Hello Summer! Goodbye Fleas!
Ah, Summer. At least, up here in the Northern Hemisphere, that’s what’s upon us. More time outdoors, more exposure to sunshine and its feel good vitamin D, more exercise like swimming, body boarding, hiking, biking…
And, unfortunately, Summer means more insects. Most of whom have been on the planet longer than we have and won’t be leaving on their own accord anytime soon. Fleas are one of the most bothersome of the bunch, especially if you have pets.
Here’s a recent email I received that may speak to a feeling you share:
I am reluctant to try a safer alternative to Advantage for fleas
as I has a major problem with them over 2 years ago using dimotaceous earth, essential oils such as peppermint, lavender and lemon as well as Flea Treats. I live in a large dog friendly complex so it’s not like I can spray the area. The complex sprays every Wednesday and we live in such an out of control environment the fleas have become resistant to pesticides.
As a quick comparison of the basic options you face, here’s a chart:
I’ve never felt poisons were a wise choice for your animals. In poisoning the pests, there’s always a price to pay that’s carried by your animals, your family, and you.
Advantage has toned down their label a bit in recent years, but in the past, it was always a “teaching moment” for my clients and students who had never read the fine print:
- Don’t drink while using Advantage
- Don’t smoke either
- Don’t get this on your skin
- Don’t get it on your clothing
- Wash both of the above like crazy if you screw up
…but you should feel entirely confident in squeezing this poison, that kills fleas, on your dog or cat’s shoulders.
More Tasty Oral Poisons
Years ago, when I first wrote my popular Non-Toxic Flea (and Tick!) Control page,
there was an oral drug (lufenuron) that was using your pet’s blood to deliver a chemical to the blood sucking flea. I couldn’t recommend that to the most desperate clients, just because, well, it was delivered by your dog or cat’s blood!
What’s wrong with that picture?
Since then, we’ve unfortunately seen several others come to market:
- Comfortis (spinosad, a bacterial toxin, with an all too common side effect of vomiting)
- Capstar (nitenpyram, a neonicotinoid insecticide, whose class likely is responsible for our bee population decline)
Starts killing fleas as fast as 30 minutes after ingestion!
- Nexgard (afoxolaner), and
- Bravecto (fluralaner, both from Merck/Merial)
both killing the blood suckers via your pet’s blood, the latter within 2 hours and lasting for 12 weeks (!)
I wish I was making all this up.
Search Facebook and you’ll find pages dedicated to tracking illness and deaths associated with these last two.
Best Prevention, Big Picture
You’ve heard of natural resistance, especially if you have read (or listened to) my book, Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms!. It’s ultimately your safest and best bet in preventing fleas and ticks from wreaking havoc on your pets. And spoiling your Summer.
To learn more, click this button:
It turns out that my heartworm prevention without drugs book up there will also, when its principles are well applied, create natural pest resistance.
I told you about my friend Dana Scott’s experience earlier. Her dogs loaded in a van with a pack of conventionally poisoned and multiply vaccinated, kibble-fed dogs who had a big flea exposure on a show trip. Hours together in that van to get back home, and upon arrival, guess which dogs were crawling with fleas?
Yep, the conventionally raised guys. None of Dana’s pack. In fact, not a single flea!
So, the best prevention ultimately is always this: raising wildly healthy, naturally disease resistant, remarkably shiny Vital Animals.
That’s what this site is here to help you do, in fact!
Dig in and take your animals up a notch. Or several notches. A great place to start is a link in the top of every page, appropriately titled Start Here.
Tell us in the comments if you have any fave ways of preventing fleas and ticks without poisoning the pets, the people, or the planet.