Public Service Announcement: Pet Edition

People, I have to warn you: do not and I repeat do not, under any circumstances, use CostCo’s “Kirkland Signature” brand of flea & tick control! We’ve just had a disastrous experience not even 24 hours after applying the product to our cats.

I’ve used Advantage, Frontline and Revolution on our six cats for years. I didn’t know that CostCo even had its own brand of flea & tick treatment until Mr. Beale and I attended a crafts fair and CostCo had a table set up where they were advertising this stuff and selling memberships. Well, we’ve been CostCo members for years so we thought, “cool, a cheaper flea & tick treatment, what’s not to love?”

Hair loss! And a nasty mess all over the house, that’s what! OMG, this is the worst stuff ever. Almost as soon as we applied the treatment our cats’ hair started falling out. And the stuff doesn’t absorb like other flea products, so it leaves huge greasy stains everywhere — furniture, bedding, you name it. I had to wash the sheets on our bed after Quinn took his afternoon nap on it!


Quinn's hair started falling out ....

Quinn’s hair started falling out ….

So did Como's ..... finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ....

So did Como’s ….. finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ….

…. and I won’t bore you with photos of my dirty laundry. I’m wishing I’d read the product reviews at Amazon before using this stuff because the reviews are universally negative. I’m so disappointed in CostCo, it appears this product has been poisoning peoples’ pets for over a year, and there they are promoting it at a crafts’ fair? Shame on them.

I’m worried sick that more serious symptoms will appear. Our cats are like our children, and the idea that I’ve actually poisoned my animals has me frantic. I’m going to call the vet as soon as they open and see what they recommend, I might be spending my day giving six cats a bath. :-0

Anyway, it’s too late for me, but save yourselves! Do not use this product!

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.


Just spent about 2 hours on the phone with the vet, CostCo, product manufacturer, Animal Product Services Safety Center, etc. Diagnosis: bathing in Dawn dishwashing liquid.

They are not amused:

Pissed off kitty.

Pissed off kitty.

Misery loves company.

Misery loves company.


Filed under cat blogging, Housekeeping, pets

29 responses to “Public Service Announcement: Pet Edition

  1. Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism

    The ASPCA has a poison hotline. I had to call it a while back when one of mine got into my garbage and chewed up a used imitrex nasal spray. Good luck to you and your furbabies.

  2. deep

    whiskey tango foxtrot

  3. democommie

    Southern Beale:

    Sorry to hear about your kiities misfortune. Make sure you keep track of any expenses and present Costco with the bill for any visits that are required. They will prolly refuse to pay, but then again, they might want to avoid having a complaint filed with the gummint. I have found that typing up a complaint and letting the local manager see it, BEFORE I mail it to the corporate office, might sometimes have a salubrious effect. That has not generally been the case in product complaints, but it’s worked with service issues.

    Good luck.

  4. Pingback: PSA / Open Thread » Balloon Juice

  5. Joey Maloney

    Sister Rail Gun, thanks for that link!

  6. Thanks for the warning. Also, I’d recommend never using Adams brand flea spray (which I picked up at PetCo) – a couple years ago I used it on my 13 year old yorkie. She had a seizure that night, her kidneys started to fail, and we had to put her down a couple days later. She was our baby and the guilt of knowing I was a direct cause of it was hard to get over.

  7. Chat Noir

    I’m so sorry to hear about your kitties. I hope everything turns out OK for them and for you. I have three feline children so I understand your worry. Thanks for letting folks know about this dangerous product.

  8. Not a cat expert. But from my research for dogs, Frontline with fipronil is safe when applied correctly. Anything that poisons ticks carries a risk, Fipronil is a slow-acting poison that resides in the sebaceous glands of the animal when properly applied So the properties of the viscous, non-active medium that carries the poison are of utmost importance. PetArmor, an acceptable generic alternative, is also relatively expensive but comes in quite a bit cheaper than Frontline. My dogs have been on it for two years. Another product that helps with tick removal is Hexacaine, anti-itch spray. Just spray on a tick and the insect goes limp, letting go of your pet, (or somewhere on a human body.)

