It’s natural to want to go nuclear on a roach infestation but when you’ve got furry roommates, a pet safe roach killer is the way to go.
And we know, it can be tricky finding a natural cockroach killer that gets the job done – and quick.
That’s why we’re here. In this guide, you’ll learn:
Here’s everything you need to know to find the best pet safe roach killer for your household!
Do Pets Cause Roaches?
Every pet owner knows that one of the best things about having animal companions is being able to blame them for stuff. It’s not like they can argue back.
Along with things like love and affection and cuddles, shifting blame is one of the perks of keeping pets around. “The dog did it” can be a convenient excuse whether it’s a misplaced item or a bad case of gas. And of course, the dog ate my homework is a classic.
But it’s not fair to blame your pets for a cockroach problem in your home. They didn’t start it. Yet, it is also true that homes with pets present some unique challenges when it comes to cockroach control, like:
- Pet food is also cockroach food and if there’s a habit of leaving bowls of pet food around, it can compound a roach problem.
- As disgusting as it is, if you have an indoor litter box, your cat’s waste can also be food for cockroaches.
- Roaches aren’t picky eaters and if food sources dry up, they can subsist on the most unlikely of food sources, like pet fur.
So although pets don’t cause cockroach problems, they don’t help them either.
Not to mention that having pets and a roach problem presents its own set of challenges. The most notable one? If you have both cockroaches and pets, you need to find a way to kill the cockroaches without harming your pet.
This can be easier said than done.
Is There a Roach Killer Safe for Pets?
Pesticides are designed to kill. And while there is a world of difference between a dog or a cat and a cockroach, you need to be aware that some of the pesticides marketed for use on cockroaches can also harm pets.
So what’s a cockroach-killing pet owner to do? Well, as always, a little knowledge is never a bad thing.
Here are a couple things you absolutely must know to choose the best pet safe roach killer. Let’s start with the most obvious…
Cats and dogs are different
Duh, you say. But the differences go beyond their sociability or willingness to chase cars.
Cats are more sensitive to pesticides than dogs. Not only do they tend to be smaller than dogs, but cats also lack liver enzymes like glucuronyl transferase that help them break down chemicals. Without this ability to detoxify, the chemicals build up in their little bodies and become toxic. This makes our feline friends much more vulnerable to pesticide exposure.
On top of this, cats love to groom themselves, which increases the chances of Chairman Meow accidentally ingesting a pesticide.
This is why common roach pesticides like permethrin are deemed safe to be used on and around dogs. But for cats, permethrin is considered toxic until it has fully dried.
Over-the-counter vs professional pesticides
Many people assume that over-the-counter pesticides are somehow safer than professional-grade insecticides. But this isn’t necessarily true, especially when it comes to choosing a pet friendly roach killer.
Some very common pesticides, like DEET, make a good roach repellent, but are toxic for both dogs and cats. So don’t mistake easy availability for safety, especially when it comes to pets. Just because you can find it at your local Walmart doesn’t mean it’s safe for pets.
On the other hand, there are professional-grade pesticides for cockroaches like Insect Growth Regulators that work incredibly well while being virtually non-toxic to both humans and pets.
How it’s used matters (a lot)
One big factor in choosing a roach killer that’s safe for pets comes down to how the pesticide is delivered. Even the same pesticide can be safe – or not – for pets depending on how it’s used.
For example, spraying a pesticide indoors could be hazardous for your pets as they could breathe in the substance or ingest the chemical that makes contact with their paws or fur.
But strategically placing the pesticide in hard-to-reach areas of the house or tamper-proof bait stations? This allows you to safely use pesticides without incurring any risk to your furry friends.
So how’s it done? Here’s a deeper look.
3 Things to Look for in a Pet Friendly Roach Killer
Before purchasing any roach pesticides, it’s a good idea to carefully read the label to see how it’s supposed to be used. Look for a pesticide that is designated as being safe to use around pets.
Thankfully, many cockroach killers will advertise this fact right on the label.
It’s also a good idea to think about how the pesticide is intended to be used.
When it comes to cockroaches, one of the most effective roach killers is a poison bait. Look for baits that come inside bait stations that will keep your pets away from the poison.
