Pyrethroids and Your Pets

Pyrethroids and Your Pets

Pyrethroids are commonly found in domestic insecticide products such as insect and spider sprays, ant sands and mosquito coils. These insecticides may also be found in some flea and tick spot-on products for dogs. Some common pyrethroid compounds include permethrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin and esfenvalerate.

Exposure to these products typically occurs when animals walk over, or lick treated surfaces. This can result in irritation, tingling or numbness of the exposed areas of the skin and mouth. Animals that ingest these products will often begin drooling or vomiting. More significant exposures, such as those that occur from drinking concentrated products or biting into an aerosol can, may result in more serious effects such as tremor and seizures and can potentially be life-threatening.

Cats are very sensitive to pyrethroids and extra caution should be taken when using these products around them. Applying pyrethroid based flea and tick spot-on products (that are intended for dogs) to cats can be life-threatening. Cats can also be seriously poisoned after coming into physical contact with or grooming dogs that have recently been treated with these products.

To reduce the risk of poisoning, always ensure containers holding pesticides are kept well out of reach of your pets. Pets should be kept away from sprayed or treated areas until they are well ventilated and thoroughly dry. Spot-on products intended for dogs should never be applied to cats, and cats should be physically separated from dogs that have recently been treated with these products for up to 48 hours.

Fish are also sensitive to these insecticides. If you keep fish or other aquatic invertebrates, ensure the aquarium/pond and pump is covered prior to using pyrethroids. Dogs that have recently been treated with pyrethroid based spot-on products should not be allowed to enter ponds until the application site is thoroughly dry.

If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline provides a free service for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand, and we can rapidly determine if your pet requires immediate veterinary assessment or can be observed at home.

The Animal Poisons Helpline is proudly sponsored by Bow Wow Meow for Pets, who are currently offering two months free pet insurance in the first year of coverage for Helpline followers. Visit and enter AP368 at checkout to take advantage of this offer.