A number of year ago myself and my family decided we wanted to start eating better quality food and basically just living a less chemically infested lifestyle. In this endeavor we included our pets. The first step we took was switching dog food. Next we began thinking about flea treatment alternatives. I started researching the ingredients in my pets flea treatment and was frightened by what I learned. Below I've listed a few of the most common ingredients in commercial flea treatment, what they are, and some of the known or suspected side effects.
- Imidacloprid: is a systemic insecticide which acts as an insect neurotoxin. May adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain
- Permethrin: an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. Not known to rapidly harm most mammals dangerously toxic to cats and fish.
- Fipronil: spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect central nervous system. Fipronil also has been reported for causing nervous system damage and reproductive damage.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/283118-topical-flea-product-skin-problems/#ixzz1Zkqd1kAI
As I read the side effects of these ingredients I started having flashbacks to Mocha and his reaction every time we put his flea treatment on. If he saw the bottle he would run away (which wasn't unusual, he'd run away when it came time for a bath too). When I eventually caught him he would start shaking and after applying it he would roll frantically on his back as if he were trying to get it off. For years I figured he was just being dramatic and overacting; some clever ploy for attention. It wasn't until after he had passed on that I realized his reactions were most likely an allergic reaction to the chemicals.
My point here is not to bash the commercial flea treatments. Many pets can use them for years without any reaction. KoKo never seemed to have any issues with them. My goal here is to stress the importance of knowing what you are using on your pet and to use those products with caution. Pay attention to how your dog or cat reacts to these things.
A year later I have not used a chemical flea treatment on any of our dogs and we've had no flea infestation.
The most important item in our new arsenal is Brewer's Yeast. We put it in the dogs food twice a day, every day. The exact amount needed depends on the size of your dog and most bottles will break it down for you. Brewer's Yeast can be purchased at your local pet store or online. They have formulas specifically for dogs or you can use the human grade Brewer's Yeast as well. Just always be certain to check with your vet before introducing anything new to your dogs diet.
In addition to this we treat the yard with DE (diatomaceous earth) and use a mix of witch hazel and peppermint on the dogs before they go outside.
In order for these alternatives to be successful they require consistency. If you are unable or unwilling to make sure your dog eats their Brewer's Yeast everyday or to treat your yard then this probably isn't the flea solution for you. Natural alternatives require a bit more work and diligence but you'll be able to keep your pet from being exposed to harsh chemicals on a monthly basis.