Another great option for a pet safe roach killer is a gel bait that can be applied in cracks and crevices where pets won’t be able to reach it.
Although baits are generally harmless to mammals if eaten, it’s still a good idea to try and make sure that your pet doesn’t consume any of the product.
This is fairly easy to do since roach gel that is strategically placed, say, under the sink, will be easily accessible for roaches but hard for your pets to get to.
Natural Roach Killers
Another thing to look out for is the origins of a product. Products such as diatomaceous earth, for example, are completely natural.
This powder is available in a food grade formula, which means it has been found safe to be used even in commercial food preparation areas.
In the same way, there are a couple pet friendly roach spray options that are made with all-natural ingredients that will kill roaches without being harmful to your pets.
This way, if your pet does accidentally ingest some of the pesticide, you can be confident it won’t come to any harm.
Top 7 Best Pet Safe Roach Killers
It’s tempting to go ballistic and unleash the most brutal pesticides on the roach infestation in your home. But if you’ve got pets, you need to reel it in because the very pesticides that kill roaches could be harmful for your furry family members as well.
So what’s a loving pet owner to do? Meet the most effective and pet safe roach killers.
Raid Ant and Roach Killer
There are a lot of cockroach sprays on the market but not many of them are entirely safe for pets.
Raid Ant and Roach Killer, on the other hand, is made up of natural essential oils that are strong enough to kill roaches on contact but gentle enough for you and your pets. That makes it our favorite pet friendly roach spray.
Is Raid Ant and Roach Killer safe for pets?
Just because essential oils are all natural doesn’t make them safe for dogs and cats. In fact, there are a number of essential oils that should never be used around pets, like cinnamon oil and pine oil.
But the active ingredients used in Raid Ant and Roach Killer are geraniol, which is one of the few essential oils that is safe for both cats and dogs, and lemongrass oil, another essential oil that is safe for dogs and even cats, as long as it’s at a low concentration.
Harris Roach Powder
Harris Roach Powder is a classic in roach control. So what’s its secret? Well, it’s essentially boric acid, which has been used for decades if not centuries as an effective insecticide.
Boric acid is a stomach poison, so the powder needs to be ingested by the cockroaches to work. Luckily, cockroaches use their long antennae to explore the world, and then use their mouths to clean those antennae.
So they quite easily ingest powders of this sort. Also, Harris roach powder makes use of a lure to ensure that the cockroaches are tempted to take a bite.
Is Harris Roach Powder safe for pets?
Boric acid is a naturally occurring mineral, and so the manufacturer markets this product as being pet safe. And it is – mostly.
Cats and dogs won’t take any harm if they lick up a little of this powder. Still, it’s not exactly health food. It’s still a good idea to apply this powder in areas where cats and dogs can’t reach it, like around baseboards.
Here’s a classic pet safe roach killer that also works to get rid of other unwanted creepy crawlies. Fortunately for us all, diatomaceous earth is easier to use than it is to spell. This product is a naturally occurring mineral and is made of the crushed shells of tiny dead sea creatures.
The product looks like a fine white powder, but viewed on a microscopic level, it’s actually a series of sharp shards and jagged edges. These edges are far too small for a human to feel, but they can certainly do damage to cockroaches.
Diatomaceous earth kills insects by scratching their exoskeleton. This causes the insect to dehydrate and die. Because they need such high humidity to survive, cockroaches are especially vulnerable to dehydration.
Additionally, their habit of exploring the world with their antennae and then cleaning those antennae with their mouths can cause them to ingest some of the powder, which can also kill them.
Is diatomaceous earth safe for pets?
Diatomaceous earth isn’t harmful to humans or other mammals, unless they happen to eat so much of it that they choke on it.
However, if using diatomaceous earth, it’s probably still a good idea to try and keep it away from your pets.
Dogs, in particular, are prone to sniffing at the powder and getting some into their lungs. It won’t cause any major harm to them if they do so, but it’s still something you should try to avoid.
Again, a great place to use this is along baseboards as well as in cracks and crevices.
