Adams Flea and Tick Spot on for Dogs

Risk Level: 
Use sparingly and avoid if pregnant or around young childrenUse sparingly and avoid if pregnant or around young children

Topical liquid flea treatment for dogs

Etofenprox -- 

Etofenprox is one of a class of synthetic chemicals, called pyrethroids, that are derived from natural chemicals found in chrysanthemums. The synthetic varieties are significantly more potent and persistent than naturally occurring products. Exposures to pyrethroids can result in a variety of symptoms, especially in pets, including drooling, lethargy, muscle tremors, vomiting, seizures and death. Toxicity symptoms in humans include asthmatic breathing, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, convulsions, facial flushing and swelling, and burning and itching sensation. [note #1] Early studies suggest that exposure to pyrethroids could impact the developing brain. [source] Etofenprox also disrupts the endocrine system, specifically thyroid hormone, and is toxic to the developing nervous system. Etofenprox, like other pyrethroids is known to be very toxic to cats, causing muscle tremors, seizures, salivation, vomiting and even death. Veterinarians caution against using pyrethroid containing products if there are cats in the home.

Note #1: EPA Pyrethrins/Pyrethroid Cumulative Risk Assessment, October, 2011 (EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0746-0003). Page 11

  • Toxic to the nervous system
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Very toxic to cats
S-Methoprene -- 

S-Methoprene is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), meaning that it halts the growth of chitin, the substance that creates the exoskeleton in insects. IGRs are effective against developing insects but not against adult insects with already developed exoskeletons. Because of this, IGRs are used to prevent an extended infestation. Since mammals do not produce chitin, insect growth regulators have little effect on humans. According to EPA S-Methoprene has a very low acute toxicity. [source]

S-Methoprene is listed as a least-toxic chemical control by the Integrated Pest Management Practitioner. It is listed on City and County of San Francisco Integrated Pest Management Program 2007 Reduced-Risk Pesticide List. [source] And it is listed on EcoWise Certified IPM Program Materials List.

  • Safer chemical -- however, all pesticides should be used with caution and in consultation with a veterinarian.
Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) -- 

Piperonyl Butoxide is an insecticide synergist which is combined with other insecticides to increase the effectiveness of the chemical by slowing its breakdown, and therefore increasing the time it is in its toxic form. [source] This also increases the time that the chemicals last in pets and people, and thus increases their ability to do damage.  A large dose of PBO may temporarily make other toxic chemicals less able to be tolerated when people are exposed.  PBO is a common component of insecticide formulations with pyrethrins and a number of pyrethroids, including permethrin and tetramethrin products.  A study found an association between prenatal exposure to PBO exposure and delays in neurodevelopment. [source] PBO is also classified as a possible carcinogen (EPA Group C). [source]

  • Possible human carcinogen
  • Toxic to the developing nervous system
Safer Alternatives: 
  • Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Vacuum the home once a week. Empty the vacuum bag and dispose its contents.
  • Comb daily with a fine-toothed flea comb and rinse the comb teeth in hot, soapy water between strokes.
  • Look for repellent sprays made with essential oils of lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary or thyme.
  • For severe problems that require chemical intervention, look for lower risk products such as those using Pyriproxyfen, Nitenpyram, Spinosad, S-Methoprene, or Lufenuron as the active ingredient. 
  • For more tips on safer flea and tick management, see How to Control Fleas and Ticks Without Chemicals.