Permethrin for Dogs

Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide also known as a pyrethroid class insecticide that’s used to kill and control flea infections in dogs. There are several commercial products that contain permethrin in combination with certain insect growth inhibitors. Over the years there has been increasing controversy about the use of permethrin in pet products.

Since permethrin is highly toxic to cats, pet owners have to exert extreme caution if they use the product around felines. Since permethrin is often present in certain household pesticides and insecticides, it’s important to read product labels when purchasing chemicals to disinfect or spray the home.

How Permethrin Works

Permethrin is known to act on the nervous system of parasites like fleas and cause paralysis. It thus stops fleas from biting the dog, 5 minutes after it has been applied. When used in combination with drugs such as imidacloprid, the medication works effectively to kill both adult fleas and flea larvae.

Since the medication also repels fleas and mosquitoes for a month after application, it protects dogs from contracting Lyme disease and other parasitic infections. Although it’s beneficial to use permethrin based products when flea infections are high, pet owners should look for alternative methods of flea control without solely relying on topical solutions, flea dips and collars.

Most commercial formulas that use permethrin as an active ingredient contain only small amounts of the chemical.

Commercial Products that Contain Permethrin

  • K9 Advantix
  • Bio Spot for dogs
  • Virbac Knockout Fogger 
  • Proticall for dogs

Precautions When Using Permethrin

Each pet responds differently to products that contain permethrin. If you keep cats in the same household, you should avoid using permethrin based products on your dog. This is because even the smallest amount of permethrin is toxic to cats.

Some of the known side effects that develop in pets treated with permethrin include

  • rash
  • redness at the application site
  • hair loss
  • discoloration

Most products that contain permethrin aren’t safe for use on dogs under 4 weeks of age, pets that are pregnant or lactating. Although the permethrin based products are available as over the counter medications, its best to seek prior vet approval before treating the pet.

These products may also not be ideal for elderly dogs and pets with underlying medical conditions.

Permethrin Usage

The dosage and frequency of use of any permethrin based product depends on the dog’s age and weight. Pet owners must read all the instructions listed on the package and consult the vet if in doubt. As a care taker, it’s important to wear gloves when applying any product to the dog’s body. Make sure that the product doesn’t come in contact with your skin or the pet’s eyes, mouth, nose and genitals. Products that contain permethrin should be kept away from sunlight and should be out of reach of both children and pets. Leftover medications should also be discarded in the appropriate manner.

To rid your dog of fleas, you should adopt a multi-pronged approach to control fleas. Make sure you bathe the pet regularly and prevent him from roaming outdoors, particularly amidst grass and trees.