University of Florida

Pesticide Pet Safety

Pet owners may choose to use pesticides to rid their homes of unwanted pests, but they will want to ensure their pet’s safety when using these chemicals. Pesticides can be absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream through the eyes, nose, and mouth, and cause a variety of health risks.

Protect your pets from pesticides by keeping the following information in mind:

  • Store and use pesticides correctly to prevent pets from coming in contact with them.
  • Remove pets from rooms where you are spraying pesticides and allow sprays to dry completely before pets re-enter.
  • Remove your pet’s bedding, toys, and food and water dishes before you apply pesticides in a particular area. Also make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • Read and follow label instructions, which typically include information regarding safe and effective use, storage safety, first aid instructions, and who to contact during an emergency.
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers—never put these chemicals in food or beverage containers.
  • Use the entire product if a label instructs you to mix a pesticide in another container. Label the new container if you can’t use all the mixture.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet becomes lethargic, shows increased salivation, or has tremors or convulsions shortly after you apply a pesticide. If you apply a flea or tick pesticide directly on your pet, look for reactions such as drooling, tremors and seizures. Because pets can suffer these symptoms and even death from pesticide exposure, call your veterinarian immediately if you witness these warning signs.  

Refer to the pesticide label if you can’t get in contact with a veterinarian—most labels provide phone numbers that can be reached in the case of an emergency. Also, keep the contact information of your local poison control center near the phone. Whether you contact a veterinarian, a hotline, or a poison control center, have the pesticide’s product label in hand to refer to important information.

For more information on pesticide safety and veterinary emergencies, contact the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital emergency and critical care service at 352-392-2235.

Adapted and excerpted from:

F. M. Fishel, Protecting Your Pets from Pesticides (PI-81), UF/IFAS Agronomy Department (rev. 02/2013).

pesticide pet safety

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