Sentry Class Action Says Flea & Tick Repellant is Toxic to Pets, Children

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A recent class action lawsuit filed against the makers of Sentry Natural Defense flea and tick repellant says the product is toxic to pets and children, despite being marketed as safe.

Plaintiff Lori Johnson of California says the claims that while Sentry is sold as a flea and tick repellant that is “safe to use around children and pets”, it is made up of essential oils that are toxic if ingested or applied directly to the skin and can lead to serious complications.

Every Sentry product is represented that it is “safe to use around children and pets” and is “Veterinarian Tested”. Unfortunately for consumers and their pets, use of the Sentry flea and tick repellant exposes pets to the concentrated essential oils including peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil, clove oil, and thyme oil. These essential oils, despite being natural, can be toxic if absorbed through the skin or ingested by pets. Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include: irritation to the skin, vomiting, muscles tremors, and other more serious complications that can lead to organ failure and death. Despite these risks, consumers are directed to apply the Sentry products directly to the skin of their pets.

According to the Sentry flea and tick repellant class action lawsuit, veterinarians routinely warn consumers against using the essential oils contained in Sentry and other similarly formulated products. In an article posted on the Veterinary Centers of America website, Dr. Charlotte Flint warns consumers to “[n]ever apply a concentrated essential oil on your pet.” This is because “only a couple of licks or a small amount on the skin could be harmful to a dog.”  In an blog post answering the question “Are essential oils really dangerous to pets?,” Dr. Marty Becker identified some of the “essential oils that are toxic to pets are cinnamon, citrus, lemon, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, thyme, wintergreen and ylang ylang.

Sadly, Johnson’s dog experienced essential oil poisoning and was unable to walk just after one application of Sentry Natural Defense flea and tick repellant. Johnson took her dog to the emergency after-hours clinic. After scrubbing the area where the Sentry was applied, it took two hours until her dog was able to walk without serious muscle tremors.

Reportedly, Sentry intentionally omits the fact that its flea and tick repellant causes essential oil poisoning and is not recommended by veterinarians. Even worse, the complaint states, Sentry targets consumers who are particularly safety conscious with its representations that its products are “Natural,” and “safe for use around pets and children.” As the Pet Poison Helpline noted “[w]e have certainly seen an increase in essential oil toxicity in recent years due to the increase in pet owner’s desire to treat more holistically or with natural remedies.”.

“While this damage may not be immediately noticeable, and does not manifest every time the Sentry products are used, the flea and tick repellant nonetheless expose every pet on which they are used to a considerable risk of a serious adverse reaction. Simply put, the Products are not fit to be sold as a flea and tick medication and Defendant’s representation that the Products are safe to use around pets and children is false and misleading.”

Johnson is seeking to hold Sentry accountable for their actions by representing a proposed nationwide Class of consumers who purchased Sentry products for their pets.

Johnson is represented by Scott A. Bursor, L. Timothy Fisher, Joel D. Smith, and Thomas A. Reyda of Bursor & Fisher PA.

The Sentry Natural Defense Flea & Tick Repellant Class Action Lawsuit is Johnson v. Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. d/b/a Sentry, Case No. 5:18-cv-02426, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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