Beware of Bifenthrin

We all know how curious our canine friends can be, and when left unsupervised, they can get themselves into serious trouble! Unfortunately, you may have toxic substances in your backyard right now and not even know it. For example, common insecticides may contain a concerning active ingredient, Bifenthrin.

Bifenthrin is used professionally and privately to reduce the insect population in the area in which it is spread. Bifenthrin can be found in many different forms, including granules, sprays, and aerosols. This insecticide is often seen in fire ant baits and can be purchased at most hardware or lawn and garden stores. Dogs are very sensitive to bifenthrin and can develop gastrointestinal and neurologic abnormalities.

Many insecticides have pet warnings on the packaging and will list the amount of time the product will need to dry before it is safe for the pet to be in the area. The EPA suggests a minimum of 4 hours dry time and applying when rain is not expected for a 24 hour period. In addition, turn any lawn watering systems off for 24 hours after application. If you use a professional lawn care company, be sure to obtain product information including active ingredient and concentration.

Even under the watchful eye of the most attentive pet owners, an accidental exposure may still occur. If your pet is demonstrating signs consistent with a bifenthrin exposure or you suspect an exposure has occurred, contact Pet Poison Helpline, and seek immediate veterinary care.

Written by:

Trevor Altman, Pet Poison Helpline DVM Student Extern, Iowa State University, Class of 2024

Samantha Koch, CVT, Pet Poison Helpline Representative II