Sometimes when a new product comes out, it’s touted to be much safer, then years down the line, we find it really isn’t safe at all. Or worse, we find that the latest greatest product is actually the same old bad one in different clothing.

Recently several new products have come out, but today I want to cover Sergeant’s “new” product for dogs.

Sergeant’s Pet Care released Sergeant’s Evolve Line of Flea and Tick Squeeze-On for Dogs. The line itself isn’t too new, but their “new” claims are. The EPA gave it the thumbs up. Likely because the same formulation of active ingredients has been used in Sergeant’s Gold products for years.

Evolve 11 is being touted by Sergeant’s as a “Gentle Product for Small Breed Dogs” (see upper left corner of picture). The ingredients are 55% Etofenprox, 2.2% Pyriproxyfen and 42% “Other Ingredients”. In the past, these ingredients have often been called Inert. Manufacturers do not need to disclose them, even to the EPA, if they claim the inert (or “other”) ingredients as a trade secret.

Etofenprox is a pyrethroid, which means it is a synthetic derivative of pyrethrin. Pyrethrin is made from the chrysanthemum plant. Pyrethrin is a perfect example of why “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”. Etofenprox is known to be an endocrine disruptor for mammals, including humans and as such, can cause a whole host of issues. One of it’s primary methods of action is to interfere with the thyroid and steroid receptors in mammals. Before you think that perhaps it is safer in lower doses, one of the key factors with endocrine disruptors is that a very small amount causes these issues. That’s something unique just to EDs.

According to the NRDC Green Paws website, they give it a toxicology rating of three paws out of three paws.

Etofenprox –Etofenprox is one of a class of synthetic chemicals, called pyrethroids, that are derived from natural chemicals found in chrysanthemums. The synthetic varieties are significantly more potent and persistent than naturally occurring products. Etofenprox also disrupts the endocrine system, specifically thyroid hormone, and is toxic to the developing nervous system. Etofenprox, like other pyrethroids is known to be very toxic to cats, causing muscle tremors, seizures, salivation, vomiting and even death. Veterinarians caution against using pyrethroid containing products if there are cats in the home.

  • Toxic to the nervous system
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Very toxic to cats

{Thank you to NRDC & Green Paws for their fantastic Database!}

Pyriproxyfen, the second ingredient, is the same thing as Nylar. Interestingly enough, in some Sergeant’s products, Sergeant’s calls it Nylar, in others whatever they feel like at the time. It’s not uncommon for these manufacturers to make up names so that it is even more difficult for the public to keep informed on dangerous ingredients. Nylar is what’s commonly known as an IGR – Insect Growth Regulator. This means it interferes with a flea’s ability to come into adulthood and reproduce.

These two ingredients are the same as  in their Sergeant’s Gold line, so nothing too new about their “new and gentle” formula. Recently, Sergeant’s has made a move to remove their Sergeant’s Gold line from the market. Apparently to replace it with pretty much the same product, but attempting to make it look more appealing to those who do not know about the dangers of some of these flea and tick products.

If you look at the top left of this package – the same product, but a higher weight class for dogs, you can see that Sergeant’s feels adding Vitamin E might help your dog… Not sure what the logic is there, but I am sure Sergeant’s has some explanation.

If this slight of hand move angers you as a consumer and pet owner, here are  few quick actions you can take to help.

It might seem like educating pet owners about these products is a never-ending mission, but you make a difference. Reaching one person at a time, we can all make a difference.

Special thanks goes to for the heads up on the “new” claims for Evolve. If you haven’t visited the site before, it’s full of an incredible amount of information.

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  • Teracey<span class="comment-author-location"> from Edmond, OK, United States</span>

    It seriously makes me sick knowing that its the same as always with these pet care companies. You would think it would be in their best interest (even that interest is just profit) to make a product that is not only effective, but safe for dogs and cats equally.

    • These companies are not “really” pet companies. They are off shoots of agricultural pesticide companies. To them, it’s just another market for their pesticide, not a new one. Most also have some portion of their company in Big Pharma. It’s a vicious cycle. For example, both Sergeant’s and Hartz started out as family run pet companies, but have expanded and sold to big agricultural pesticide manufacturers.

  • clara<span class="comment-author-location"> from Smyrna, GA, United States</span>

    I don’t trust anything made by Sergeant’s, Hartz, Sentry, or any product using any form of pyrethrins. It KILLS!

