Bridging the Worlds PO Box 9109 Santa Fe, NM 87504 Phone: 505-501-1887
Could you be poisoning your Children and Pets?
A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council concludes that the risks far outweigh the benefits for a majority of the flea and tick control products. While these products do in fact kill fleas and ticks, their effects go far beyond that. Children are especially at risk from exposure to these pesticides. There are some safer alternatives, including non-toxic natural solutions.
For the executive summary of the NRDC report, click here. For the full text of the NRDC report, click here.
Before reaching for any pesticide, you should try to reduce or eliminate the problem through physical measures.
• Give the dog a bath. We use and recommend Neem "Protect" Shampoo and Neem "Protect" Spray from Ark Naturals. The main ingredients, Neem and Citronella, are not pesticides, so they don't provide a month long "immunity" to ticks and fleas. They do repress their desire to feed (thus they don't fell like biting your dog), and they act as a repellent.
• Brush and comb your dog frequently. Handpick any ticks you find. Tweezers work great for this.
• Wash the dog's bedding. At least once a week, more often if necessary.
• Vacuum and scrub the floors. At least once a week, more often if necessary.
In the best of worlds, none of us would never have to use pesticedes. As a sanctuary, we frequently take in dogs that are infested with ticks or fleas, and need to bring it under control quickly. Our guys also spend plenty of time outdoors chasing rabbits, hunting mice and pack rats, and collecting ticks (we don't have a flea problem in our area). So we're glad we have some relatively safe pesticides when we need them.
Of all the flea and tick products out there, the NRDC narrows the list down to a dozen or so that they feel are relatively safe to use, both for the pets and the people that come in contact with them. We've narrowed our list down to three. We have found Frontline and Revolution to be effective against ticks and fleas, as well as sarcoptic mange. Occasionally, we will use Capstar, a pill, for a dog with a severe flea infestiation since it knocks out almost all the fleas within an hour. Revolution comes as a once a month top spot. We have noticed no side effects from any of these products. Frontline comes as a once a month top spot application, and also as a spray that kills ticks and fleas immediately on contact -- for severe infestations.
On the other hand, Preventic tick collars (also given the okay by the NRDC) did not work as advertised. The ticks did not quickly die and detach. We seemed to have less ticks, but still had ticks nonetheless. About five of our dogs (10%) had allergic reactions and scratched themselves like crazy until we ditched the collars and gave them a bath. The collars themselves are not a pleasant thing. They need to be fairly tight, so that they contact the skin, but they contiually stretch and need adjustment every few days. I found myself petting the dogs less because I didn't like touching the collars. Imagine having one tight around your neck.