flea and tick products

Natural, Non-Toxic Flea Control

natural-flea-control

Many of the flea treatments available today contain toxic chemicals. Even when used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these products can be toxic for pets and humans. Thankfully, there are safer, natural ways to control fleas. They may require a bit more effort on your part, but isn’t that effort worth it if it’s safer for you and your cat?Continue Reading

Detox Your Cat

detox_cat

Many health problems, in both cats and humans, chronic or otherwise, are caused by day-to-day exposure to toxic substances such as chemicals and other molecules that are foreign to the body. These toxins accumulate in the body over a period of time, often over many years. Research on the human side suggests that more than 75% of cancers are caused by diet and environmental factors. In addition, toxic exposure is a contributing factor to cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Environmental pollutants stockpile in the body contributing to the chronic diseases.

Now consider how much smaller our cats are. It most likely takes a much smaller load of toxins for our pets to cause problems. Additionally, as cats groom themselves, it’s easy for them to ingest any environmental toxins they may have accidentally come in contact with on their fur and paws.Continue Reading

How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals

Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people. Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. The Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the Food and Drug Administrations Center for Veterinary Medicine, is pursuing a series of actions to increase the safety of spot-on products for pets. These actions are designed to help consumers use these pesticides safely. However, many pet owners prefer to not use these products at all and are looking for safer, more natural alternatives instead.

There are safer, natural ways to control fleas. They may require a bit more effort on your part, but isn’t that effort worth it if it’s safer for you and your pet?

Combing

Use a good flea comb with tightly spaced teeth. Comb your pet daily during flea season and drop any fleas you find into a bowl of soapy water to kill them.

Bathing

Bathe your pet with a gentle shampoo such as oatmeal. You don’t need to use harsh flea shampoos – most of them have chemicals in them, which is what you’re trying to avoid by not using the pesticide spot-ons in the first place.  Fleas tend to accummulate in bedding, so wash your pet’s bedding as well.

Vacuuming

Vacuum thoroughly, including on and under furniture and in crevices and near baseboards. Discard the vacuum bag immediately after vacuuming to prevent fleas and eggs from reinfesting your home. Severe infestations may require professional steam cleaning.

Diet

Feeding a high quality, varied diet can help prevent fleas. A stronger diet leads to a stronger immune system, and it is believed that this can contribute to your pet being more resistant to fleas. Pet owners who feed raw or homemade diets have reported that their pets no longer have flea problems.

Maintain Outdoor Areas

Keep your grass mowed and keep shrubbery trimmed short in areas where your pet spends time. This will increase sunlight and dryness, which will help reduce the flea problem. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your yard to cut down on the flea population. Diatomaceous earth also makes a great natural pantry bug killer, it works for all insects. It’s reported to be safe around pets, but don’t sprinkle it directly on your pet. Be sure to use “food grade” diatomaceous earth only.

Natural Flea Control Products

There are numerous natural flea control products on the market, but not all of them are safe for pets.  In particular, avoid using products containing essential oils such as Pennyroyal, Tea Tree or Citrus oils.  None of these are safe to use around pets, especially around cats. Some manufacturers of essential oils claim that their oils are pure and safe to use around cats, but quite frankly, I wouldn’t take any chances on statements of that nature unless they’re backed up by research by an independent toxicologist.

The National Resource Defense Concil’s Green Paws website has a comprehensive directory of flea and tick products, including natural products, and lists ingredients and toxicity warnings.

If you’re using natural products to control fleas for your pets, please share with us what has worked for you in a comment.

Warning: Garlic is highly toxic to cats

Editors  Note: Multiple comments have suggested using garlic to prevent fleas. While it is true that fleas dislike the taste of garlic, it is highly toxic to cats. Garlic, as well as onions, shallots and chives, has been shown to cause damage to feline red blood cells which can result in hemolytic anemia and eventual death.

New Dr. Goodpet banner

EPA increases scrutiny of flea and tick products for pets

It’s flea and tick season in much of the country, and pet owners are beginning to use products such as Frontline or Advantage to combat these pests on their pets.  While these products are effective, please be aware that they are also loaded with chemicals.

Last week, the EPA issued a cautionary statement about these products and their safety, and began investigating the recent increase in reports of adverse reactions. 

For a more indepth look of what this means, Dr. Patty Khuly, a small animal veterinarian in Miami, FL and founder of the veterinary blog Dolittler, posted an excellent article on her blog.

I’ve been researching natural alternatives to chemical flea and tick products for the past few weeks.  I’m trying to find products to recommend to you that are both effective and safe.  Not everything that’s natural is safe for your pets, and until I’m sure that the products I’m looking at meet both requirements, I won’t recommend them to you.   I’ll share what I find with you as soon as I can.