Non Toxic Flea Control for Dogs
According to one estimate, Americans spend about $16 billion a year on flea control. So this may be why we’re not being told about the dangers.
Yes, these widely advertised products do kill bugs. But the risks may outweigh the benefits. One of the active ingredients in some formulas are compounds known as pyrethroids. So far, they’ve been linked to various problems, including brain damage and seizures.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, a certain type of pyrethroid application, known as “spot on,” caused at least 1,600 pet deaths, reported within a five-year time span. Spot on involves placing a small amount of a highly concentrated insecticide to one area, typically between the shoulder blades.
The center also found pyrethroids were responsible for the majority of serious reactions resulting from animal pesticide treatments.
Pyrethroids and Cancer
Very few papers have been published on the potential link between pyrethroids and cancer. One 1998 report in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications medical journal did find that certain pyrethroids acted as hormone disruptors and were likely to be carcinogenic.
However, the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry doesn’t consider these chemicals to be carcinogens. But there’s little doubt they can affect the nervous system. The ATSDR did point out that “high levels” can cause “changes in awareness, convulsions and loss of consciousness.”
On its website, this agency also noted that humans are exposed to these chemicals in a number of ways, including “pet sprays and shampoos.”
Risks of Flea Medication
Other problematic substances in some flea products are tetrachlorvinphos, known to be toxic. A paper released by the National Resources Defense Council noted that flea collars, in particular, are dangerous for humans, as well as for pets. An unacceptably high level of dangerous pesticide residue is present, even weeks after the collar is placed on an animal. Most alarming was the finding that some collars emitted levels of carcinogens and neurotoxins that were 1,000 higher than acceptable standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Natural Product Kill Fleas
Fortunately, you can find excellent pet care products that are also safe. A number of highly effective flea sprays and shampoos use natural essential oils instead of chemicals. They are not harmful to children or animals, because they are made from plant-derived essential oils. These oils have been safely used for centuries, for medicinal and general household purposes. The active ingredients in Vet’s Best Anti-Flea Easy Spray Shampoo are peppermint and clove oil, and they work to repel fleas and ticks. They are highly effective, because bugs hate their scent.
Vet’s Best Home Spray
A two-pronged attack to natural flea control is the Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray, used in combination with the shampoo. It also contains those bug-killing peppermint and clove oils, and is designed to be applied directly to pets older than 12 weeks, and also to areas where the pet sleeps. This spray has been shown to kills adult fleas, as well as the eggs.