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
Advion’s cockroach gel is a bait that uses a food attractant to lure cockroaches into taking a bite. Once they do, they’ll be ingesting a stomach poison that will start to act on their nervous system.
Baits are designed to be slow acting; in this way, the poison can spread throughout the cockroach population in your home. But if used correctly, they are extremely effective.
What makes this bait great for pet owners is that you can be picky about where you apply it. By squeezing the gel into tiny cracks and crevices, you can make sure your pets can’t access it.
In fact, this is the best way to use the gel anyway, since those are the kinds of places cockroaches go looking for food. The bait works better if you apply it in multiple small dabs rather than one big lump. And this is better for your pets too.
Is cockroach gel safe for pets?
The active ingredient in this gel isn’t harmful to mammals. In fact, it’s not harmful to most insects besides cockroaches, either. Cockroach bait is a highly targeted product that doesn’t lead to poisoning of non-target animals, and for this reason, it’s very widely used in the pest control industry.
The downside with any bait is that the cockroaches need to eat it for it to be effective. You can help this process by making sure that your kitchen and the rest of your home is scrupulously clean, and the cockroaches don’t have access to any other food source.
Also, gel baits can be a little tricky to work with. It’s recommended that you wear gloves while applying this bait. Not because it’s harmful, but just because it can get messy.
Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait
Hot Shot Roach Bait works on the same principle as other cockroach baits. The cockroaches eat the bait and consume the poison. From there, it kills them. But the nice thing about this product is that the bait is contained in small plastic capsules called bait stations.
This makes Hot Shot an absolute breeze to use. All you need to do is pull back the tab on the bait station and set it down somewhere that cockroaches are active in your home.
But for pet owners, it has the added advantage that the bait is protected from accidental consumption by cats and dogs. Your only real worry is a larger dog swallowing the entire bait station.
For this reason, it’s better to use these bait stations in areas where pets can’t get access to them, such as behind kitchen appliances and in cabinets. But then, those are the areas where cockroaches are most likely to find them anyway.
Is Hot Shot Roach Bait safe for pets?
Hot Shot Roach Bait definitely kills cockroaches, and it does it in a way that will bring no harm to your pets. About the only downside of this product is the somewhat high cost.
That, and the fact that the bait stations limit where you can apply the bait. Whereas a gel bait can be injected directly into cracks and crevices the cockroaches hide in, these bait stations can’t be placed in as many areas.
Our advice? Use both.
Black Flag Roach Motel
Despite the image the name conjures up, this is not the depressing hotel outside of town with half the neon letters burned out. In fact, these Black Flag Roach Motels are traps. Cockroaches can enter, but once inside, they can never leave.
Sort of like Hotel California, but for roaches.
The traps work by using sticky glue that holds the cockroaches in place. Any cockroaches caught in the trap will die of thirst, unless you come along to put them out of their misery them first.
The traps are designed to fold over so that you don’t have to look at a bunch of dead and dying cockroaches every time you walk by. Considerate, eh?
Is Black Flag Roach Motel safe for pets?
Probably the best feature of these roach motels is that they use no pesticides whatsoever. They are completely safe for cats, dogs, and other pets.
And the fact that they fold over helps to minimize the risk of the only harm that could come to your pets from the use of these traps: that is, if they happen to step on one and get it stuck to themselves.
That’s the most harm that can come from roach traps. So if you’re on the hunt for pet safe roach traps – just know that all of them are safe for pets. If your pets do get stuck to the sticky glue, a little bit of vegetable oil works great to break the adhesive.
Note: Any cockroach that wanders into this trap is doomed. However, no trap can be relied on to catch each and every cockroach. Which is why even the best roach traps are better used as monitoring devices.
Set them up throughout your house and monitor them for a few days to see which areas have the highest level of cockroach activity.
This can let you know where to focus your treatments. But don’t rely on the traps to solve a cockroach problem all by themselves. Instead, they’re just one more tool to use.
Now that we will live in the future with computers in our pockets and flying cars presumably on the way any day now, you might be wondering if there’s a more science-y way to solve cockroach problems. Luckily, there is.
This product is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), which means it’s a chemical that blocks the hormones in a cockroach’s body that tell it to grow and develop.
