Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Flea and Tick Season Angst

CHESTER.jpgYesterday, 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.

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kathryn janus

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:31 pm

We SWEAR by a product called “Flea Treats” which is mostly Brewer’s Yeast, Liver and Vitamin B. We give our pets twice the suggested dose for their weight (excess vitamin B is pee’d out if there’s an overdose) and haven’t had any fleas or ticks, even though our dogs are in a highly infested area in Upstate New York. Something about the product makes the dog’s skin unappealing to ticks and fleas, but I can’t smell any difference. One of my dogs almost died from a flea collar. It was terrifying to see how sick he got. I, too, have had a very negative reaction to the liquids that are put on the back of their necks, even the one that I bought at the vet’s.

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Peter Clothier

posted July 3, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Hmmm. Food for thought. We’ve been using Advantage, I guess–you’re right–in a “careless and cavalier” manner, though it has had no noticeable ill effects on either George (our Cavalier) or ourselves. Still, I’m glad you brought my attention to the potential ecological side-effects. We need to rethink our flea strategy. Anyone know of any good remedy for the itches (allergic, that is; not fleas)? We think it’s the local eucalyptus trees. Cheers, PeterAtLarge (The Buddha Diaries)

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posted July 3, 2007 at 10:42 pm

I would like to know where they get these flea treats. Sounds like the best solution.

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posted July 4, 2007 at 2:28 am

Does the same go for cats? Can you use the Avon stuff on them?

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Linda M Bemis

posted July 4, 2007 at 10:41 am

I have five cats and two dogs. Brewers yeast with garlic do help. Use a mineral oil and essential oil (eucalyptus). A small medicine bottle with two or three drops will be enough. Chapparal (herb) as a tea in a spray bottle repels and brings back the fur! This is a battle of the fleas. I also use a head lice comb on the cats. Keep a bowl of water with soap in it too. Garlic capsules for very large dogs every other day will help. Also know that even when the animals are not present, fleas will bite anyone who have not eaten garlic.

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posted July 4, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Here’s the link to Bug-Off Garlic. Works on horses, too!

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