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Is Ortho Home Defense Safe For Pets? (Benefits, Risks and Preventions)

Commercial bug killers like Ortho Home Defense are usually safe to use around pets as long as you take the necessary precautions. When pets come into contact with the pesticides, usually through improper use or insufficient storage, they’re likely to suffer from issues such as:

  • Poisoning
  • Chemical burns
  • Long-term effects (i.e. canine malignant lymphoma)

When used as directed, the benefits of Ortho Home Defense often outweigh the risks. In this article, we explore the benefits and risks of using this product, as well how you can protect your pets, regardless of what pesticide you use.

Benefits of Using Ortho Home Defense With Pets in the Home

The Ortho Home Defense line provides a fast-acting, effective, and affordable insect killer for treatment inside and outside of your home. This includes products varieties such as:

  • Indoor and outdoor insect barrier sprays (with applicator wands)
  • Pesticide powders
  • Landscape sprays
  • Bait traps
  • Crevice and crack sprays
  • Foggers

The Ortho Home Defense line covers bugs known to cause health complications for your pets, such as ants, fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes. Furthermore, Ortho Home Defense spray deals with insects that may scare your kid, including spiders, roaches, or beetles.

A single application offers up to 12 months of continuous protection, keeping your household safe from harmful insects.

In most cases, using home defense sprays as directed is safe around your pets, and it decreases the potential for pest-related illnesses in the future.

Risks of Using Ortho Home Defense With Pets in the Home

Most of the risk to pets regarding Ortho Home Defense revolves around misuse or improper storage. The severity of the risk to pet safety depends on:

  • The species and size of your pet
  • The concentration of the active ingredients
  • Other ingredients in the solution

Usually, large animals such as horses and cattle will experience little to no adverse effects from Ortho Home Defense. Dogs may become irritable or start to gag and vomit after mild exposure, whereas consuming the product directly may result in death.

Some ingredients in Ortho Home Defense pose a higher threat to small animals such as cats, fish, or birds. At this size, even mild contact may prove fatal.

To better understand the toxicity-related results specific to Ortho Home Defense, we must look at the active ingredients in Ortho Home Defense: Bifenthrin (0.05%) and Zeta-Cypermethrin (0.0125%).

Risks of Bifenthrin to Pet Safety

Bifenthrin acts as an insectoid and derives from the pyrethrin family. Both natural and synthetic forms are generally safe for use around pets.

Exposure for canines may lead to symptoms such as gagging, drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, or agitation. Ingesting a large amount, which is unlikely to occur when used properly, can cause issues such as seizures, incoordination, and (rarely) death.

Other animals, such as cats, fish, or birds, are more sensitive, and the slightest exposure may prove fatal. For these animals, it’s even more essential to prevent exposure and monitor them closely after reintroduction to a treated area.

Risks of Zeta-Cypermethrin to Pet Safety

Risks of Zeta-Cypermethrin to Pet Safety

Zeta-Cympermithrin is a more novel approach to pest control. It complements other pesticide ingredients by controlling an insect population, and many agricultural centers use it around crops and animals.

It’s unlikely that the zeta-cypermethrin in Ortho Home Defense will harm your pets when you use it as directed. Even if they ingest it by licking the applied area after it dries, the effects would be mild at worst.

The exception to this is aquatic invertebrates or fish. This chemical is highly toxic to these types of pets, and you should avoid contact at all costs.

How to Keep Pets Safe While Using Ortho Home Defense

Ortho Home Defense is safe for pets, but only if you take proper precautions while using and storing the pesticide. This includes:

  • Reading and respecting the product label
  • Using the product as directed
  • Keeping your pets away from the area until it has time to dry
  • Keeping Ortho Home Defense locked away when not in use

Responsible use lets you unlock the pest-control benefits while diminishing the risk of illness, injury, or death to your pets.

