Flea and tick treatments may contain toxic chemicals that can poison pets and harm people. Even when applied as instructed on the box, these chemicals are not safe, either for pets or for humans. Avoid toxic chemicals by taking care of your pet. Regular combing, bathing and vacuuming can reduce and control fleas. When chemical control is necessary, choose a safer treatment and avoid the most toxic chemicals. All pesticides should be used with caution and in consultation with a veterinarian. Ask your vet about one of the products or treatments marked with one crossed-out paw in our Greenpaws Flea and Tick Products Directory.

Combing

Regular combing of a pet can help reduce fleas and also helps monitor the success of a flea control program. Fleas caught in the comb should be drowned in soapy water.

Bathing

Soapy baths are a great way to control fleas, since any soap will get rid of them. Fleas tend to accumulate in bedding, so wash your pet's bedding in hot water once a week, taking care not to spread any flea eggs and larvae that may be contained in it.

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Vacuuming

Vacuuming picks up fleas and eggs from carpets, floors and crevices and from under or on furniture. Immediately after vacuuming, throw vacuum bags away to prevent fleas from escaping and reinfesting your home. Severe infestations may require professional carpet cleaning with steam.

Maintaining Outdoor Areas

Keeping grass and shrubbery clipped short in areas where your pet spends time will increase dryness and sunlight, which will help reduce a flea problem. Nematodes, available at garden supply stores, can be used as a nonchemical, biological aid to help control fleas in these areas.

What About Herbal or Natural Products?

Not all essential oils used to treat pet pests are safe for animals or people. Herbal or natural products containing citrus, cinnamon, clove, d-limonene, geranium, tea tree, lavender, linalool, bay, eucalyptus and rue oils should be used sparingly because they can cause allergic reactions in people—and severe reactions in cats and dogs have been reported. Avoid the use of any flea or tick product containing pennyroyal oil. It can cause seizures, coma, and even death in animals. Herbal or natural products that contain cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and thyme are probably safer. Learn more in our Greenpaws Product Directory; look under "Oils."

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertszlivka/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Comments

Lost a puppy recently after applying Advantix. Bayer said that the product is not systemic, doesn't get into the bloodstream. Should be OK. Even after washing it off with soap and water (waterproof). But after a month of shaking, anorexia, weird head and neck postures, vets., testing and medications Honey was diagnosed with a 'suspect' neurological problem. No money for an MRI to confirm. Had to put an 8 month old puppy to sleep as she was not responding well to steroids (more poison) given to her for the problem. Was it the Advantix or a strange coincidence? It was stupid on my part to believe anything a big corporation would tell me. Keep poisons off pets!
I used Advantix on my 7 month old Poodle Puppy on Feb. 1st. because we had a flea problem in our house last summer that drove me around the bend and I thought I saw one on one of the cats. We have 3 cats and two (well, now only one dog). I was afraid Honey was having a bad reaction, she was acting weird, like trying to reach around and bite herself where I put the product (between her shoulder blades). I called the Bayer company and they assured me that the product is not systemic, that it doesn't get into the blood stream and therefore safe to put on my puppy. I washed her with soap and water to try to get it off but like they say, its waterproof! I spent the whole month of February taking my puppy to the vet. with all kinds of different problems...shaking, anorexia, very touchy around her neck and head. After 3 weeks and thousands of dollars in tests and medications she was ultimately diagnosed with a neurological problem which could not be verified without an MRI. Very expensive. Needless to say we could not incur that expense. Honey was on steroids for a week to control the spasms she was having and did not respond well to them. (What animal in such toxic condition would?) We had to put our sweet puppy to sleep after she started vomiting and had bloody diarrhea along with the so called neurological symptoms. Was it the Advantix that started all this? I don't know, and I bet no one would be able to pinpoint that either without doing a toxicology screening, which none of the vets. thought to do. The point is, poison is poison. If it kills insects, it can kill your dog or cat too. Its just a different level of toxicity.
Just a comment about the Lymes disease vaccine. I had my family doctor a few years back tell me that he would NEVER recommend this vaccine for humans let alone pets! He stated it would be much safer to treat someone who has Lymes disease with antibiotics then to deal with the side effects of this vaccine. Hope this is of value for all!
One thing I found that helped out quite a lot when I was first trying to bathe my dogs, especially for cleaning out fleas and such... my mother is getting old and has to use a shower chair to bathe herself... that is an amazingly convenient place to sit and make washing my dogs easier -- I'd recommend trying it out!
I don't put chemicals on my dog. Luckily where I live, we haven't experienced any fleas or ticks. Just reading the application instructions scare me. Reading them, it sounds like you are putting a poison on your dog and if you come into contact with it, to wash your hands immediately. If it's dangerous for me, then it's dangerous for my dog and I will not use the products. Paula, Puppy Training
I have been using Shoo Tag for my two dogs. Shoo Tag comes with two tags one for fleas and one for ticks; it replels the insects by a electromagnetic field. You can get it on line and my dogs groomer recommended it and also sells it. I did not see it on your web site and would like to know if you know if it is safe for my dogs. Thanks.
i have used advantage because vets say it better than other brands and are save, because my cats fleas were really bad. My male cat would scrach his cheeks to they would bleed and large scabs. They had scabs and loose their hair before i used advantage. So after the fleas where gone i was recommended to use brewers yeast and garlic tablets and shave that into their food. That seems to work, but i slacked off because it gives them diarea sometimes, now they getting them again so i gotta use the advantage again. I also heard to give lemon bath to them, does that work? Im i doing the right thing...they are alot better then they were the funny thing is my cats are indoor cats. But my stepson works landscaping and i believe he was bringing fleas into the home on his work clothers, is this true?
Ticks are a much bigger concern than fleas for us. All of our neighbors, and some of their dogs, have had Lymes disease, and we really don't know what that will mean for our health down the road. One dog developed diabetes after her pancreas was apparently attacked by one of the bacteria associated with tick-borne illnesses. Sometimes we have to weigh the lesser of 2 evils, and I think I'm going to stick with the Frontline.
It is also important to know that the vibration from vacuuming and steam cleaning can also cause remaining flea eggs to hatch. We also use a fine boric acid powder after steam cleaning. If brushed deep into the carpet, it should remain after numerous vacuum cleanings.
I'm also looking for a response to alternative preventatives for ticks. I live in an area of the country where Lyme's and now another tick-borne disease are rampant and if I don't do something, the odds are, considering the numbers of ticks he will get, that he will definitley get Lyme's or other illnesses. Maybe I could raise chickens on my property?!

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