Avoid Counterfeit Pesticide Products for Dogs and Cats
EPA is aware of counterfeit pet pesticides designed to look like legitimately registered pesticide products. The information on this page is intended to help consumers avoid unregistered pet products.
In addition, EPA may take civil or criminal enforcement action against those who sell, distribute, or import unregistered or counterfeit pet products, and has done so in the past.
- For example, EPA cooperated in the prosecution of a Rhode Island man for the Internet sale of counterfeit pet pesticides, leading to a prison sentence.
- In addition, in 2004 EPA issued stop sale, use, and removal orders (PDF) (4 pp, 361k, About PDF) to retailers and other distributors of counterfeit products for use on pets.
- How can I identify counterfeit products?
- I discovered that a dog product was contained in a package intended for use on cats. Will my cat be harmed if I apply the product to it?
- How should I dispose of a counterfeit product?
- Who should I contact if I discover counterfeit products in a store?
- Who can I contact if I suspect that my pet has been harmed by counterfeit products?
- Are counterfeit products a continuing problem?
- Is there a penalty for purchasing the counterfeit products?
There is no single characteristic that will identify all counterfeit products. Some of the issues that have been found include:
- Differences in weight between the outer package and the product inside
- Lack of directions in English
- Products not packaged in child-resistant packaging
- Missing directions for use
- Product in the container is not appropriate for the animal or size of animal pictured on the outside
- Stickers on the box to hide the foreign labeling
- EPA registration number is missing
- foreign labeled product with stickers containing some U.S. information
- foreign-labeled products.
I discovered that a dog product was contained in a package intended for use on cats. Will my cat be harmed if I apply the product to it?
If you discover inconsistencies like this, do not use it. Some dog products are toxic to cats. EPA encourages consumers to dispose of counterfeit pesticides they may have inadvertently purchased.
If you discover that you have one of the counterfeit products, you should contact your local solid waste agency for information on proper disposal in your community. Your local government may recommend that you take the product to a household hazardous waste collection program. If allowed by your local government, you may put the counterfeit product in your trash. You may also contact Earth 911 at 1-800-CLEANUP or http://search.earth911.com/ Exit to obtain community disposal information. At this page, search "pesticides" and your zip code. Read about safe pesticide disposal.
To identify your local solid waste agency, look in the government section of your phone book under categories such as solid waste, public works, or garbage, trash or refuse collection.
You should notify the store staff. You may also alert EPA to counterfeit products by visiting the Agency's Web site at for enforcement matters or by contacting our regional office serving your state. Find out which regional office serves your state.
First, contact your veterinarian for medical assistance and advice. In addition, the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) is a toll-free helpline (partly funded by EPA) designed to assist in providing answers to most questions regarding pesticides and pesticide poisonings. You can reach NPIC at 1-800-858-7378. View NPIC's website Exit
EPA is continuing to pursue this issue. Unfortunately, it is likely that counterfeit and other illegal products may still be available. You should be careful when purchasing products such as these to look for the indicators described above. In addition to the counterfeited products described above, other illegal versions of these products may be available, including the following:
These illegal products pose potential risks related to units of measure that are unfamiliar to U.S. consumers, lack of child-resistant packaging, lack of precautionary statements, and the potential for the pesticide itself to be other than what is indicated on the carton.
For individual consumers, there is no penalty for purchasing a counterfeit product. Penalties only apply to persons who distribute or sell counterfeit products. However, purchasing a counterfeit pesticide may place you and your family at risk. For example, first-aid treatment directions may not be immediately available in case of an emergency. Further, a child may be harmed if he or she is able to open a package that is not child-resistant. Thus, EPA is recommending that consumers dispose of product that has been discovered to be counterfeit.
For More Information
For more information and answers to your questions, go to EPA's Frequent Questions web page - Flea & Tick Products.