Unlike other pesticide sprays, spraying Gentrol won’t cause cockroaches to run. But any cockroaches it comes into contact with will absorb the growth regulator.
In the case of juvenile cockroaches, it will stop them from reaching full adulthood and renders them unable to reproduce. In the case of eggs, it will sterilize them so that they never hatch.
Since part of what makes cockroaches such a difficult problem to deal with is there staggering reproductive rate, IGRs are a great way to get that reproductive rate under control.
Is Gentrol IGR safe for pets?
Best of all, Gentrol will have absolutely no effect on you or your pets. The chemical ingredient only affects cockroaches and certain other species of insect. So this is a product that’s completely safe to use around other animals.
The downside of an Insect Growth Regulator is that it has no effect on cockroaches that have already reached adulthood. While Gentrol can ensure that no new cockroaches are born, it won’t kill the cockroaches you’re currently living with.
And given that cockroaches can live for months, it’s not really practical to wait for them to die of old age. So Gentrol is best used in conjunction with other pet safe roach killers. Luckily, by now you know the best ones to get.
Are There Pet Safe Roach Bombs?
There are certain cockroach killers you’ll want to stay well away from if you have pets. First and foremost among these? Any product that claims to be a roach fogger or bug bomb.
Roach foggers seem like an easy, fast-acting solution. But they usually just cause cockroach populations to scatter and they’re dangerous for pets.
These products release a contact pesticide into the air, with the idea being that the airborne chemical will penetrate into the cracks and crevices the cockroaches hide in.
But it will also be breathed in by your pet. And even if you evacuate your pet while you fog your place, these pesticides can leave a long-lasting residue that pets can easily pick up on their paws. Then, when the animal grooms itself, it could ingest some of that residue.
The same also applies to any dead cockroaches. If your dog or cat eats a cockroach that has been killed by contact pesticide, it will also be consuming some of that contact pesticide. Bad idea.
Is Roach Spray Safe for Pets?
The same is also true of more traditional cockroach sprays that use pesticides to kill roaches. You could do your best to spray only in areas where your pet can’t reach, but cockroaches are highly mobile, and no spray kills them right away.
It’s quite possible for a cockroach that has been sprayed to run elsewhere in the house before finally dying. And it may end up somewhere that your pet can find it. For this reason, pesticide-containing roach sprays are best avoided if you have pets around.
Fortunately, it just so happens that foggers and sprays are not the best way to treat cockroaches anyway, whether you own pets or not. Thanks to the wonders of science, there are far more effective and less harmful ways to get cockroaches out of your home. Like the best pet safe roach killers listed above.
What About a Homemade Roach Killer Safe for Pets?
The above pet safe roach killers are hands down the best products on the market. But what if you don’t want to buy anything?
Well, you’re in luck, DIY-er. Because you can whip up a homemade roach killer safe for pets using ingredients you already have lying around. Here’s an easy recipe you can try.
DIY pet safe roach killer baking soda and jelly
Baking soda makes a cheap and cheerful pet safe roach killer. It works once cockroaches eat the baking soda, which reacts with water and causes the intestines to expand. Eventually, the roach’s stomach will burst.
The trick is, though, to make sure the roaches will consume the baking soda.
Here’s how to do it:
- Make a mixture of 50% baking soda with 50% something yummy like sugar, honey, jelly, peanut butter, or juice.
- Mix very, very well so the roaches can’t eat around it.
- Leave the bait where the roaches can easily find it.
The only drawback is that this reaction doesn’t happen instantly. According to one study, it can take up to a couple of days. But while it may take time, it is a guaranteed kill once ingested.
Is baking soda safe for pets?
Baking soda is generally safe for pets but only in small quantities. For dogs, baking soda starts to become toxic at around 3 teaspoons. For cats, on the other hand, consuming just a teaspoon or two of baking soda can be dangerous, especially if the feline is on the smaller side.
So while baking soda may be natural and generally safe for pets, it’s not a good idea to leave baking soda roach baits out where your pets can ingest it. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to monitor your curious cat or nosy dog, it’s best to stick to the best pet safe roach killers above.