The Concept of putting systemic pesticides on our companion animals under the guise of maintaining good health seems to us a crazy idea. Often these dangerous chemicals can make our animals very sick, with the related health concerns easily outweighing the marketing promises in our opinion. When you further understand that 80% of a flea's lifespan is spent, and 95% of a flea population exists, in your animal's environment, poisoning your animal may seem even crazier to you!
When manufacturing and marketing these topical flea and tick pesticides, it is evident to us that the overall health and wellness of your animals did not enter into the decision making process at all. The major concerns of the manufacturers appears to be that one, the poisons used did kill fleas and two, they needed to make sure that most animals did not keel over dead immediately after application. On both these concerns they have been successful as most of the poisons, at this time, do kill fleas and most animals do not die instantly. A majority of animals, though, do exhibit a wide range of adverse events within hours of being treated with an application of a flea pesticide product. In our store we see unwanted symptoms in animals that can be traced back to the use of a spot on flea product on a weekly basis. In other words, an animal was perfectly fine and within minutes to a couple of weeks after the application of a chemical flea and tick product the animal begins to experience adverse symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, tremors or lethargy. Often, these symptoms take on the form of chronic illness, such as skin imbalances, and are not associated with the use of the flea pesticide products. Even when acute, sudden onset symptoms are seen, veterinarians often pontificate as to the inducement of the unwelcome symptoms being caused by something else and unrelated to the recent use of a topical flea pesticide.
In our conversation with Merial (makers of Frontline), we asked what was the longest clinical trial on a single group of dogs. The answer is 90 DAYS! This is a usual time frame for a trial, some companies' trials may be a little longer and some may be a little less. The important thing to note is NOBODY KNOWS THE LONG TERM EFFECT OF USING THESE CHEMICALS, NOT EVEN THE MANUFACTURERS! Keep this information in mind the next time someone assures you that these products are safe. There is no way for anyone to know that. The fact is their has been, and continues to be acute illness, chronic illness and even death in animals that has been reported after the use of these systemic pesticides.
Fleas are beginning to show resistance by developing immunity to these products
Ingredients in topical flea and tick products have been shown to damage the thyroid, cause neurological and reproductive disorders and skin irritations, harm the liver and accumulate in body fat.
Nothing is known about their long-term use.
Supposedly the neurotoxins in these products effects only insects, but they are converted in the body of mammals into neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. We will see more and more genetic damage in our animals down the line. This means weaker and sicklier animals as generations progress.
Most of the flea poisons marketed to consumers target the flea. Yet, the majority of a flea's lifespan is not even spent on your animal!
Bug-bombs are not effective against flea eggs and larvae.
Flea collars are particularly ineffective. Fleas simply move away from the collar to other parts of your animal!
Flea pesticide toxins pass through our animals 80% intact and into our drinking water - don't forget, they are neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors!
Fleas and mammals have been around for thousands of years, so there must be some relationship if they have existed together for so long. The misleading, fear driven marketing of flea pesticide products has created a billion dollar industry perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industry and some veterinarians.
Fleas prefer weaker, less healthy hosts and puppies and kittens with less developed immune systems.
Fleas are highly adaptable and evidence is coming to light that shows fleas are becoming resistant to commercial flea chemicals.
Fleas have a difficult time surviving in a clean environment.
The most prevalent species of flea is the Cat Flea, which also use dogs as a host. Under average household conditions, cat fleas will complete their life cycle within 3 to 4 weeks.
Eggs typically make up 50% of an infestation in the home and the majority of these wind up in the environment off of your animal. Humidity below 50% and over 92% kills flea eggs.
Larvae are free moving, and survive by feeding on organic debris found in their environment and on adult flea feces, which is essential for successful development. The larval stage usually lasts 5 to 11 days, depending upon the availability of food and the climatic conditions, and will account for about 35% of an infestation in a home.
Upon completion of development, the mature larva produces a silk-like cocoon in which it pupates. Pupae are unaffected by household chemical sprays and commonly make up 10% of the infestation in a home.
Once the flea emerges from the cocoon it can survive for 1 to 3 weeks before requiring a blood meal. Adult fleas make up only about 5% of a population and can live for as long as four months.
If you have been using systemic pesticides on your pet we urge you to stop and take a more common sense approach. As you can see by the brief description of the life cycle of a flea above, if you are applying flea poisons to your animal you are only targeting 5% of the fleas! Since fleas are parasites the key is to strengthen the host and use effective natural ways to control flea populations in and around your home.
Strengthen the host!Fleas are parasites and prey on weak animals. Poor commercial pet foods create a weak and out-of-balance animal; the perfect host for a flea.
Purchase the best food you can afford for your animals. A whole food, natural diet minus any hormones, pesticides, chemicals, artificial additives and synthetic vitamins. Many of these toxins are secreted through hair follicles exacerbating skin problems, including flea bite dermatitis.
Maintain healthy digestion and waste elimination by providing your animal with digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics.
Support a healthy immune system with a quality multi-vitamin and the periodic use of detoxifying and nutritive herbs.
Add some essential fatty acids, such as a quality fish oil supplement, to your animals diet to ensure your animal has healthy skin and coat.
Try a natural supplement such as brewers yeast and garlic or a yeast-free product to boost your animal's natural defenses and make them less tasty to fleas.
Good housekeeping is a must.
Vacuum regularly and thoroughly, including sofas and your animal's sleeping areas, and clean carpets. Don't forget to get rid of the vacuum bag or add diatomaceous earth or borate powder to the bag. Remember what was mentioned above? The majority of a flea's lifespan is spent off of your animal and fleas can not exist in a clean environment.
Wash dog and cat beds as well as blankets and furniture that your pets sleep on.
Inside you can use natural flea treatment powders that can be brushed into carpets, under furniture and pet beds or anywhere else you think fleas may be hiding and breeding. These powders work by either dehydrating flea larvae or by damaging a flea's exoskeleton and causing dessication. Because of fine particles that may irritate the lungs you should where a mask when applying diatomaceous earth or borate powder products.
Treat your yard naturally by applying beneficial nematodes once or twice a year (depending on climate). These are beneficial insects that feed on insect larvae and will do a great job of keeping the outdoor flea population in check.
Groom your companion
By brushing your animal once or twice per week you will be removing dead hair, mats and tangles. All are prime hiding places for fleas.
Purchase a flea comb. Pay close attention to places fleas typically congregate - belly area, under legs, and around the head and tail. When you find fleas, drown them in soapy water.
Try natural, herbal shampoos and topical sprays.
Bathe your pet with a nice healthy natural shampoo. Not too often as that may remove your animal's natural oils, drying out their skin. Avoid shampoos with chemical ingredients as these may also dry out and damage your animal's skin. You need to trust your retailer because manufacturers are not required to put all the ingredients that are in their shampoos on the label! At The Pet Health and Nutrition Center we check and have already caught one deceptive manufacturer! You don''t need to use toxic flea shampoos, just make sure you thoroughly wet and lather your pet. Leave the lather on for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse really well making sure everything is washed down the drain. The shampoo breaks the surface tension so most if not all of the fleas will drown during bathing.
We have some wonderful natural flea and tick sprays and powders that are effective. They can be applied directly onto your animal being careful of the eyes or placed on your hand or a towel or brush and then distributed through your animal's coat.
Avoid the use of products containing essential oils on cats. Some, in small amounts may be okay, but unless you are sure which ones it is best to avoid them. Instead, use a hydrosol, sometimes called floral water, on your cat.
That's it, no chemicals just a nice clean house and companion!