In getting rid of fleas and ticks, some pet owners have been left grasping at straws.  Unfortunately, many dog owners feel that the most simple solution is chemical spot-on treatments. But back in March of 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was “taking a look” at some of the particular treatments.

Finally!  You can’t douse a dog with poison, which is what these products are, and expect nothing to happen.

But, unfortunately, you don’t always see the results right away.  They happen over time.

These pesticide products were showing a “significant increase in adverse incidents,” according to the EPA.

The agency joined forces with Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to look into the products.

The Canadians were citing concerns with the products as early as 2009, while the EPA started gathering information in 2008 after seeing more incident reports.

The basic thrust of the findings led to reactions in dogs and cats as follows: “skin effects, such as irritation, redness, or gastrointestinal problems that include vomiting or diarrhea, or effects to the nervous system, such as trembling, appearing depressed or seizures.”

As a result, the EPA and its fellows worked to require spot-on makers to improve labels and to provide clearer instructions. They also restricted the use of “certain inert ingredients” that were found to be linked to some of the aforementioned reactions.

The EPA looked at a total of 21 products, from products by Bayer to products from Pet Logic. A full list of the evaluations of each product is available here.

“The bottom line is that the (EPA’s) Office of Pesticide Programs believes it is necessary to make significant changes in how we regulate pet spot-on products,” says Lois Rossi, director of EPA’s pesticide registration division.


There are other issues, too. According to a report in the January-February 2011 issue of Dogs Naturally magazine, the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity discovered that “from 2002 through 2007, at least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot-on treatments with the above mentioned ingredients were reported to the EPA.”

Without question, the EPA has recommended caution when it comes to spot-on products to treat fleas and ticks and this article highlights the problem.

Better solutions are necessary to not only fight fleas and ticks but to provide our dogs (and other pets) with non-toxic treatments to the many problems and threats that are out there.

For your dog or cat’s sake, don’t settle for a quick, long-term fix that often includes dire and dreadful results that you don’t always see right away.  The quick fix is not always the answer – in fact, it is rarely the answer. Like many issues in life, related to our best friends or not, careful consideration and proper research is necessary.

Check out the EPA report for yourself if you haven’t already done so and take care when using spot-on products to fight fleas and ticks.

Check out this video on how topical flea and tick treatments are causing illness, disease and death in our pets.

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Showing 10 comments
  • Ayla Sinclair

    Hi, I love your site! I was wondering about heartworm prevention? It is rampant here in Texas but I’m afraid of the meds because I’ve seen many of them causing seizures, especially in older dogs.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Ayla:
      Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m glad you like my site. The alternative product that I use for my own dogs and the one I recommend is an herbal blend. The reviews on it are very good. You can read more about it here if you like.

      Just remember that whether it’s the traditional chemical heartworm medicine or the herbal blend that I recommend, you still have to have your dog checked for heart worms every six months. This is especially important in places like Texas due the heat and high mosquito population.

      I hope this helps.


  • Erin

    Once again you’ve provided great information/suggestions. Thank you so very much!!!!

    • janie knetzer

      Thank you and you’re welcome Erin. I hope it helps. 🙂 Let me know.

  • Erin Hooper

    Hi Janie,

    What other recommendations would you give for natural flea control besides Triple Sure and diatomaceous earth. I am not having great results with these. As always thank you for your wonderful information!!!


    • janie knetzer

      Hi Erin:

      You’re welcome. 🙂 If you don’t mind me asking where are you located? I take it you live in the U.S.? Is it somewhere that’s warm all the time such as down South (Florida, etc. or even Texas)?

      What happened with the Triple Sure and how exactly were you using it? Is your dog real furry or not so much? What I have found the problem to be when Triple Sure doesn’t work, is that there’s usually a problem with outside such as the yard, etc. I’m assuming you did the whole flea and tick prevention thing in your home?


      • Erin Hooper

        I’m in Houston, TX. It is possible that her hair was too long when I first started using Triple Sure. She has since had a hair cut but I’m still finding fleas on her. She is a Yorkie with her summer cut so her hair is fairly short. We’ve treated the inside and outside using the Triple Sure and diatomaceous earth along with vacuuming like crazy. Fortunately it’s only a flea problem as we rarely have ticks in the city. But the only place she can be getting the fleas is from our other two big dogs who go outside because she is pee pad trained and I’m not letting her out because of the fleas. But the big dogs don’t have fleas. I’m perplexed. Lol!!

        • Erin

          Also she’s raw fed and very healthy other than her back problems.

        • janie knetzer

          Are you positive that the other two dogs don’t have fleas?

          Look closely for flea dirt on the belly and around genital areas. Look around the neck as well. If you don’t have a flea comb, you should buy one, that will definitely tell you if the other two dogs have fleas or not. It can appear that they don’t but you’d be surprised what a flea comb will pick up. If you get a comb, comb them in the garage, etc. and have a little bowl of hot water with dawn dish soap mixed in the water so that you can dunk the comb and kill the flea. You should always have a flea comb on hand. My husband swears by them. You have to use the flea comb daily until the comb doesn’t pick up any more fleas.

          This can be very perplexing; I know! The TripleSure definitely works. You need to get it on the skin which means you need someone to hold her and you run your hands thru her fur while misting the skin. Then use the flea comb. A few other recommendations that I haven’t tried are to use Organic Coconut unrefined coconut oil by rubbing 1/2 tsp into the fur. The lauric acid supposedly acts as a repellent for fleas. Another product that gets some decent reviews is called Wondercide (don’t use on cats). Like TripleSure, it too uses cedar oil as the main ingredient.

          Another product that I’m very interested in, but haven’t tried is the Amber Collar. You can learn more about it here. The collar has a 100 day 100% money back guarantee. You might try the collar along with the TripleSure Erin. When you use the TripleSure, you need to focus on the areas where fleas like to hang out. Above the tail to the left and right, under the tail and around the genitals and on the belly AND around the neck. DON’T SOAK, but give a nice mist to the skin in those areas.

          You might want to check borate crystal salt as well for around the house. It too is non-toxic. Here’s an article on that. I haven’t found any product that works well outside to kill fleas completely. The diatamtious earth has to be replaced once wet and this can be very difficult if dealing with a large area. Unfortunately, we use the chemical treatment for the yard, and I don’t allow them in that area for several hours. I make sure that I wash and dry their feet if they go out that area. We usually use this when we know it’s going to rain, because the rain sinks it into the dirt.

          I’m waiting for a safer, better natural product that doesn’t cost a fortune and actually works in the yard.


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