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The essentials

  • Pet-safe products are becoming increasingly available  — Even in the time of genetically modified organisms and big agriculture, companies are making an effort to create products that are safe and effective around pets.
  • The EPA has outlined a list of minimum-risk products — There are some must-have ingredients to look for when choosing a pet-safe bug spray for your home. The EPA suggests you look for food-grade ingredients and edible fats and oils.
  • Be cautious with “natural” remedies — Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it will be safe or effective. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to consult your vet before trying something new and natural.

Creating a pet-safe environment is paramount for pet owners, especially when it comes to keeping our homes free from pests without harming our furry friends. 

With a plethora of options available, finding the right pest control product that is safe around pets can be overwhelming. To ease this task, we’ve curated a list of 10 certified pet-safe pesticides that will keep your pets safe and your home pest-free.

A quick look at pet-safe pesticides

When looking for pet-safe pesticides, search for products that use natural ingredients known to be less harmful to animals. Ingredients like diatomaceous earth, citronella, and certain essential oils can offer protection against pests without posing a significant risk to pets.

The following chart offers a quick reference to some of the best pet-safe pest control products available, highlighting key information to help you choose wisely.

The best pet-safe pesticides in 2024

Product Great for Price Safe for
Spectracide Home Stop Bug Barrier Roaches, ants, spiders, and other indoor pests $15.00 / 32 fl. oz. Pets, kids, and homes
Wondercide Natural Flea, Tick & Mosquito Spray Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes $26.99 / 16 fl. oz. Dogs, kids, and homes, *toxic to cats
Paws and Claws Pet Spray Fleas, ticks, and mites $39.95 / 32 fl. oz. Pets and it’s eco-friendly
NatureShield Low-Odor Insect & Pest Repellent Garden pests $75.00 / 2 gallons Pets, lawns, and gardens
Dr. Killigan’s Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Killer Household pests $24.97 / 24 fl. oz. Pets and homes
Raid Essentials Ant, Spider, and Roach Ants, spiders, and roaches $7.99 / 10 fl. oz. Pets, kids, and homes
Skout’s Honor Flea + Tick Dog & Home Spray Fleas and ticks $19.99 / 28 fl. oz. Dogs, kids, and homes. Can be applied directly onto your dog, *may be toxic to cats
EcoSMART Organic Home Pest Control Various home pests $12.42 / 24 fl. oz. Pets and homes, plus it’s organic
Orange Guard Home Pet Control Wide range of insects $16.22 / 32 fl. oz. Pets, kids, and homes
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray Fleas and ticks in indoor areas $16.91 / 32 fl. oz. Dogs, lawns, and kennels, *toxic to cats

Best for indoor use: Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier

Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier is designed to kill ants, roaches, spiders, and other indoor pests on contact while being safe to use around children and pets when used as directed. Its non-staining formula makes it ideal for use inside your home without worry

Active ingredient: Gamma-cyhalothrin.

Great for fleas: Wondercide Natural Flea, Tick & Mosquito Spray

Wondercide offers a natural solution to keep fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes at bay without the use of harsh chemicals. Safe for dogs, cats, and even humans, this spray can be used indoors and outdoors to create a protective barrier around your home. Make sure you let the product dry fully before reintroducing pets to the area.

Active ingredients: Cedar oil, lemongrass oil, sesame oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate (from coconut).

Eco-Friendly option: Paws and Claws Pet Spray

Paws and Claws Pet Spray uses natural cedar oil to repel and control fleas, ticks, and mites. It’s an eco-friendly option that’s safe for pets, people, and the planet. This spray is effective at creating a natural barrier against pests without the use of harmful chemicals.

Active ingredients: Cedar oil, hydrated silica

For the gardening enthusiast: NatureShield Low-Odor Insect & Pest Repellent

For those who love gardening but want to keep their pets safe, this bug spray is ideal. It repels ants, roaches, spiders, flies, and fleas with natural essential oils and is safe to use around your garden and outdoor living spaces. 

Plus, you can apply it to a large area conveniently by adding it to your sprinkler system, or by attaching a pump sprayer or garden hose directly to the container. One of the main ingredients, cinnamon oil, can be toxic to pets, so be sure to allow five days for the product to dissipate before letting them back out to play.

Active ingredients: Cedar oil, cinnamon oil, propanoic acid, 2-hydroxy-, ethyl ester.

