Skip to main content
a puppy and a kitten

Don't Share Medications

Friday, May 18, 2018

Using the same medication on your cat that you use on your dog is NOT a good idea. It is important to use flea and tick preventives all year long; however, DVM 360 reports that the medicine you use on your dog can be harmful to your cat.

Cat flea and tick preventive medication protects your cat inside and outside because fleas and ticks carry bacteria and parasites that can cause serious and even fatal disease in domestic cats.

Many prescription and over-the-counter flea and tick medications labeled for dogs (usually ones you apply topically rather than have your dog swallow) contain a synthetic compound called permethrin. Permethrin is safe for dogs but toxic to cats.

If a product containing permethrin is mistakenly applied to or eaten by a cat, the cat can suffer seizures, a coma, and even death.

Flea and tick products that contain permethrin should always be labeled for use in dogs only. Some of these products also contain warnings to never use on a cat, but these warnings are sometimes small and hard to read.

Store your dog’s flea and tick products separately from products for your cat. The packaging is similar and the print is small so it can be easy to grab the wrong product by mistake.

Also, keep your dog away from your cat right after applying flea and tick medicine, as even close contact with permethrin can harm your cat.

Never split single doses of flea and tick medication between your dog and cat. In addition to toxicity concerns, dosing will be incorrect. Your pets won’t get the protection they need, which could cause a flea infestation or tick problem.

Your veterinarian will be able to give you direct guidance on the best products for your cat.

Flea and tick products purchased from your veterinarian or your veterinarian’s online pharmacy (instead of from a big box store), should come with a prescription label that clearly states whether the product is safe for cats.

Your veterinarian is always ready to help with any questions you may have about the health and welfare of your pets. Just ask.

by Elisabeth Giedt, DVM

 Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.  Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.

Back To Top
SVG directory not found.