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Complete Guide to Permethrin for Dogs

Permethrin for dogs

Fleas and ticks can be one of the most frustrating and irritating aspects of owning a dog. They make your pets miserable and can be very dangerous for both them and the rest of your family. Fleas will invade your home, burrow into your carpets and bedding, and ridding them once they burrow in is often very difficult. There are several products available for dog owners that are effective in killing and repelling these harmful pests.

A common defense against fleas is the insecticide pyrethrin. Pyrethrin was developed after the chrysanthemum plant. When used properly and following the guidelines specified for the product, it can be safe and will keep unwanted insects from harming your dog. The active ingredient is Permethrin which is a synthetic-based insecticide.

How Effective is Permethrin?

When used as directed, Permethrin can eliminate your flea problem and prevent ticks and other insects on your dog. Since ticks and mosquitos carry dangerous diseases like Lyme, Powassan, and West Nile, it’s important to use a product that eliminates the risk from these pests as well.

Permethrin can be applied to your dog to help kill fleas and mosquitos for 35 days and ticks for six weeks. Not only does Permethrin work on these insects but it also prevents chiggers, mites, and over 55 other kinds of insects from bothering your dog. In addition, this product will not have a strong odor as Permethrin is water-based. Petroleum distillates within the formula help to eliminate the odor.

How to Use Permethrin for Dogs

The easiest and best product available for treating your dogs is made by the company Sawyer. This pre-mixed solution is ready for spraying. The great part is you can also use this to treat your own clothing and gear. 


Recommended: Sawyer Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent

Sawyer Permethrin is highly effective at repelling insects and ticks on dogs. It can also be used on your outdoor clothing and gear. Permethrin lasts up to 6 weeks on clothing or 6 washings, depending on which comes first.

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Please read the directions and precautions before applying Permethrin to your dog. In order for this insecticide to be applied safely and effectively, you should always follow the specific instructions and follow all recommendations.

If you don’t want to go with the ready-to-spray product shown above, you can always buy your own container of concentrated Permethrin. You will need to apply a 10% concentration mixed with water. The 10% concentrated mix is safe for dogs, and has been taken into consideration that dogs may lick themselves after application. Here are Sawyer’s recommended steps to apply Permethrin spray on dogs:

  • Begin spraying at the tail. Keep the dispenser moving rapidly and continue spraying forward until the entire body is covered. Make sure you coat the legs and underbelly.
  • As you are spraying, fluff the hair with your hand to ensure the spray penetrates the skin. Always wear protective gloves when applying.
  • Do not over-wet the dog with the spray. Be sure the spray reaches the skin but do not over-saturate.
  • Never spray the face or eyes.
  • Keep the spray away from genital areas.
  • Always ask your vet about using this product if your dog is pregnant, nursing, elderly, or has a medical condition.
  • Never use on cats and it may not be safe to use if you own cats.

If you have a cat, we recommend using Wondercide’s flea, tick, and mosquito spray. It’s specifically designed to be 100% safe for both dogs and cats. Its gentle formula also means you can use it more safely on puppies or senior dogs, as well.

Alternative: Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats

Wondercide is a great alternative to permethrin if you own cats or you’re worried about harming your dog’s skin. It kills and prevents fleas, ticks, and mosquitos using natural essential oils, making it safe for both pets and family.

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bottle of sawyer permethrin spray for dogs sitting on a fence

All pesticides may cause sensitivity after use. After using Permethrin, check for any signs of sensitivity in your dog. If he is displaying any symptoms, wash him with mild soap and rinse generously. If symptoms continue, call your veterinarian immediately. Some signs your dog is having a reaction to Permethrin may include the following:

  • Red, itchy, or irritated skin
  • Tremors in muscles
  • Lack of balance or uncoordinated movements
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

After you have applied Permethrin, it should be dry about 2 hours after application. It is safe for your dog to go out into the rain once the product has dried completely. It is recommended that humans and any other pets stay out of the area where the dog was treated for 1 to 2 hours to ensure the spray has settled and dried.

If used for treating indoor pests, use the 10% solution and mix with 1.33 ounces for every gallon of water. For the best results, we recommend using this in conjunction with another form of prevention, such as flea and tick collars.

Dipping for Fleas with Permethrin

A 10% solution of Permethrin can also be used for dipping as a flea solution. Use 2 ounces of Permethrin diluted with 3 gallons of water. Once mixed, you can dip, sponge, or spray your dog with the solution. Let the dog rest in a warm, dry place without toweling or rinsing. Wait at least 3 weeks before reapplying. As with spraying, consult your veterinarian if your dog is pregnant, nursing, elderly or taking medications for a medical condition.

Read Related Topic: 4 Best Dog Shampoos [Safe and Natural]

Safety Considerations

There are safety considerations for using Permethrin that every dog owner should know and understand. Permethrin can be toxic to dogs when their owners have not followed directions or apply more than the recommended dosage. Overdosing can cause serious health problems for your dog. This is why we strongly recommend using the pre-mixed ready-to-spray products offered by Sawyer. Then, all you have to do is keep records of when you apply the product and follow the recommended application timeline.

Another issue to be aware of is that Permethrin is toxic to cats. Cats are extremely susceptible to the toxic effects. Permethrin is only found in topical treatments so there is no danger of your cat accidentally eating your dog’s flea treatment. The danger lies in accidental contact. If your dog and cat share the same bedding, or you use it on a dog’s bandana and the cat rolls, licks, or plays with it when it was recently treated with Permethrin, this could kill your cat. However, all of this is applicable when the spray is still wet. Once the solution is dried, the dangerous effects for cats are reduced.

Permethrin is also toxic to fish and bees. It is not safe for dogs who have been treated with this product to go swimming in a pond or lake. The insecticide will leach into the water and pose a danger to the fish. 

Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other insects can jeopardize your dog’s health. As a dog owner, we have to find solutions to help keep our dogs healthy and happy. Consider using Permethrin to kill unwanted insects that may carry diseases and cause irritation and skin problems for your dog.

7 thoughts on “Complete Guide to Permethrin for Dogs”

    1. Just found this article! So helpful after i learned permethrin could be used pn dogs!. Just 1 question,when can i bath my dogs after application?

  1. So the Sawyer brand uses the synthetic perythium? Your sure Sawyer’s is completely safe when used as directed for healthy dogs that have no health problems or are not pregnant or nursing? Do you use it on your dogs?

  2. Just wondering if I can use the product in my Lab’s ears. I used the prescription med for no avail..She shakes her head constantly…Thank yo so much for any info!

    1. Same for my dog and fthry kept saying give a shot of apaquil or the other histamine blocker then finally I asked the vet what would be the harm in treating it anyway. He said no harm and prescribed a common topical for ear/skin mites called Tresaderm it worked immediately.

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