Safe for sensitive noses: Dr. Killigan's Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Killer

Dr. Killigan’s Six Feet Under is a testament to the power of natural ingredients. It’s crafted to combat ants, roaches, and other household pests without the harsh chemicals that can irritate pets and humans alike. You’ll want to ensure the product is diluted due to its main ingredient, clove oil, which can be dangerous if high concentrations are ingested.

Ingredients: Clove oil, cottonseed oil, and other plant-powered ingredients.

Quick action: Raid Essentials Ant, Spider, and Roach Killer

Raid Essentials offers a pet-friendly solution that doesn’t compromise on effectiveness. Designed for indoor use, it acts quickly to eliminate ants, spiders, and roaches, ensuring your home remains a safe haven for its two- and four-legged occupants. Like with Wondercide, you’ll need to ensure the product has fully dried before reintroducing your pets to the area.  

Active ingredients: Geraniol (from pine trees), lemongrass.

Plant-based protection with a purpose: Skout's Honor Flea + Tick Dog & Home Spray

Skout’s Honor takes pride in its eco-friendly and biodegradable flea and tick spray, which is safe for pets, families, and the home. Its plant-based formula is gentle yet effective, offering peace of mind to environmentally conscious pet owners. You can apply it to affected areas of your home or directly to your dog. And with Skout’s Paw Pledge™, you can feel doubly good knowing your purchase is protecting your pet while feeding another in need. Use only as directed as high concentrations can be toxic. 

Active ingredients: Cedarwood oil, peppermint oil.

For the organic home: EcoSMART Organic Home Pest Control

EcoSMART leads the way in organic pest solutions, using a blend of essential oils to safely eliminate pests. When used as directed, its non-toxic formula is perfect for households that prioritize organic living, ensuring pets are exposed to nothing but natural ingredients. Never use more than the suggested amount as high concentrations can be toxic. 

Active ingredients: Peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and other essential oils.

Kid and pet-friendly: Orange Guard Home Pest Control

Orange Guard’s water-based formula uses orange peel extract to deter a wide range of insects. It’s safe around kids and pets, making it an ideal choice for families seeking effective and non-toxic pest control solutions. The active ingredient D-limonene can be harmful if ingested and cause liver damage, so keep an eye on your pets after application.

Active ingredients: D-limonene (orange peel extract).

For lawn lovers: Vet's Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray

Vet’s Best offers a solution for outdoor spaces, targeting fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without harming vegetation or pets. It’s perfect for treating up to 5,000 square feet of lawn, garden, or kennel area, keeping outdoor playtime safe and enjoyable. High concentrations of its active ingredient, peppermint oil, can be harmful. Be sure you allow plenty of time for the product to dry and dissipate before letting your pets roam free outdoors. 

Ingredients: Peppermint oil and eugenol (from clove plants).

Natural remedies to pesticides

In our quest to maintain a pest-free home without compromising the health and safety of our beloved pets, it’s tempting to turn exclusively to natural remedies. After all, “natural” sounds inherently safe and gentle, right? However, it’s important to remember that natural isn’t always synonymous with better or safer for our furry friends. 

Some natural substances can be just as harmful, if not more so, than their synthetic counterparts if used improperly. This doesn’t mean we should avoid them altogether — many natural remedies offer effective and eco-friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides. The key is to use them wisely and with an understanding of their effects on pets.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. It works by physically dehydrating insects upon contact. While it’s non-toxic to humans and pets, it’s crucial to choose food-grade diatomaceous earth and use it in moderation, as inhaling the dust can irritate the lungs.

Vinegar solution

A simple mixture of vinegar and water can deter many types of insects. Vinegar’s strong scent is unappealing to pests like ants and spiders, making it a great natural repellent. However, its acidic nature means it should be used cautiously around pets, ensuring they don’t ingest or come into direct contact with the solution.

Essential oils

Certain essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass, are known for their pest-repellent properties — and many products above feature them. They can be diluted and sprayed around the home to create a barrier against pests. 

Yet, it’s vital to remember that some essential oils can be toxic to pets, especially cats, if used excessively or improperly. Always research and use a safe concentration, and consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new scents into your pet-friendly home.

