Dealing effectively with fleas, lice, mites, ticks, and other external parasites often involves using insecticides on your pets, your home, and your yard. Insecticides are incorporated into powders, sprays, dusts, and dips. They are used both on the dog and to disinfect bedding, houses, kennels, runs, gardens, garages. and other spots where a dog could become reinfested.
There are four classes of insecticides in current use. In order of decreasing toxicity, they are:
1. Chlorinated hydrocarbons
2. Organophosphates and carbamates
3. Pyrethrins (natural and synthetic)
4. Natural insecticides, such as d-limonene
In addition, there are insect growth regulators that, although not insecticides, act to prevent insect reproduction. Because their action is limited to insects with a hard outer shell, they do not affect mammals.
Insecticides can be dangerous if not used properly, so it is important to follow all directions on the label and to use with them care. The diagnosis and treatment of insecticide poisoning is discussed in Poisoning. For a discussion of insecticides used in flea control, see Topical Insecticides for Flea Control. If your dog has open wounds or damaged skin, check with your veterinarian before applying any form of insecticide.
When you purchase an insecticide, be sure it is labeled as safe for use on dogs. Preparations manufactured for sheep and livestock can irritate the skin of dogs and even cause death.
Insecticides are poisons! Before using any insecticide, be sure to read and follow the directions of the manufacturer. This will prevent accidental poisoning from improper use.