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Eliminating fleas in our pets - the pros and cons of anti-flea products
Preventing Fleas naturally
Fleas. The very thought of them makes us literally jump. Dog owners the world owner fight the flea and tick battle with elusive conclusion, with the little critters always seeming to win.
The search for optimal flea control can seem like a never ending quest. Products on the market often have after effects that are not quite so desirable. Thus, natural methods of flea control are welcome alternatives for pet lovers.
There are multiple things to consider. First time pet owners will wonder what flea control products there are available. Others will wonder about their advantages and disadvantages. Still others will want to know if there are less risky, more natural ways of getting rid of these jumping nuisances.
This writer will show what anti-flea products and medications are available on the market, discuss their pros and cons and explore the natural remedies available that will rid us of these jumping nuisances.
The pros and cons of flea products on the market
Fleas and ticks are nuisances that can be far worse than just merely being one. They also transmit deadly diseases to your pets. If a flea has been infected with tapeworm, they gain entry into your pet’s bloodstream after biting.
So what flea control products are available on the market?
Immensely popular, these medications are those that you usually apply in between the pet’s shoulder blades or the base of his neck. The ingredients in these medications repel ticks and fleas and put off nasty mosquitoes too.
These medications work better to kill more fleas because they spread through the entire body. The medicine works even though the pet has had a shower.
In the case of some topical medications, the flea would have to bite the animal in order to be poisoned or repelled. There are also possible complications that may arise from the medication being introduced into the bloodstream or sweat glands.
If the idea of topical medications can be a little off putting, there are different oral medications, to be given monthly, available on the market.
Oral medications not only repel fleas and ticks, some may even prevent heartworm disease in dogs.
Some pets might develop allergic reactions to the medication, like itchiness and redness. Some may experience vomiting or diarrhea. Generally, the side effects of oral medication are few.
Go to any pet store and you will find a wide collection of anti flea sprays available. These can be applied on your pet after his shower.
A less expensive method of controlling fleas than topical or oral medications, sprays are also relatively easy to use.
Some may not be as effective. The chemicals can also be dangerous when absorbed by the pet’s skin or touch his eyes.
Again easily accessible and to use, these powders are easy to apply after a bath.
They are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply
Like sprays, they are dangerous when absorbed by the pet’s eyes or skin. Side effects of powders may include vomiting, diarrhea and even shaking.
Flea and tick shampoos, of course, serve to wash away adult fleas and ticks. Many contain the ingredient pyrethrins that facilitates this. There are many of these available at any pet store.
These are easily available and are applied like ordinary shampoos. One just has to be careful of leaving the shampoo on for a short while before rinsing to give it time to be absorbed by the skin.
Being absorbed by the skin, they are no less dangerous than flea sprays or powders. They do not prevent re-infestations of fleas.
Flea and tick dips
These are dips that are usually applied to your pet with a sponge. After application, the pet is allowed to air dry.
Being quite concentrated in pyrethrins, a dip serves to kill more fleas and ticks.
The high level of chemicals makes it dangerous to both animals and humans. After application, wash your hands thoroughly and do not let your pet lick itself.
These collars contain chemicals like pyrethrins and other insect regulators to repel fleas and even mosquitoes. The chemical is dispersed all over the animal’s body after it is worn.
The use of flea collars is a relatively inexpensive method of flea control. It provides some protection for your pet.
The chemicals used can make the collar irritating and cause allergic reactions. They can also smell rather strong.
The pros and cons of individual flea medications
There are some well know flea medications that have been used by dog owners since time immemorial. Before using them, it is good for dog owners to consider their up and down sides.
Program is an oral medication that prevents fleas from laying their eggs in a conducive environment. It does so by introducing chitin to the eggs of fleas, making them unhealthy. It prevents young fleas from using their teeth to hatch out of the egg. It also softens the exoskeleton of adult fleas.
The wonderful thing about program is that it is attractive to your pet. Available in different flavor tabs, a pet is easily drawn to consuming it. The not so wonderful-the fleas must bite your pet in order for the chitin to work. It does not kill adult fleas already present on the body.
I have used this product on my dogs, who were previously infested with fleas and ticks. A topical medication, it is applied between the pet’s shoulder blades and goes into its sweat glands.
Frontline is effective in preventing infestation and my dogs have not had a repeat of it since application. It is good if your dog spends time outdoors and becomes a victim of full blown infestation.
However, it can cause allergic reactions, nausea or diarrhea because it is absorbed into the animal’s skin. It is not for constant application.
A topical for external application on the skin, Revolution kills all manner of parasites, including fleas, hookworms and heart worms. It kills sarcoptic mange as well.
Its versatility makes it a great topical medications to use. However, like other topical medications, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause the side effects already mentioned.
An oral pill, this will kill fleas within minutes. However, because it only works within 24 hours of application, it does not work as well if your dog has a highly advanced infestation. It works best when a dog without fleas is given the medication after being exposed to it.
Some natural flea removers
You can probably tell that flea products, though effective in preventing or reducing infestation can also have their drawbacks. Owners may therefore look for natural solutions to their flea problems.
An all natural product, DE is made of fossilized skeletal remains of unicellular plants called diatoms. Fleas can be repelled by putting small amounts of it around the home, where fleas are prevalent.
Generally non toxic to humans or pets, it can be irritating to those with breathing problems. If considering DE, do not apply it when the household fan is being turned on.
Nematodes are little microscopic worms that eat flea larvae and serves as a natural way of controlling the flea population. Because they do not survive in the sun, nematodes should be placed in shady areas around the home. You only need a small number, as they multiply rapidly. They can be purchased at some pet and garden stores.
Rosemary Flea Dip
This is a really natural way of getting around flea problems. To prepare the dip, 2 cups of rosemary should go into boiling water for 30 minutes. The liquid should then be strained and warm water added depending on the size of your dog. Pour over the dog and allow it to dry naturally.
Lavender essential oil
After washing and drying your dog, apply a few drops of this to the tip of the tail and base of the neck to repel fleas.
This works like many oral medications, this is excreted through the skin and makes the dog less attractive to fleas.
However, it is much healthier, without chemicals.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Not too attractive in terms of taste, adding a teaspoonful of this to your dog’s water makes his skin acidic and not tasty to fleas. Reduce the amount if your dog is not feeling, well, too sour.
This is easy for all to prepare. Quarter a lemon and leave it in boiling water overnight. In the morning, spray all over your dog, avoiding its eyes. The sour taste will repel fleas.
Using common household items to prevent fleas
Putting a little salt in problem areas after the floor has been washed dehydrates flea eggs and kills them. It takes a longer time to work, but is worth the wait.
Soap and water
A great nighttime remedy, putting a bowl of water and some soap at night under light will repel fleas.
Natural flea Collars
Yes, you can make your own natural flea collars. Use a cloth or bandana and drop a little citrus, eucalyptus or lavender on it. The acidity will repel fleas.
The best way to prevent fleas is still to keep the environment clean. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will make the environment less attractive to fleas! Thanks for reading!
Original work by Michelle Liew
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