About Animal Medicines

Flea and Tick Products

Flea and tick infestations, along with intestinal parasites like heartworms, are controlled primarily through the use of pesticides. AHI members work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to license safe and effective chemical agents to combat the spread of parasites to the human population and to keep animals healthy.A woman puts a spot-on treatment on her Golden Retriver

Flea bites may be more than an itchy annoyance to some dogs and cats. Fleas feasting on a pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death. Ticks can also harm pets, transmitting infections such as Lyme disease. And pets can bring ticks into the home, exposing families to illness from a tick bite.

Types of Flea and Tick Products
Hundreds of pesticides, repellents and growth inhibitors are available to protect pets from flea and tick infestations. Flea and tick products range from pills given by mouth to collars, sprays, dips, shampoos, powders and “spot-ons” – liquid repellents that are squeezed onto a dog’s or cat’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades or down the back. A few spot-on products are available for flea control in ferrets, and fly and tick control in horses.

Government Regulation

Flea and tick products for pets are regulated primarily by the EPA.   However, some products used to also control internal parasites come under the jurisdiction of the FDA which is responsible for regulating animal drugs.  The two agencies work together to ensure adherence to all applicable laws and regulations.

Both agencies base their decision to allow a drug or a pesticide to enter the market on a review of detailed information about the product’s safety and effectiveness, which is provided by the manufacturer or other product sponsor. The sponsor must show that the drug or pesticide meets current safety standards designed to protect the targeted animals, people coming in contact with those animals, and the environment.

Learn more from the FDA’s resource on the safe use of flea and tick products in pets

AVMA’s brochure on External Parasites