Flea and Tick Spray and their Link to Cancer

May 10, 2019

The Links between Tick and Flea treatments and collars and Health issues with Dogs.   


Nobody wants their dog to get fleas. Ticks are no picnic either. Some of us have dogs with pretty severe flea allergies, which complicates matters even more. 

Unfortunately, conventional flea and tick products are really just chemical pesticides.

You might be thinking, “Well, OK, they’re chemicals. But can they really be tha


t bad? After all, I get these from my vet” ...

… Well, let’s take look at 3 common active ingredients found in pharmaceutical flea and tick products and you can decide how you feel about their safety.

1. Fipronil

Dr Deva Khalsa VMD, citing the EPA’s Pesticide Division, says that fipronil enters the body and can be contained in the fat, organs, urine and feces of dogs.

Plus, according to Khalsa, lab tests have shown that with long-term exposure at low doses, fipronil has the potential to cause:

  • nervous system and thyroid toxicity

  • thyroid cancer

  • altered thyroid hormone levels

  • liver toxicity

  • kidney damage

  • convulsions

  • whining

  • barking or crying

  • loss of appetite

  • locomotor difficulty

  • reduced fertility

  • fetus mortality

  • smaller offspring

  • loss of hair at or beyond the point of application

  • moist inflammation

  • chemical burn

  • itching

Freaked out yet? Well, we’re not done.

When exposed to light, fipronil breaks down into a molecule called fipronil-desulfinyl which, according to the EPA, is ten times more toxic than the fipronil itself. This means you don’t want to put the plastic vials of fipronil products in the sun, don’t let your dog bake in the sun after application and avoid the sun for short-haired dogs using fipronil products.

2. Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids

Many people think the pyrethrins (naturally occurring compounds from the chrysanthemum plant) and pyrethroids (the synthetic counterpart) are less hazardous than fipronil. Sadly, that is not the case.

A big holistic motto is: healthy dogs attract less fleas. 

The Center for Public Integrity found that from 2002 through 2007 at least 1,600 pet deaths from pyrethroid spot-on treatments were reported to the EPA. That’s nearly double the number of reported fatalities linked to flea and tick products without pyrethroids. CPI’s project was based on an analysis of 90,000 adverse reaction reports. Keep in mind that many adverse reactions are not reported so the actual number could be much higher, according to Khalsa.

Pyrethroid spot-on products also accounted for more than half of the major pesticide pet reactions, including brain damage, heart attacks and seizures.

3. Imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide found in flea and tick products that acts as an insect neurotoxin and belongs to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids, says Khalsa.

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides acting on the central nervous system of insects with lower toxicity to mammals. In lab studies, imidacloprid has been found to cause thyroid lesions and liver toxicity, increase cholesterol levels (which is commonly seen in the bloodwork of hypothyroid dogs), and has the potential to damage the kidneys, liver, thyroid, heart, lungs, spleen, adrenal, brain and gonads.

Not a real pretty picture, is it? So, is our only option to let our beloved dogs suffer with the terrible discomfort of a flea infestation or the disease risks that ticks bring? Fortunately, no.


All Paws On Deck now sells Pesticide Free, organic Tick-Mosquito and Flea Repellents!  We make them on site with organic essential oils, and believe it or not Vodka.  While they work great on Dogs, as with most essential oil products, you CAN NOT use them on cats.


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