Tips for a pet-safe, pest-free home

With the right approach and mindful practices, you can protect your pets from harmful chemicals and ensure your home remains a pest-free zone. Here are some practical tips to achieve just that:

  • Choose pet-safe products. Always opt for pesticides and repellents that are certified as safe for use around pets. Look for natural ingredients and check for any specific pet-related safety information on the label.
  • Read labels carefully. Before using any product, read the label thoroughly to understand how it works, where it can be safely applied, and any necessary precautions to keep your pets safe.
  • Wait after application. Pesticides can linger on grass and surfaces for a while. Wait the recommended amount of time — as stated on the product’s label — before allowing pets to play in treated areas.
  • Store products safely. Keep all pest control products in a secure place, out of reach of curious paws and noses. This helps prevent accidental ingestion or exposure.
  • Regular pet checks. After walks or playtime outside, check your pet for ticks, fleas, and other pests. Early detection can prevent these critters from becoming a bigger problem.
  • Maintain your yard. Regularly mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and removing standing water can greatly reduce the presence of pests in your outdoor spaces.
  • Consult with a vet. If you’re unsure about the safety of a product or if your pet has unique health concerns, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Know the signs of pesticide poisoning

As diligent as we might be in creating a safe and healthy environment for our pets, we can’t control the practices and products used beyond our own lawns — such as at dog parks or in neighborhood green spaces. 

This is why it’s important to know the signs of pesticide poisoning in pets. Understanding these symptoms can help us act swiftly and seek veterinary care as soon as necessary, potentially saving our pet’s life.  

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning in pets

  • Excessive salivation or drooling. This is an early sign that your pet may have ingested something harmful.
  • Vomiting. Keep an eye out for vomiting soon after visiting a new or suspect area.
  • Diarrhea. Like vomiting, diarrhea is a clear indication of gastrointestinal distress.
  • Lethargy or weakness. If your usually energetic pet is suddenly sluggish or weak, it could be a sign of poisoning.
  • Seizures. In severe cases, exposure to certain chemicals can trigger seizures.
  • Difficulty breathing. Watch for any signs of respiratory distress, which could indicate inhalation of toxic substances.
  • Muscle tremors. Uncontrolled shaking or tremors can be a symptom of neurotoxic poisoning.

Exposure to ANY of these products can be harmful in some cases. Keep all of these products out of reach of pets and children, even if it says "pet safe." Any trouble breathing or seizure activity warrants a trip to the ER.

Dr. Erica Irish

🚨Contact the Poison Pet Helpline if you suspect pesticide poisoning, (855) 764-7661.

Your pets aren’t just animals — they’re cherished members of your family. That’s why it’s so important to make informed choices about what to use in and around your home. 

Choosing pet-safe products isn’t just a precaution; it’s a way to show your love and commitment to your pet’s well-being. And with so many options available today, you don’t have to compromise on safety for effectiveness.

Frequently asked questions

How do you get rid of bugs without harming your pets?

To safely eliminate bugs without risking your pets’ health, opt for pet-friendly products like diatomaceous earth for fleas or a vinegar solution for ants. Always choose treatments labeled as safe for pets and follow the instructions carefully. Natural remedies and preventive measures, such as maintaining a clean home and using essential oils wisely, can also help keep pests at bay.

Are backyard mosquito sprays safe?

Many backyard mosquito sprays can be safe for pets if used correctly. Look for products specifically labeled as pet-safe and follow the application instructions to the letter. Consider natural alternatives, like planting mosquito-repellent plants or using citronella candles, to add an extra layer of safety for your furry friends.

How long after spraying pesticides is it safe for pets?

The safe re-entry time can vary based on the product used. Generally, it’s recommended to wait until the pesticide has dried completely before allowing pets back into the treated area. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to 24 hours. Always check the product label for specific guidance.

How do you make homemade pest control?

A simple homemade pest control solution can be made with ingredients like vinegar, water, and a few drops of dish soap to tackle aphids or mites. For a natural repellent, mix water with essential oils like peppermint or lavender. Remember, though, what’s safe for humans may not always be safe for pets, so use these solutions cautiously around your furry family members.

How do I get rid of bugs in my house naturally?

Getting rid of bugs naturally involves a combination of cleanliness, preventive measures, and natural deterrents. Keep your home clean, seal up entry points, and use natural repellents like diatomaceous earth for fleas or a vinegar spray for ants. Introducing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, into your garden can also help control pest populations outdoors.