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Does Sevin Dust Kill Fleas on Cats? Vet Reviewed Risks & Safety Explored

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Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Jordyn Alger

Vet approved

	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sevin Dust is an insecticide with active ingredients, including carbaryl, bifenthrin, and zeta-cypermethrin. It is commonly used in garden spaces to kill unwanted pests.

Sevin Dust should never be used directly on your cat, it is highly toxic to cats.

In this article, we will discuss why Sevin Dust is dangerous for cats and which flea treatments are safe for cats, so keep reading to learn more.

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Does Sevin Dust Kill Fleas?

Sevin Dust is a garden and yard product. It must not be used directly on any animals and must be used with appropriate safety precautions 1. It is highly toxic to cats and fish.

Sevin Dust is manufactured to eradicate insect pests, and that includes fleas. In fact, it is reportedly effective at killing fleas, as it can eliminate them on contact and remain active for long periods. However, for Sevin Dust to kill fleas, it must come in direct contact with them.

One downside to Sevin Dust as a flea killer is that it does not repel fleas or kill the eggs (although it can kill larvae). Likewise, Sevin Dust can only be used outdoors.

It could be used to eradicate fleas from outdoor spaces but never on pet bedding or pets themselves.

Cat with fleas
Image Credit: Maja Marjanovic, Shutterstock

How Long Does Sevin Dust Last After Application?

A great benefit to Sevin Dust is that it lasts for a long time after application—three months, to be exact. However, rain or other inclement weather may wash away the Sevin Dust or decrease its effectiveness. Once the 3 months have passed or the effectiveness has worn off, you can reapply it.

Keep track of when you apply Sevin Dust to your yard or outdoor area, especially if your cat plays outside. Since this insecticide can be active for so long, you must keep your cat away from the spots where the product was applied. Exposure to this insecticide can lead to disastrous consequences for your cat. Follow the manufacturer guidelines for proper use and exclusion times for pets.

Why Is Sevin Dust Dangerous for Cats?

Sevin Dust is dangerous for cats because it contains insecticides known as pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are toxic to cats as they cannot effectively metabolize these chemicals through their liver.

Toxicity from insecticides can occur due to overexposure or misuse of the product. Applying Sevin Dust directly to your cat would be an example of misuse. Therefore, you must never place Sevin Dust directly on your cat.  Fortunately the pyrethrins present in Sevin Dust are at a low percentage concentration which reduces the risk to cats.

Another way that cats can come into contact with pyrethrins is by owners mistakenly applying a dog flea product onto their cat, or the cat grooming it off a dog. These products tend to have a concentration around 40-50% pyrethrins and are highly toxic to cats.

close up fleas on cat
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

Signs of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats

If you suspect that your cat may have been exposed to pyrethrins, contact your veterinarian straight away.  There are some signs that you can watch out for, of course not all cats will exhibit every sign listed in this article. Occasionally, some cats may even display signs opposite to those mentioned below. However, there will almost certainly be a clear indication that something is wrong with your cat, either due to physical signs or strange changes in behavior.

Signs of insecticide toxicity include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Excessive salivation or drooling
  • Anorexia
  • Muscle tremors
  • Heightened heart rate
  • Constricted pupils
  • Lack of coordination or difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet immediately and remove your cat from the environment where the insecticide is (such as the garden) and stop using the product entirely.

flea combing a tabby cat, looking for fleas
Image Credit: Simone Hogan, Shutterstock

What Are the Flea Treatment Products Available for My Cat?

While Sevin Dust is not a safe product to use on your cat, plenty of feline flea treatments are on the market to help you out. You can find shampoos, powders, sprays, topical treatments, and oral medications. However, avoid using shop bought products and rely on your vet for an effective prescription. Cats should never be exposed to a flea killer designed for dogs since it contains toxic chemicals that can harm them. Your vet can prescribe a topical treatment that kills the fleas in hours and protects your cat for up to 3 months.

Although vet-approved flea treatments are effective, you’ll also have to treat your home for fleas. Sevin Dust cannot be used in your home, and some store-bought pesticides can harm your cat. It’s best to contact a professional exterminator that uses pet-friendly chemicals to eradicate the flea population on your property.

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Final Thoughts

Sevin Dust is an effective insecticide that is not designed for treating feline flea infestations. When Sevin Dust comes into contact with our beloved pets, toxicity can occur. It can be used outside to kill insect pests by carefully following the manufacturer guidelines. Therefore, it is best to contact your vet to determine which flea treatment is right for you and your cat.

Related Read:

Featured Image credit:, Shutterstock

About the Author

Jordyn Alger
Jordyn Alger
Cats are Jordyn’s passion. Whenever she has the opportunity she loves to learn about animals and share her knowledge with everyone. She is devoted to her sassy tabby cat named Jack and works hard to buy him his favorite treats and toys. Discovering new ways to better care for her cat is always on her to-do list, and she is eager to help pet parents everywhere. In Jordyn's spare time, she loves to write, read, and take long walks. She has a creative spirit, which often helps her to come up with funny cat names.

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