Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What flea and tick control products are safe AND effective?

The article below shows that the very effective products we've been using to control fleas and ticks may not be as safe as we think. The problem is, they're REALLY effective. And I've never found the more natural products to be very effective at all-- and once you get a flea infestation, it is very hard to really get rid of it without exposing the whole family to an expensive and toxic extermination process.

So what I do is pay attention to the dosage-- if my dog is in the lower end of the weight range for a product that says 25-55 lbs, I don't use the whole dosage. And I don't use the products as often as they say you can use them.

My dogs can tell immediately when I apply this to their skin between their shoulders-- they lick their tongue like they just got a weird taste in their mouth. And they probably DID.

Take these products seriously and use them carefully. I remember when Frontline first came out it claimed to stay in the fat layer under the skin, and claimed that it did NOT enter the bloodstream. That was later proved to be untrue, and traces of it were found in the dogs' urine as well. So it IS systemic, it DOES invade the whole body.

My dogs still live to be about 14 years old, so I don't feel like Frontline is shaving years off of their health. But be aware that it IS toxic, and use it carefully.

More report pet injuries, even deaths, from flea and tick treatments
By Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Posted: 03/18/2010 06:26:21 AM PDT

WASHINGTON - Products intended to treat cats and dogs for fleas and ticks kill hundreds of pets each year and injure tens of thousands, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday as it outlined plans to make the products safer.

The EPA said it will develop stricter testing and evaluation requirements for flea and tick treatments that are applied to a pet's skin. The agency also will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones need to say more clearly how to use the products.

The EPA's effort follows increasing complaints from pet owners that the "spot-on" products have triggered reactions in dogs and cats, ranging from skin irritation to neurological problems to deaths. Cats and small dogs appear particularly vulnerable, the EPA said, especially when given products intended for larger animals.

Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said new restrictions will be placed on flea and tick products, with additional changes for specific products likely - including possible changes in some product formulas.

"These are poisons," Owens said. "These are products designed to kill fleas and ticks - and they do their jobs."

The EPA is committed to better protecting the health and safety of pets and families, Owens said, but added that pet owners "need to carefully read and follow all labeling before exposing your pet to a pesticide."

The agency announced last

April it was increasing scrutiny of topical flea and tick products because of the growing number of bad reactions reported.
The EPA said it received 44,263 reports of harmful reactions associated with topical flea and tick products in 2008, up from 28,895 in 2007. Reactions ranged from skin irritations to vomiting to seizures to, in about 600 cases, death of an animal.

An EPA spokesman said he did not have a breakdown of how many deaths were dogs and how many cats.

Dog and cat owners say their pets have suffered burns and welts on their skin; started to drool excessively; begun to shake uncontrollably; lost control of their legs or experienced other neurological problems after using the flea and tick treatments.

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