Public advisory

Archived – Health Canada Advises Consumers to Follow Label Directions on Flea and Tick Pest Control Products for Use on Cats and Dogs

Starting date:
April 16, 2009
Posting date:
April 16, 2009
Type of communication:
Natural health products
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety
General Public
Identification number:

Flea and Tick Treatment video

Current data from Health Canada's Pesticide Incident Reporting Program suggests there may be a potential for adverse reactions in cats and dogs from the use of flea and tick control products applied to the skin and sold in stores as pesticides. These products can be identified by a Pest Control Product or PCP Registration Number on the label.

This advisory does not include flea and tick products sold as veterinary drugs, identified by a Drug Identification Number, or DIN, that are regulated by Health Canada. Health Canada is analyzing these veterinary drugs to determine if similar incidents have been reported.

While many people have used these products without any harmful effects on their pets, adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and in some cases death. As such, Health Canada is taking a precautionary approach and is advising pet owners to carefully read and follow all instructions noted on the product labels. Pet owners that are concerned with the use of flea and tick products should consult a veterinarian to ensure the product is appropriate and used safely.

Incidents with flea and tick products involve the use of spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos, although the majority of the incidents relate to spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back.

Pet owners are advised to follow these important safety tips:

  • Use flea and tick control products only on the animal specified by the product label – dog products for dogs, cat products for cats.
  • Apply only the amount indicated for the size and/or weight of the animal being treated. Consult your veterinarian if your pet is sick, aged, pregnant, nursing, is on medication or is exposed to other pesticides, as it may have additional sensitivity to the product.
  • Consult a veterinarian if your pet experiences an adverse effect such as described above.
  • Observe your pet closely during and after the treatment and monitor for any signs of an adverse reaction, particularly when using these products on your pet for the first time, as pets have varying sensitivities to pesticides.
  • Report any adverse effects to the manufacturer who is required by law to report it to Health Canada. Contact information can be found on the product label. You may also report an incident directly to Health Canada by completing the appropriate form and send it by mail to the address on the form.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified similar concerns with the use of flea and tick products. Health Canada and the EPA are currently working with product manufacturers and veterinary health professionals to address this issue.

Consumers requiring more information about this advisory can contact the Pest Management Information Service, toll-free, at

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Health Canada

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Pest Management Information Service:  1-800-267-6315