How Dangerous are Flea and Tick Products?
People of the United States purchase a variety of toxic products intended to kill the presence of fleas and ticks on their pets. While flea and tick products were specifically designed and produced for pets, there are certain dangers associated with their use. These dangers are particularly of concern when the product instructions are not followed or when these items are not properly stored.
Thousands of cases of poisoning are reported every year due to veterinary medications, including flea and tick products. While these products are designed for use on pets specifically, it is still important to follow the directions. The flea and tick products that are most often associated with the poisoning of pets contain a specific class of chemicals known as organophosphate insecticides (OP's) or carbamates.
Flea and Tick Products: The Chemistry
Both organophosphate insecticides and carbamates are found in a wide variety of pet products. However, these chemicals may be difficult to find on the ingredient list, as there are many associated names, which are listed below. The products that contain these chemicals are particularly dangerous to children and pets if ingested. If you have any questions about flea and tick products, do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian.
Risk to Humans
While these products can serve to poison pets, they are also capable of poisoning humans. The greatest risk for poisoning from flea and tick products is to children. Children are still growing and developing, and because of this, their bodies are more sensitive to the effects of poison in comparison to an adult. It should also be noted that the toxic chemicals, also known as commercially available pesticides, are not as closely regulated by the government as most would expect. While the government does regulate the production and distribution of these toxic chemicals, it does not always regulate the products created containing these chemicals. There is typically not testing completed on pet products for the possible risks for humans. Therefore, it is recommended that you always exercise caution if using these items, store them safely, practice safe hygiene techniques when using these products, or find natural methods for the relief of fleas and ticks.
Reducing the Risk of Poisoning
There are many ways in which the risk of poisoning due to flea and tick products can be decreased:
- Alternative Treatments: There are many alternative treatments to flea and tick products, including frequent vacuuming, comb and bathing your pet on a regular basis, washing pet bedding, and keeping the lawn mowed.
- Veterinary Consultation: Always consult your veterinarian before purchasing and using any flea or tick product on your pet.
- Specifics: Only use products that are specifically designed for your pet. Never use a flea or tick product designed for a dog on a cat or vice versa.
- Read: Be sure to always read and understand all directions before use.
- Storage: Be sure to store these products in a safe place, especially out of reach of your pet or children.
- Avoid Certain Products: Avoid products that contain organophosphate insecticides and carbamates. There are products available that do not contain these toxic chemicals.