Fleas are tiny bloodsuckers that live in dirt, dust or other moist places. They feed on human blood and they transmit diseases like typhus, bubonic plague, Lyme disease and others. If you have pets, it’s very likely that they are infested with fleas too. These little parasites cause many health problems for your pet including skin infections, heartworm disease and even cancer!
The best way to get rid of fleas is to use topical flea treatments. These products kill all the adult fleas within a certain area and prevent them from coming back again. However, there are some problems associated with using these products on pets:
They may not work properly in animals with allergies;
Some of them may irritate their skin causing allergic reactions; and/or
There are no guarantees that they won’t cause harm to humans if used improperly.
However, there are safer alternatives to flea control products. Here are some of them:
1) Natural Products – There are natural ways to treat your dog and cat for fleas and ticks.
One such way is to use diatomaceous earth, which is a type of powder composed of tiny shells. It kills fleas by dehydrating them; however, it’s not very effective. You’ll probably have to apply more than once.
Another product is food grade vegetable oil, such as canola, olive or coconut oil. Be careful when using this product since it can cause skin problems if your pet already has some.
2) Chemical/Drug Free – There are many chemical free ways to get rid of fleas.
For example, there are herbal shampoos that you can use on your pet to kill the fleas and an organic flea comb that you can use to remove the fleas from its fur.
3) Over-The-Counter Medications – There are many non-prescription flea killers on the market.
Some of these include products like flea collars, sprays, dips and drops. Be sure to use these only as directed and monitor your pet closely in case a rash or some other skin irritation develops.
4) Prescription Medications – If none of the above home remedies work for your pet then you may want to try a prescription medication such as Advantage, K9 Advantix or Program.
These usually come in topical treatments, dips or pills. These should only be used by a professional.
The above are some of the safer ways to treat your pet for fleas. Of course, it is always possible that your pet may have some sort of allergic reaction to any of the treatment that you apply. If this happens then stop using the product immediately and contact your veterinarian right away.
If you have any questions at all about which treatment option is best for your pet then speak to a professional to help you decide.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Best practices for preventing vector-borne diseases in dogs and humans (F Dantas-Torres, D Otranto – Trends in parasitology, 2016 – Elsevier)
- Diseases transmitted by man’s best friend: the dog (J Jacob, B Lorber – Infections of Leisure, 2016 – Wiley Online Library)
- Identification, cloning, and characterization of a major cat flea salivary allergen (Cte f 1) (…, E Weber, S Hunter, KE Stedman, E Best… – Molecular …, 2000 – Elsevier)
- Best Flea Collars For Dogs (M Story – thelabradorsite.com)
- … administered combination product containing sarolaner, moxidectin and pyrantel (Simparica Trio™) for the treatment and control of flea infestations on dogs (K Kryda, SP Mahabir, L Carter… – Parasites & …, 2020 – parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral …)
- Detection of Novel Bartonella Strains and Yersinia pestis in Prairie Dogs and Their Fleas (Siphonaptera: Ceratophyllidae and Pulicidae) Using Multiplex Polymerase … (HL Stevenson, Y Bai, MY Kosoy… – Journal of medical …, 2003 – academic.oup.com)
- Dose selection of selamectin for efficacy against adult fleas (Ctenocephalides felis felis) on dogs and cats (TL McTier, AD Jernigan, TG Rowan, MS Holbert… – Veterinary …, 2000 – Elsevier)