About flea treatments:
Flea and tick products such as spot-on, drops, squeeze-on, powders, foggers, sprays and shampoos contain pesticides. Sometimes they also contain IGRs (Insect Growth Regulators). Anytime you use them, you are using a potent and dangerous pesticide. These types of products leave residue in your home and expose not only your pets, but your family, to these often dangerous chemicals.
About over-the-counter flea and tick products:
Available in grocery stores, hardware stores, dollar stores, pet stores and almost everywhere, over-the-counter (OTC) flea and tick products have harmed more than 44,000 cats and dogs in the United States in 2008 alone per EPA incidence numbers. These numbers are low because the EPA relies on manufacturers of products to accurately report adverse reactions and incidences of injury and death. The EPA numbers have not been posted yet for 2009, but the extreme increase in early numbers of 2009 caused the EPA to meet with registrants (manufacturers) on their products safety. Already there was an increase in reported incidences of 53% from 2007 to 2008. These numbers only document reports of death and damage for spot on, squeeze on and drops and do not include those from dips, shampoos, powders, sprays and collars. It is estimated more than 300,000 cats and dogs in the United States have been harmed by these products together in 2008 alone. These products are available in other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Africa, Europe and the UK, and marketed under different brand names . They are marketed by “trusted” companies such as Hartz, Sergeant’s, Farnam (Adams, Biospot), Sentry, Wellmark, Summit, Bob Martin and more. Companies such as Hartz and Sergeant’s have been trusted by pet owners for generations. They have recently been sold to companies such as a Sumitomo Corporation (a Japanese agricultural pesticide manufacturer) and ConAgra (one of North America’s largest packaged food companies). They no longer resemble the family owned companies we once knew and trusted, but have kept the known branding to capitalize on our trust.
Often times people will choose flea product alternatives that state “all natural” or “organic”. This does not mean they are non-toxic. Pyrethrins (and their derivatives), for example, are made from chrysanthemum. They are also one of the largest bodies of ingredients toxic to cats, dogs and humans, especially children, and cause the largest amount of incidences of pet death and damage. There are some essences/herbs that dogs do not metabolize well and cats can’t metabolize most essences including citrus, peppermint, thyme, pennyroyal, rosemary and tea tree. Do not be fooled by these “all natural” claims and always research your choices before purchasing. There is virtually no protection for your pets from dangerous and toxic products.
There are safer chemical alternatives and natural, non-chemical alternatives to these dangerous products.
Read about safer alternatives
Read Understanding Fleas