the hub. Hope you found some information useful. Happy pet health and I truly appreciate you stopping by! Look forward to your next post!

  • nlowman profile image


    10 years ago from Connecticut

    It's nice to have some natural options. Thanks for the tips, K9.


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