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ticks on dogs and cats

Keep Your Pooch Safe from Ticks, Naturally

Spot-on treatments for dogs and cats are convenient, but some question their safety.

By Leah Zerbe

tags: PET CARE



RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced it would be reviewing the safety of liquid flea and tick products due to mounting reports of illnesses in dogs and cats, including seizures, irritation, and hair loss, among others. Cats are particularly vulnerable to insecticides, and also fall ill when exposed to chemicals used in dog treatments. “Just a few drops of concentrated permethrin, present in many spot-on treatments designed for dogs, can be lethal to cats,” says Steven Hansen, DVM, ASPCA veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of animal health services.

These spot-on solutions, typically applied between the pet’s shoulder blades or along their spine, are pesticides that do effectively keep fleas and ticks at bay, but could have unwanted side effects. A recent EPA study also found that many of the pesticides used in the products turn up in household dust. Natural Resources Defense Council says many of these neurotoxin flea and tick chemicals are potentially dangerous to not only our pets, but also to developing children who come into direct contact with the pesticide after it’s applied to a pet, or inhale or ingest the contaminated household dust, particularly when crawling on the floor.

Keeping ticks away from your animals is a worthy goal, though. Depending on the type of tick latching on to your pet (or you), it could carry diseases like Lyme disease (the fastest-growing infectious disease in the country), bartonella, or other co-infections. Here’s how to deal with ticks on your dog without using questionable pesticides. Even if you choose to use a chemical repellent on your dog, you can still use these tactics for extra safety. (Cats tend to groom themselves more meticulously, ridding themselves of ticks more easily without human help—plus, many animal advocates suggest they be kept indoors, for their own safety and to prevent predation of local birds.)

Published on: July 7, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010



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Don't you think it is asking

Don't you think it is asking a bit too much to expect dog owners to inspect their dog for ticks every time they return from a trip from the backyard?

For one thing, searching for ticks can take a minute or more, and secondly, our dog is in and out like a yo yo.

I'd say the cat is cleaner - yes, but once he was playing with the guinea pig, and caught a nasty rash that needed medication. I wonder if anyone has a safe non-toxic solution for the tick problem.

try this one for your

try this one for your favorite pet:

Sour expression: Vinegar is a great multi-purpose repellent. Use organic apple cider vinegar as a final rinse in a dog’s bath or dampen a cloth and apply directly to coat. Another tried and true recipe is to put one part vinegar, one part Avon’s Skin-So-Soft and two parts water in a spray bottle for a quick, prophylactic spritz. bank levy

Natural remedies for dog's

Natural remedies for dog's dry skin and dandruff

If your dog is scratching and itching incessantly, it could be a simple matter of dog dry skin or dandruff. These home remedies for dog’s dry skin are simple to use and will be safer than using conventional products for these problems.

Vitamin E oil: Apply some of this oil to your dog’s skin and massage in to give your pooch a total relaxation treatment. You can also use this oil in your dog’s bath or shampoo. You may also give vitamin E oil supplements to your dog with his food.
Oatmeal: Use baby oatmeal cereal or grind your own quick oats and then add to a warm bath. Let your pooch soak in the warm water as long as possible to sooth their itchiness.
Phosphorus: Adding phosphorus supplements to your dog’s diet can help alleviate dandruff or patchy hair loss. Your vet can recommend quantities.
Urtica urens: This can be used to treat small, red blotching on your dog’s skin as a topical treatment.
Sulphur: Red, hot, eczema like spots on your dog’s skin can often be remedied with supplements of sulphur. Consult your vet for dose suggestions.
Dry skin shampoo: You can make your own dry skin shampoo using several helpful ingredients - see our article on dog dry skin shampoo for recipes and ideas.

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Frontline and Advantage

Frontline and Advantage are not safe products either. There are many problems linked to the imidacloprid ingredient used in them. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid, which is a class of neuro-active insecticides modeled after nicotine. It acts on the central nervous system. Imidacloprid is now indicated as the leading culprit in the Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder that is occuring around the world.

flea/tick products

If "natural remedies" seem to work for you, great. If they don't, please consult your vet for advice. There is a HUGE difference between products because they have different active ingredients. The concentrated permethrins are the cheapest, most common Wal-mart type products. They also have, by far, the highest adverse reaction rates. The ingredients in Frontline and Advantage are a lot safer for you and your pets. (And I do NOT work for either company.)

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