Flea and tick season is just around the corner. As there are many products on the market that can be harmful or even fatal to dogs and cats, it’s very important for pet parents to thoroughly do their homework when it comes to the products they use.
Beware of Spot-On Flea and Tick Products
Among the most problematic flea and tick products for pets are the spot-on varieties. The Environmental Protection Agency conducted a five-year study that was released in March 2010, following literally thousands of complaints from pet parents claiming that their animals suffered from everything from GI ailments to seizures and death following exposure to these.
As a result of these findings, the EPA insisted on more stringent labeling and guidelines for these products. However, the Natural Resources and Defense Council did not think this was enough, and filed a complaint against the EPA in February 2014, demanding an outright ban of the use of the chemicals propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos in pet flea and tick products.
I personally know of one cat who died from these products: my cousins’ beloved Kitty Boy, who developed a cancerous tumor on his neck from years of wearing flea collars. He was just one of many, as pet parents, veterinarians and other animal services providers reported upwards of 600 pet deaths in 2008 alone, according to the EPA study.
A Natural Approach to Flea and Tick Prevention
As pet parents become more educated and demand safer products, there is now a greater emphasis on natural, holistic flea and tick remedies such as:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Diatomaceous earth
- Essential oils with cedar, geranium, lemongrass, tea tree oil, peppermint
- Garlic … and more.
Diatomaceous earth in particular has generated a lot of excitement. This is a powdery substance comprised of the fossilized remains of marine life that contains such minerals as the crucial trace element silica. This helps to control fleas in pets via piercing the insects’ hard outer shells, causing death from dehydration. This can be sprinkled around the home, on pets and in bedding. Just make sure that this is food grade, not the stuff that’s used in swimming pools, which is toxic to pets.
There are also devices that cats and dogs can wear on their collars that emit ultrasonic sound waves, such as the Love2Pet Flea and Tick Shield, which are said to repel said insects.
Otherwise, pet parents are advised to use natural products for flea and tick control under the strict supervision of a holistic veterinarian, as some of the natural products may not always be suitable for certain animals. For example, some essential oils can be toxic to cats. So be sure to do your homework, and seek guidance whenever using any new products on your pets.
Do you have any recommendations or questions about safe flea and tick products for pets? Feel free to post these in the comments section below.