  • Donna<span class="comment-author-location"> from Glen Allen, VA, United States</span>

    What about Advantage? I have often wondered if using it on my older cat (Ladybug) last year only to find her later in the day (same day I applied the dose for 9 pounds and under) unable to use her back legs and going into organ/heart failure. It was too late for us by the time we reaached the ER clinic.

    • Donna – I am so sorry to hear about Ladybug. Would you mind sharing your story with others by clicking the Your Stories tab?

      Advantage (the regular, not the multi for worms as well) had the lowest number of incidences of adverse reactions according to the EPA. BUT none of this is “good”. There are safer alternatives that work better and are less toxic, so if you use these products, you should do so only when you need to and when there is no other option because you have already tried others. You do not need to treat 12 months of the year unless your flea season is 12 months.

      You can see my note on alternatives by seeing the Flea & Tick tab. It will pull out options and you can choose “alternatives”.

  • kim<span class="comment-author-location"> from Springfield, IL, United States</span>

    my dog has flees pretty bad and i have put on evolve can i put it on him again,

  • kim<span class="comment-author-location"> from Springfield, IL, United States</span>

    my dog has flees pretty bad can i put evolve back on him

  • Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

  • Debi

    We purchased this item and applied to two of our dogs this afternoon. Yes it was $20 cheaper, but money is tight and I read the box and thought it was the best plan of action. It is 5 or 6 hours later. Our year old chocolate lab Otis, his heart is racing, his breathing is rapid and he’s acting like he’s crazy. Very antsy and can’t get comfortable. My daughter is bathing him now. I am hoping that is all we need to do. What is safe to use????? Who do I inform that this product is not good for your pets?

    • Anonymous

      I hope Otis will be okay! Please let me know how he is doing! If you go to the fleas menu, there is a sub menu – one for reporting and one for alternatives. I am so sorry you are having this experience. Be sure to let the EPA know so they REALLY get your report!

    • Muner06

      The same exact thing is happening to my Shiz Tsu right now!   I have bathed her three times and she is still acting like she is in excruciating pain!   I called the 800 number and she told me to put vitamin e on her.  I did that and still no relief!   I feel like I should take her to the vet!

  • Jmkandee

    DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT, our dog almost died.  Spend the extra money and get a prescription from your vet.  It is heart breaking to watch a pet go through what ours did if they have an allergic reaction to this product. 

  • Kimkazy

    I used this on my dog 12-23-2011 ,he had an allergic reaction,he first acted by going crazy,we thought he was itching really bad,needless to say it was burning him,he had a fever,rapid heart beat and heavy breathing.I think he came close to convultions.I thought he was going to die.Its now 1-7-12 he still has red patches I put anti-itch cream on him,he has to take Benadryl 50mg 4x a day.We had alot of sleepless nights,he was in so much pain.If this happens to you give them a bath right away and call your vet.This product should be band, it even removed hair.Never use this. Kim from oh

  • AMD

    I used Evolve last night on my small dog (11 lbs.)   Within about 30 minutes she began acting crazy, spastic, running around and hiding under the bed.  She had been groomed earlier in the day, but we read that treating for fleas (if they have been spotted in the animal’s house) works best when the pets have been cleaned.  Note: she was NOT shampooed or treated with any flea preparation at the slaon.
    It is now 15 hours later, and she is still acting spastic, has a crazed look, if we stop troking her she immediately starts to chew or dig at her skin (especially her hind quarters.)  Her heart has had periods of racing and her breathing becomes rapid as well.  Oddly, she also has a hunger that seems insatiable…someting we’ve never seen in her before, and I think if we didn’t stop her, she would eat until she got sick.  This flea and tick preparation is HORRIBLE and oviously UNSAFE!  Also of note, is that I only used a fraction of the preparation and only just behind her neck.  I applied it with my fingers, not squeezing the preparation deep into the skin, so even a very small amount can cause this horrible reaction.  BEWARE of this TOXIC poison with your pets!

    • Blahblah<span class="comment-author-location"> from Woonsocket, RI, United States</span>

      This is all negative propaganda!! you all should be ashamed of yourself

  • Savilog02

    My dog has very sensitive skin an random allergies that I have yet to sort out. I applied the flea product yesterday morning with no problem. I used the whole dose for 40-60lb dogs (he is 55lbs) and, there has been no reaction. He is acting quite normally. I saw all the negative comments and thought I might put my positive one up here. Perhaps, it doesn’t work as well on smaller dogs? I am a little worried for my cats, they love my dog and are very affectionate with him.

