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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fight Flea Season and Win

For those of us who have pets, fighting fleas can sometimes seem like a losing battle. The pesky little creatures can be hardy warriors and when we think we’ve just about conquered them and taken back our territory, we get bitten when we’re least expecting it. We arm ourselves with powders, shampoos, sprays, and collars and end up spending more money than we intended only to find that the enemy camp hasn’t been completely destroyed. So should we throw down our weapons and surrender? Of course not.

You may not be able to eliminate fleas entirely especially if you live in a warm climate where flea season is all year long but good preparation and a consistent routine can help keep fleas under control. Fleas are an irritant to people as well as pets. If your dog or cat has the run of the house so do the fleas. In other words, if you allow your pet to sleep on the sofa or your bed the fleas will be bunking there too. They will be found in your carpet, furniture, bed linen and anywhere else your pet spends time.

Flea infestations in pets can cause skin irritations and even hair loss. It seems as if they prey on pets that are ill, weak or have lowered immune systems. So consequently, the healthier the pet is the less chance of flea infestation. At the first sign of fleas we usually head out to stock up on flea control products but we don’t often realize that many commercial repellants can be just as bad for our pets as the fleas that plague them. These products contain harmful insecticides and by using products such as these, our pets, especially those that may have sensitivity can also experience skin irritations, hair loss or illness of some sort. Flea powders can cause severe skin conditions in sensitive pets and should never be used on young kittens or puppies, sick or weak animals. Cats especially are prone to ingest the chemicals found in flea powders because they are constantly cleaning themselves by licking their fur.

There are natural measures we can take in the fight against fleas. A good variety of herbal flea control products exist that are effective against fleas and non-toxic to your pet. Regular cleaning is a must to prevent flea infestation. Steam clean your carpets and vacuum often and thoroughly. Wash blankets, bed linen, throw pillows, throw rugs and other washable items that your pet may lie on in hot water. Keep your pet healthy and the house clean.

If your pet is permitted to go outdoors it may be best to wear a flea collar on the animal. You may prefer to purchase one of the herbal type collars. The pet should also be shampooed periodically with a mild pet or herbal shampoo. If you have a cat then you know that bathing a feline can be a challenging experience. You may be one of the lucky ones to have a cat that actually doesn’t mind being bathed but most cats have a natural aversion to water. One good thing is that cats don’t normally need to be bathed as often as dogs since they are adamant about self-grooming.

Some people swear by certain home remedies that may have a certain degree of effectiveness. One such remedy is to add a small amount of lemon juice to the rinse water when giving the pet a bath to repel fleas and aid in the healing of fleabites. Other suggestions include the addition of brewer’s yeast and garlic to the pet’s food as natural flea repellants. Although I’ve tried these methods and not seen any significant difference in flea control, I have noticed that a bit of lemon juice in the rinse water does seem to make a pet’s fur shine. Whether you choose to try alternative methods or not, good health and regular cleaning seems to be the best defense against fleas. Before trying any radical methods of flea control or in the event that flea infestation causes health problems consult your veterinarian. Fight flea season and win.

Copyright © 2006 Ian White

Article from the US Food and Drug Administration about treating fleas and ticks.


Anonymous Nell Liquorman said...

This is not a comment, but an email to the author.

Sorry, I could not see an email address directly to the author, so,I am using your comment screen.

Your pet and your home really can be flea-free without flea products.

The KEEP FLEAS OFF guide, published in 1993, available through an environmental group for many years, now at this site:
You have a great site and can influence a lot of pet owners and help to prevent poisonings of pets by harmful flea products, that are so often misused. If you would like to know more about me and my flea program, email me. I will be happy to send you info - regarding flea products, my program or about me. I would be happy to let you do a review of my guide, KEEP FLEAS OFF.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Kate Law said...

I agree with the previous comment about killing fleas without chemicals.

I'm actually on a mission to spread the word;)

I work for Halo, we make the world's first vacuum that kills fleas, dust mites, the flu virus, bacteria, lice & mold with the use of ultraviolet light. Check out our website: and kill fleas quickly and effectively.

Good luck!

1:24 PM  
Anonymous flea and tick said...

I really agree with what your article says. True enough, the use of flea and tick controller is beneficial for it keeps your dogs or cats healthy and well-sanitized. Since they are bug-free, they can freely roam around without the irritation caused by fleas and ticks.

7:34 PM  

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