1. Respect the Label

Reading the label on your Ortho Home Defense product sets the baseline for safe use around pets. The pesticide label tells you important details regarding:

  • Storing your product
  • Safe and effective use and procedures
  • First aid instructions (in case of emergency)

Ortho Home Defense labels explicitly state that “people and pets may enter treated areas after spray has dried”.

It’s important that you do not store your Ortho Home Defense in any container other than the one that it came in. The bottle is specially designed to house the potent chemicals in Ortho Home Defense, and having a list of ingredients on hand can help a veterinarian zero in on treatment in an emergency.

2. Use as Directed

Use as Directed

The exact method for safe use varies depending on the specific Ortho Home Defense product you use. Make sure you differentiate between indoor and outdoor directions for use.

Pay attention to directions beyond general use. Some that you may miss include:

  • Removing or washing your pet’s toys
  • Washing food-processing surfaces (including pet food and water dishes)
  • Avoiding spraying the product in the air (even while outside)

Follow the instructions down to the letter to keep your home safe for your pets.

3. Limit Pet Contact Until Dry

The Ortho label vaguely states that people and pets may re-enter a treated area only after the spray has dried. This takes about 2 to 3 hours for outside application, and can take as much as 6 to 8 hours when you use Ortho Home Defense inside.

It’s best to find a way to get your pets out of the house while you treat pests. Some ideas include:

  • Sending them to a pet daycare for the day
  • Treating for pests while your pet has a vet or grooming appointment
  • Spending time with them outside

If you’re treating both indoors and outdoors, make sure you plan ahead. You don’t want to overlap application times and leave your pets without a safe space to hang out.

4. Keep Product Locked Away When Not in Use

The biggest risk of Ortho Home Defense to pet safety involves accidental consumption. In a perfect world our pets wouldn’t chew on dangerous things. Unfortunately, we need to plan ahead to prevent accidents just like this.

If you have leftover product that you need to store, keep it in the original container and find an area your pets are unlikely to access. The ideal location is locked away in a well-ventilated area, such as a utility shed.

Make sure you do not store the pesticide in an easily accessible cabinet or near food, animal products, or medical supplies. Cross-contamination can be just as devastating as direct contact, especially with felines or small animals.

Dispose of empty containers outside and make sure your pets cannot fish the bottle out of the trash.

If there is any solution leftover, contact your local solid waste company to find a suitable method of disposal. Dumping it in your home runs a high toxicity risk to you, your pets, and the environment.

Common Pet Poisoning Symptoms to Watch For

While Ortho Home Defense is usually safe for pets, it’s important to understand what poisoning symptoms you should watch for and how you should respond. These may come about at any time, but most symptoms materialized within 24 hours of exposure.

Common Pet Poisoning Symptoms to Watch For

Watch out for signs of poisoning, such as:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Excessive drinking
  • Tremors, seizures, or erratic behavior
  • Problems breathing
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea

It’s best to err on the side of caution and take your pet into the vet at the first sign of poisoning. The sooner you seek treatment, the greater chance your pet has of recovery.

What to Do if You Suspect Poisoning in Your Pet

Contact your vet immediately when you suspect poisoning in your pet. They have the best understanding of your pet’s history and will use everything they know to develop a course of action.

Important information includes:

  • The name of the toxin (Ortho Home Defense, or any other suspect toxins in your home)
  • How much your pet ingested
  • The likely time of the exposure

Do not induce vomiting unless directed by your vet.

Once you get there, they may conduct tests to lock in a biochemistry profile of your pet and evaluate the function of vital organs. This determines the severity of the treatment plan and gives your vet the information they need to get your pet back to proper health.


Your pet’s safety should always come first when using new products. While Ortho Home Defense is safe to use around pets, you must follow application instructions closely and keep your pets out of the treated areas until it dries.

Ortho Home Defense is one of the best solutions for getting rid of harmful pests like fleas or ticks, but you should understand the risks before using it in your pet-friendly home. Learn the signs of poisoning pets so you can act fast if an accident occurs.

Please comment with any questions or concerns you have about the safety of Ortho Home Defense around your pets!

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