  • Steve K

    I’ll start my post from the end, since my experience matches
    the vast majority of the posts on this blog. After ~30 hours, my dog was back
    to normal.  He doesn’t have any lasting symptoms
    from the Sergeants Evolve.   He is back
    to his normal puppy self.   It took 30 hours to work through his system.  This was one of the main items I was looking
    for when I was searching the site in a panic last night

     I have a male 7 month
    old, 50 lb Chocolate Lab.  I followed the
    directions on the packaging.  Like almost
    every post on the site, he was extremely anxious and irritated, unable to
    relax, and was twitching and panted heavily.  It was as if he was trying to crawl out of
    his skin.  His eyes were glazed, and he
    had slobber and foam in his mouth.   No seizures, though.  He also didn’t have any of the skin burns or
    irritation that I read about on the site, though didn’t want you to touch him. 

    We applied the Evolve at 5 am.  We were gone most of the day, so I can’t say
    how he reacted.  Got a call from the
    neighbor that the dog was barking.  When
    we got home he was anxious and irritated. 
    He could walk fine.  After reading
    the posts and realizing that was reaction was from the Evolve, I immediately washed
    him (~10 pm).  I used his normal shampoo,
    though Dawn seems to be the washing material of choice.  I called the ER vet a couple of times, and
    the vet told me to wash him twice with Dawn. 
    She also mentioned that it is in his central nervous system, so It needed
    to work its way through his system.  She
    said we needed to watch him, and if he had more severe twitching, we would need
    to bring him in, at which point they would administer an IV.  I had read about people using Benadryl and
    asked the vet.  She didn’t recommend- though
    she didn’t caution against, since it was absorbed into his central nervous
    system already. 

    The washing calmed his anxiousness considerably, though he
    was still very agitated.  The product was
    absorbed long ago, but the washing soothed him. 
    I took him for a walk to hopefully metabolize the Evolve more
    quickly.  He was restless through the
    night, and finally settled down to sleep around 3 am. 

    I was amazed at how many recent posts there were, and how
    consistent the messages are.  I haven’t thought
    through my next course of action yet, but will take action to remove this

  • terina<span class="comment-author-location"> from Kenosha, WI, United States</span>

    I personally would not use this product or any other product by sergeants My dog cider a shi-zue mix (6.4lbs) started foaming at the mouth then running and whinning with pain n i believe burning around her hooha.  The poor dog puked every room in the house and blankets . At first I just thought it was from the food she had at dinner but NO.  I gave her a bath after n hour got a drop in my eye.  My eye was burning for over an hour and a half after rinsing with saline.  I rinsed my eye n called the er vet.  I WAS TOLD TO WASH WITH DAWN DISH SOAP. A.S.A.P.   that seemed to stop her from whinning for a little while but this morning after 12 hours she is still going to itch and open her area around her hooha cider seems very hot today I did give her a 1ml dropper of baby asprin.  That did help her sleep last night .  It also seemed her stomach was very very upset last night she had 2 teaspoons of applesauce no throw up so far. This is a DANGER DANGER PRODUCT FOR PETS AND PEOPLE.  DO NOT APPLY TO YOUR DOG.

    • TinyTimmy<span class="comment-author-location"> from Portland, OR, United States</span>

      I am so sorry you had this experience. Sadly it isn’t just one company, it’s all of them. You might try pumpkin (the one at the grocers in the cooking aisle, no spices just plain pumpkin) for tummy but also it helps with detoxing.

      You can also go to the store tab and order some Timmy Sudz. They are very soothing and work to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitos. (I used it in DC last year to fend off the monsterous skeeters).

  • I cannot believe that this product is still being sold!!!!! I bought it on Tuesday, 11/6/12 at our local Safeway for both of my dogs. Two different boxes – one for my rotty which weighs well over 100 lbs and one for my 24 lb shitzu. The shitzu started acting weird a few hours later and we washed it off…but he only got slightly better. We finally had to take him to the vet and he is still having issues. Then 4 days later, we discover what looks like a chemical burn on our rotty and realize that he is having the same reaction to this so called medication. I am furious!!!! This company is going to get a serious piece of my mind and possibly a lawsuit!!!