I do not recommend using Hartz flea treatment of any kind. After reading these horrific stories, I suggest, with any chemical product you put on your pet, even if it comes from a vet, that you first try a test patch first. As women who use hair coloring know, the instructions read to first mix it up and dab it on the inside elbow of your arm and leave for a period of time. If there is any reaction, don’t use. If Hartz had this on their instructions, I believe many of these pets that had severe reactions within 12 hours may have been saved. Please don’t use any product on your pet without testing it first, put it on when you will be around your pet all day, put it where it can’t be licked off, look for a reaction periodically, even if you have used it before on the same pet. If there is a reaction, shampoo off immediately with regular dog/cat shampoo (without anti-flea product) or dawn detergent.
This is my experience with Hartz flea drops for dogs:
On Saturday, August 19, my husband told me he had seen fleas on our 25 pound cocker spaniel, and had applied flea drops. I asked him what kind of drops, and he told me Hartz (product he purchased because they were cheap). I was a bit upset, because Hartz was not recommended by our vet, and the Frontline package was in the same drawer next to the Hartz. It meant I would have to wash our pet, and wait several days before applying the Frontline, which I have had to do before. I was mad at myself for not throwing away the Hartz. I was extremely busy that weekend, and was too tired to give her a bath. We only have a flea problem in the fall.
The only odd thing I noticed during the week was that she did not want to go for our evening walks, something she always looks forward to. I work during the day and did not notice anything else unusual. The following Saturday when I awoke, she did not follow me to the kitchen. When she finally did get up, I fed her canned dog food, and she merely looked at it and went to the door. I took her outside, she did her business and laid down in the grass under a tree. I decided to leave her there for the time being, and put her on a long leash. I returned to inside the house, expecting her to immediately start barking to be let in. I kept checking on her, but she remained motionless in the grass. I finally brought her back inside the house.
She still had no interest in eating or drinking. I was concerned the new can of food that I opened and gave her the night before was tainted, and called the dog food company. She eventually finished that particular can days later with no ill effects when I became convinced she did not have the symptoms of bad food.
She was unable to jump up onto our bed, and I had to lift her up. I laid down too, and noticed she was trembling so hard the entire bed was shaking. She rolled over on her back. I began to stroke her tummy when I realized I could feel her heartbeat, which I had never really noticed before. It seemed to be pounding as though she had high blood pressure, and seemed to have an irregular beat. She was lethargic all day Saturday, and did not follow me around as usual. She seemed overly sensitive, she didn’t seem to want to be touched. She kept licking her tongue out, and I kept offering her water but she would not drink at all. I held her in my arms briefly, and she seemed very hot, so I put her down and she went and sat in front of a big window fan that sat running on the floor. She did not vomit or have diarrhea that I ever saw.
I called the vet at 7 pm to inquire whether the flea drops could be making her sick, or whether it was something she ate. She thought perhaps it was gastrointestinal, and that the flea drops usually cause a reaction within 12 hours. Still, with no vomiting or diarrhea, I had my doubts. She was up to date on all her vaccinations.
I began to search the internet and came across this site, and was horrified by all the stories. I immediately put her in the bathtub, sick as she was, and scrubbed her with Dawn detergent. Usually she tries to escape, but she just stood there and let me bathe her.
She was still trembling intermittently the following day, Sunday, but she was better. Later that evening, she finally began to eat dry food from her dish, and drink water. At the time I was cooking boiled chicken and rice, two things that the vet said would be good for her and may entice her to eat.
She seems back to normal now, although I do notice she seems to have slight trouble with her hind legs still. She stumbled when going up three steps from the street to a sidewalk, and she seems to walk a little different viewed from behind—perhaps her joints are stiff. She still refuses to go for walks, so I think she must still be hurting.
I looked at the site on her back where the flea drops had been applied, and there is no hair missing, no redness, but even though she didn’t have a severe reaction as many of the letters indicate, I believe she did have a reaction that took time to build up as the chemical soaked into her body over the week.
Many people will say, well my dog/cat didn’t have a reaction with Hartz, so it’s ok for me to use. But, just because your pet did not have a severe reaction, or any reaction you noticed, it does not mean there will not be any long-term effects of having this chemical in the body, even for a relatively short period of time. Your pet can’t tell you how it hurts, and it may show up as a disease or organ failure, and you will never know for sure what caused it.