Wise dog owners avoid conventional tick and flea control methods such as tick dips, flea sprays, and whole body poisons. Some “natural” flea treatments still present risks. How to get rid of fleas and ticks the natural way.
IS NATURAL FLEA CONTROL SAFE?
by Nel Liquorman, TheDogPlace.org Health Editor / Sept. 2004
As truth comes to light, we must update natural flea control information. We know that chemical flea treatments are often risky but now we know there are also risk factors associated with natural flea control.
One consumer alert states that no spot-on flea treatment is safe. (March 2010, EPA releases warnings) They may contain dangerous ingredients which include methoprene, fenoxycarb and pyriproxyfen.
Essential oils pose risks for pets and are not FDA regulated. On a pet, they are licked, causing a burning mouth, headache, nausea, vomiting, or seizures. Many are likely to cause convulsions.
Eucalyptus (tea tree) oil risks include weakness, tremors, behavioral disorders, depression, skin irritation, contact dermatitis, vomiting and possible tumors. It is as toxic as turpentine which raises the suspicion that pets could be at risk from mulches made from Eucalyptus trees.
Citronella is a non-toxic pesticide and Neem oil is suspect in liver damage. They could all be risky because oils come from 700 different plants, the processing often involves solvents, and they may come from Communist China.
Sellers say do not use on the skin and not for internal use. Yet they promote these uses, offer recipes, and suggest low doses. Your pet is not an 800 pound gorilla. Even the smallest amount has an effect. For example: Sage and rosemary contain natural neurotoxins that can cause seizures in small pets.
The truth is, natural just means the original ingredient was not produced in a laboratory. But nature, which we all know, can be quirky and risky. So use even natural flea control products with caution.
There are safe “foods” which work very well in amounts appropriate to the size of your dog or cat. Wheat germ and garlic are natural flea repellents which seem to make the host animal unattractive to fleas!
And of course, talk to your vet before using any flea control product or remedy.