Protect your cat or dog from these common chemicals

consumer reports
Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 14:10:39-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A first-of-its-kind study is raising concerns about a certain potentially toxic group of chemicals that may be exposed to pets.

You wouldn't knowingly expose your pets to dangerous chemicals, but they can be found in cosmetics, fabrics, and plastics that you probably have in your home.

Researchers from New York University's Grossman School of Medicine looked at "aromatic amines," which are chemicals found in dyes. They found eight types of such chemicals in stool samples collected from dozens of cats and dogs. Researchers also found traces of the chemicals in more than 38% of urine samples taken from a separate group of pets. The chemicals are also found in a common plea control medication called Amitraz.

"The insecticides, like Amitraz, can break down in the body of pets to produce a cancer-causing chemical. It was not known so studies like this shed light," said Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, with NYU Langone Health.

Veterinarians say the benefits of the flea medication that protects pets against harmful diseases fleas can carry outweigh the risks.

"There are some natural flea and tick products that can be used both topical oils and orals. They may not be quite as effective as some of the prescribed medications, but there are indeed some they're out there," said Joshua Lachowicz, a veterinary oncologist at BluePearl.

Experts say another option could be limiting flea products during colder times of the year.

As far as household products that could potentially expose your pets to certain chemicals, experts say choosing more natural products that have a lower concentration of dyes is an option.

More research into the link between exposure to the chemicals and bladder, thyroid and testicular cancer in pets has been planned.

Vets say this underscores the importance of routine screenings and discussing with your vet what's safest for your pet.