Can You Use Cat Flea and Tick Products on Dogs?

Jennifer Grota, DVM
By Jennifer Grota, DVM on May 26, 2022
woman holding a treat up for her brown cocker spaniel

We all know the importance of protecting your canine and feline family members from fleas and ticks. But it’s equally important to use the correct flea and tick prevention product on your cat and dog.

Flea and tick prevention products are specially formulated for either a feline or canine pet and should never be used interchangeably.

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Cat Flea and Tick Products on Dogs

Pet Size Difference

Cats weigh less than most dogs, and size really does matter when it comes to appropriate flea and tick products. The amount of medication used to protect cats may not be enough to protect a typical dog. Most products are also dosed according to weight, not just species, so be sure to read labels carefully to select the product that it based on your pet’s current weight.

You should have your cat weighed annually to ensure you are using the right dosage of flea and tick medication each month.

Difference in Medication Strength

The strength, or dose of medication used in cat flea and tick products is very different from what is used for dogs. Some brands of flea and tick products have options for both cats and dogs, however, the different versions are not interchangeable. For example, Frontline Gold for cats should not be used on dogs, and vice versa.

Different Ingredients in Medication

The ingredients in cat flea and tick products can vary significantly from those used in products designed for dogs. While these ingredients are very safe and effective for cats, they are unlikely to provide adequate protection against fleas and ticks if used on dogs. Some ingredients that are safe and effective for dogs are toxic to cats, including pyrethrins and permethrins.

Lifestyle of Dogs

Most dogs spend significantly more time outdoors than cats and may travel to areas that are more heavily infested with fleas and ticks than a cat’s home environment. Some dogs may swim or play in water and would need a waterproof topical flea and tick product.

Flea and tick products may not be formulated to have a higher level of medicine in a waterproof product for dogs. Flea and tick products for cats have typically less volume, different strengths, and contain different types of medication making them unsuitable for protecting dogs against fleas and ticks.

This potential higher level of exposure is just one more reason why the smaller volume, different strength, and different types of medication in cat products make them inappropriate for protecting dogs against fleas and ticks.

Flea and Tick Medication Products for Dogs

There are many brands and types of flea and tick products designed for dogs, including topical (applied to the skin), oral, and collar options. Work with your veterinarian to select the best product for your dog based on its lifestyle and health needs.

Some of the most common flea and tick medications for dogs include:

It’s equally important to never use dog flea and tick dog products on your cat. This is extremely dangerous because dog products may be much stronger and may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats. If you have questions about which product to choose for your cat or dog, ask your veterinarian for guidance.

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Jennifer Grota, DVM


Jennifer Grota, DVM


Dr. Grota decided at an early age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. A native of Indiana, she grew up in a home where animals were...

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