    I stuck with Program for decades. Safe, healthful flea control (pill) that is nothing more than a hormone which interferes with flea reproduction. But with increased dangers associated with tick bites, it wasn’t enough. I still prefer it for flea control and sometimes use both products during the hot summer months.

    • KZ

      Please be careful with Hexa-Caine. The tick killing effect is from the lipid based carrier which smothers the ticks. Smothering a tick can cause it to vomit concrete (which is what transmits pathogens) into the bloodstream before letting go.

      This is one of the best tick removal video I’ve found:

      Hope it helps! 🙂

      • Thank you KZ. I guess we have just been lucky. Both tularemia and lyme disease are very rare in San Diego County. Still, I once went to my own PCP with a tick attached to my own flesh and he took every precaution. Tick bites on humans here will cause a minor infection and redness if not noticed for more than 24 hours. Usually we pull them off at the end of the day without any ill effects. We once went camping in Julian California in the summer and had the misfortune of hitting a tick bloom. We pulled scores of ticks off of our dogs. Very difficult time for us. Usually get one or two on the dogs when we hit the local mountains in October. I have a friend in NJ who got lyme disease. Horrible experience, but he did recover.

  9. Paul J

    I have used Cedar Cide™ on my pooches with good results. It’s chemical-free and non-toxic. Check it out at

  10. auntie beak

    please also be aware that products that are approved for use on dogs sometimes are fatal to cats. and cedar is one of them. do not use cedar products on your cats.

  11. JBJ

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience. My experience has been that the Costco brand simply doesn’t work on my dogs. I hate to pay the extra $$ for Frontline, but it does make a difference against the fleas. I did have a Costco employee tell me they would refund the cost of the flea meds if I was not satisfied — never took them up on the offer, and I don’t know about getting vet bills or other expenses reimbursed.

  12. Seeker

    Southern Beale, please, please check out any anti-flea/anti-tick product thoroughly before you use it on your cats! Dogs are far more resilient than cats when it comes to flea/tick meds, and what a dog can tolerate might kill a cat. In particular, I’ve read that cedar is toxic to cats. Please confirm this for yourself; do not take my word. I’ve had cats for years (still do) and when I fostered a dog, my vet gave me a flea/tick topical preventive that was toxic to cats! I don’t want to see anything bad happen to your babies.

  13. poor kids. 😦

    needs moar furkid pichers, tho. 🙂

  14. Debbie(aussie)

    So sorry!

  15. democommie

    I used to be in the business of selling bearings, belts, motors and such to industry. One of my boss’s customers had an operation that made, among other things, the chemicals used to impregnate flea collars for dogs. One night a couple of their employees were cleaning a filter press (imagine a giant stainless steel Bodum–Chockfull-O-Crap) and due to some bad housekeeping and insufficient venting of the space both wound up in comas and damn nearly died from the toxic fumes that came out of the press when it was unsealed.

    I use the Hartz Pro on Buddy, because I can’t afford Frontline or the other stuff that the vet recommends. It seems to work well enough and it stays on his coat for about a day or so (visible and tactile) .

    While we’re on the subject, does anyone out there know why most (and all of the non-premium) brands of dog and cat kibble list corn, corn gluten or other grains as the FIRST ingredient in the mix? I’ve seen lots of doggies and kittehs that lurvs ’em some animal bits but, eatin’ corn? not so much.

    • While we’re on the subject, does anyone out there know why most (and all of the non-premium) brands of dog and cat kibble list corn, corn gluten or other grains as the FIRST ingredient in the mix?

      Same reason corn is in just about all packaged human food: our corn-centric ag policy. We make so much corn we don’t know what to do with it all.

      I buy a grain-free from CostCo that’s a pretty good deal. Salmon and sweet potato … much cheaper than “high end” dog foods, and it gets 4 out of 5 stars from the dog food advisor. I think a 35-lb bag is like $32 or something.

