Is there a difference between cat and dog flea treatment? In this Vet Minute, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, answers the question of can you put dog flea medicine on a cat?
Are Cat and Dog Flea Treatments the Same?
Can dog flea treatment be used on cats? The answer is No. There is a difference between dog and cat flea treatments. Overall, dog and cat flea treatments are safer now than they have ever been. Gone are the days of organophosphates. The flea treatments we have now are able to specifically target the nervous system of insects like fleas and arachnids like mites. However, you need to be careful to only use cat-labeled flea products on cats. Dog flea products are not interchangeable with cat flea products. Read the label instructions carefully and know the weight and age of your pet before applying or administering medications.
What If I Put Dog Flea Treatment On My Cat?
If you accidently do put dog flea meds on a cat it can be deadly for the cat. Dog flea medications CAN kill a cat or cause serious effects. The amount of medication in the dose is not the deciding factor on what is safe for a cat. Dog flea products often contain products that are completely unsafe for use on cats. So only use cat flea products on cats. If you do accidentally apply dog flea medicine to your cat, contact your vet immediately as this is an emergency.
Permethrin Toxic to Cats
Permethrin is in the K9 Advantix II and Vectra 3D product among others. Permethrin, the active ingredient, is not safe as cats cannot metabolize this product – and can lead to tremors, seizures, and death in cats. Should you accidentally apply this product to a cat or the cat is in skin to skin contact with a dog when the product on the dog is still wet, you need immediate veterinary intervention.
If you need help or have other cat health questions, call us at 800.786.4751.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.