With a flea’s ability to procreate rapidly, generating a house-wide problem, and Lyme Disease being a concern from the Deer Tick, all of us need to find effective ways to treat our dogs and cats as we enter the warm months of the Flea and Tick season. (Although you may not be aware of it, the Fall season is also a major flea problem time of year).
Spot-on Flea & Tick killers are the rage right now with veterinarians and most pet stores, especially with pet owner concerns about Lyme Disease. It is important to know the downside of their use, and what their toxicity can mean for your dog or cat. We will examine the 2 main spot-on remedies: Frontline and Advantage.
Fipronil, the active ingredient in Frontline, is a suspected carcinogen (thyroid cancer), neurotoxin (nervous system damage), teratogen (reproductive damage), cause of skin problems, and organ damage (including altered thyroid hormones)*. Frontline is not approved for use in France. China is also banning Fipronil, due to toxicity to shellfish, and bees.
Imidacloprid, the active ingredient in Advantage, has displayed evidence of thyroid lesions, organ damage, increased cholesterol levels in dogs, neurotoxin symptoms, and teratogenic (reproductive) complications*. It is also banned in France.
If you must have them, we carry Frontline, and a generic equivalent (at ½ the price), called Biospot. Biospot’s active ingredient is Permethrin. It is as effective as Fipronil or Imidacloprid (with similar side effects*). Permethrins, and Biospot are NOT recommended for Cats, who are highly sensitive and allergic to them.
SENTRY® Natural Defense™ is an excellent Natural Spot-on flea and tick killer.
SENTRY® Natural Defense™ Natural Flea & Tick Squeeze-On kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes for up to four weeks, yet it's safe for use around children and pets when used as directed, even in multiple pet households. Each carton contains three monthly applications that feature natural active ingredients such as peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil and thyme oil.
Kittens and Puppies under the age of 16 weeks should not have spot-ons of any kind used.
Other than SENTRY® Natural Defense™, the safest approach is to use no chemicals at all, and do daily inspections of your pets, accompanied by a careful combing with a flea comb. Also, the daily addition of Brewer’s Yeast and Garlic tablets (you can also crush them and add them to the food) can be an excellent flea deterrent (also providing nutritive value).
Ticks can be manually removed with a pair of tweezers. Be careful not to handle the tick with your hands, because Lyme Disease is skin permeable, and can result in your becoming infected. If so, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the tick.
To remove a tick:
- 1. Grab the tick by the head or mouthparts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.
- 2. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.
- Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
Another approach, which would introduce the safest of chemicals, Pyrethrin (made from Chrysanthemums), is to have on hand a Flea & Tick Spray (pyrethrin), and saturate the tick, which will kill it.
A second approach is to use the above spray weekly as a deterrent.
Certainly yes -- if there are dogs also in the house, who can bring in fleas from outdoors, or dogs in the building that we live. Also, flea eggs can be picked up outside from hallways and streets by us, and brought into our indoor environment.
If you need to treat a flea problem in the house, and on your pet, you’ll need to use your vacuum cleaner, along with the above-mentioned Flea & Tick spray. You can also bathe your pet with a safe flea & tick shampoo. We encourage you NOT to have your pet flea & tick dipped, as the effective dips contain organophosphate poisons, and can have deleterious side effects.
- Check the ears for fleas. Treat (don’t spray) with a cotton swab. Spray the neck, belly, legs, and where the backbone meets the tail.
- Spray any area where your pet predominately lies.
- Vacuum thoroughly, and throw the vacuum bag away.
- Repeat this procedure two more times, at 3-day intervals.
You will find that you can deal with fleas and ticks, both preventatively and curatively, without heavy-duty toxic chemicals – and still achieve the desired goal of having a flea and tick free pet (and house). Please speak with us for any further information or recommendations.
* Whole Dog Journal, 02-02
** Extension Toxicology Network – Cornell U., Mich. St. U., Oregon St. U, UC Davis – 09-95
Fipronil: beyondpesticides.org 03-01
AT PETHEALTHSTORE, TO MAXIMIZE THE HEALTH OF OUR PETS, WE ENCOURAGE THE USE OF THE FROZEN AND FREEZE-DRIED DIETS, OR THE USE OF HUMAN-GRADE DRY AND CANNED FOODS, PLUS THE ADDITION OF A GOOD ENZYME SUPPLEMENT (OR ENZYME-RICH RAW VEGETABLES AND FRUITS).
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