Yesterday, my childrens’ swimming teacher cancelled a lesson because she had awful stomach cramps. Twenty-four hours later, she is better. It wasn’t food poisoning, she says. She’s suspecting it had something to do with the fact that her dog and cats were treated with the common flea/tick-repelling ointment Frontline yesterday, and she’d been petting them and gotten some of the ointment on her hands.
If you’ve ever been within 25 yards of any commericial flea/tick remedy, you know how powerful it is. My eyes water and my nostrils flare when I give Chester, our cockapoo (he’s there, on the right), his partial dose every 30 days, three months of the year. And then I don’t keep it on him as long as the directions tell you to. Don’t do what I do (though it seems to be working). Tell me what you, my holistic penpals, give your critters during flea and tick season to keep them from dragging in the whole insect world. I’m mostly scared of deer ticks as we have elderly people and kids in the house who might get passed a tick from Chester. And I know that could still happen, even with ointment use. A flea infestation is also something I wouldn’t relish any time soon.
Many people swear that dog/cat garlic and/or Brewer’s yeast supplements for pets keep the bugs off. Our new age vet here in Western Massachusetts recommends a raw food diet, and a hearty spritz of Avon’s Skin-So-Soft mixed with essential oil of Eucalyptus before every venture into the great outdoors. You can put this on a bandanna and tie it around your pet’s neck. (Chester rolled around on the ground and looked at me as if I’d abused him when I tried this yesterday.)
If you do resort to the hard drugs for part of the year, you’ve got to stay away from your pet until the ointment (always placed on the haunches or spine where the pet can’t lick) is fully absorbed. “Chester is toxic. Chester is toxic. Do not touch Chester,” I say to my family after his monthly treatment. I even post little notes on the walls to remind myself to neglect (not pet) him when he’s got Frontline on the top of his neck.
After as many hours as I can stand (but never overnight as recommended since we sleep with him) I finally bathe Chester in the bath tub with rubber gloves on my hands, and then I scour the tub like a madwoman afterwards.
But what are we doing to our environment? And how does one responsibly dispose of the tick and flea remedy packaging? Seems like we’re all too careless and cavalier, and those highly toxic particles and packages are seeping into our landfills at a growing rate.
From what I see on the web, environmental risk isn’t being discussed as much as the more immediate health risks of these toxins.
Here’s a website where freaked-out pet owners talk (and understandably rant) about the adverse reactions suffered by humans and pets when exposed to Frontline, Advantix, and all other flea/tick pet treatments. Pretty scary. Seem like the biggest problems are with the cheapest, pet-shop-dispensed varieties. Bio-Spot, a product of Hartz Mountain, has given dozens, maybe hundreds, of dogs grand-mal seizures, and the company has made secret settlments with rare pet owners who have enough money and time to pursue their carefully documented claims. Perhaps the chemical formula has been quietly adjusted in the last two years. I don’t know.