      There’s a big dog food manufacturing plant here in Nashville and we’ve heard that all of the high-end and moderate-end brands are made in the same place with pretty much the same ingredients. The different is packaging and what you pay.

      • democommie

        Buddy the Wonderdog gets Rachel Ray’s, “Just 6”, kibble (a 14 # bag lasts about six weeks) and a mixture of ground meat (whatever I can get that’s nutritious and inexpensive) with rice and sweet potato or green beans. He loves it and it seems to work well. He’s healthy and regular.

    • simple! Corn == MUNEHPROFETZ!!!!!!111one


  16. KZ

    Hello everyone. First time commenter. As a pet professional I have a couple of statements to make. It might make some people unhappy. I am not defending CostCo, just looking at it from a different perspective.

    1) All formulations for topical flea killers must be FDA approved or state on the box clearly that they are not.

    2) Formulations are either water, alcohol, or petroleum based (i’ve heard from colleges that there is a new purified mineral oil based product that is being tested because it’s a mechanical killer). I’m my area (gulf Coast) about 1 in 7 cats is allergic to petroleum (Gee I wonder why, LOL! #BP #Facepalm).

    3) Just like with our human children; As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to know your animals sensitivities and read the back of the box before medicating your fur child. I don’t know about y’all, but my fur babies can’t read (yet! LOL) so that leaves the job to me and my busy schedule.

    4) As a pet pro, I have learned the hard way this statement: “Cheaper is almost never better in the pet world.”

    5) I am SO SO SORRY to hear about this incident. Regardless of the cause, if there are a year’s worth of trouble reports, I DO THINK that CostCo should pull it and look at their formulation.

    6) WitchHazel will help sooth the skin as well as break down any left over petroleum.

    7) Diatomaceous Earth is a mechanical flea and tick killer. I would suggest using it for a few months before applying topical products to your babies. But always consult your vet. Also, don’t be afraid to seek out a cat specialist to get them evaluated. If your Vet tries to intimidate you out of getting a second opinion, then s/he is more worried about your wallet than your pet.

    I hope this helps and I hope your babies are doing better. Thoughts prayers and good JuJu to you and yours.

    Peace, Love, and Ear Leather,

    • My cats’ hair is still falling out. Just FYI. And there was nothing on the packaging other than the standard, “call your vet if your pet starts showing adverse signs…” The package did say not to apply the product with the pet on furniture or carpets. And I didn’t, the cats were on a countertop. But the package didn’t say to keep your cats off of furniture or carpets for three days!!! Even after a bath it still hasn’t absorbed completely. But I’ve got some witch hazel in the cupboard and will try that.

      Good tip on Diatomaceous Earth. I use it all around the house for things like ants. I never thought of applying it to my pets though. I wasn’t sure what would happen when they licked it off.

      • KZ

        LOL. I had the same fear when I first read about it. I had a dog eat whole handfuls of the stuff and I had a ($300) freak out at 2am as I drove to the Vet ER. The worse part was breaking him of the butter-eating habit he developed from alleviating the constipation. 😛

        Sincerely though, I am sorry to hear about what your fur babies have gone through. I’ve ordered a box from COSTCO. I can’t wait to read the three days things. That’s freaking ridiculous. Starting to sound like a lazy R&D or Package Design team. I think I’m going to take a highlighter to the box and post pics on my twitter with a bunch of WTF’s attached.

        My BFF is a Chem Engineer and he’s going to run some tests. I’ll post what he finds later or email you directly if it is something that may need to become part of a “legal complaint”.

        Peace, Love, and Ear Leather,

      • That would be lovely, thanks for the info.

      • KZ

        Opps, Long day. Just re-read the three day thing. LOL. #Facepalm.

  17. democommie

    As for reading the box and knowing one’s companion animal’s allergies, etc..

    I can read and have the power of reason. I have NO idea what I’m allergic to–until it causes a reaction.

    I do the best I can for Buddy and I have to rely on other peoples’ honesty and integrity that the things which I buy from them will not harm him instead of helping him.

    And, just now, Buddy wants his “late night patrol” walk.