Dangers of flea drops for dogs 0

Flea and Tick Drop Dangers 02/24/12

Tick and flea powders could be damaging your children and your pet's health. By Paul Jacobson.

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Over the last months of writing for Veggie Buntch, I’ve covered a variety of topics looking at providing natural and wholesome diets for our companion animals as a better alternative to processed commercial dried kibble.

I’ve also written about vegetables as a very important source of nutrition and even offered advice on vegan diets for dogs.

What it comes down to is that poor nutrition, especially diets that are devoid of vegetables, will have an adverse affect on health and longevity.

And the skin is usually the first to suffer and show signs of poor nourishment.

Almost all our modern dogs and cats seem to be struggling with some type of skin allergy or itchiness.

While nutrition is the most important component of health, it’s also important to look at the chemicals and poisons that we commonly apply to our animals, without thinking about the possible side effects and dangers.

In my previous article, I looked at skin disorders and offered a holistic approach when treating these conditions. I also touched on the dangers of flea and tick repellents and recommended some natural alternatives and treatment.

For those who were not convinced about the possible dangers of flea and tick chemical and poison based remedies, I thought I would share the findings of an alarming study.

Flea and tick drops may be harming your pets and children
• Summary literature from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
• For a full report click here.

Who they are: NRDC is America’s most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

What they say:
“The simple truth is that many of the flea- and tick-control products on the market today expose humans and pets to toxic chemicals at levels far in excess of those believed safe. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to a pet treated with a single product can exceed acceptable levels by more than 690-fold. When the effects of these pet products are combined in the home, as they often are, with a range of other common toxic products, their impact increases further still. Children are at particular risk from these pesticides, because their behavior tends to increase exposure, their bodies are still developing and their tolerance to even brief pesticide exposures may be much lower.

The plain reality is that the organophosphate chemicals that enable many of these products to kill fleas and ticks in the first place are nerve system poisons. Moreover, evidence is rapidly accumulating that these products might cause subtler long-term effects on the nervous system, especially following exposures very early in life.

In addition, many people have seen adverse reactions in their dogs after using permethrin-based flea and tick products. These reactions include any of the following: skin disorders (itchiness, redness, hair discoloration, hair loss, bleeding sores), lethargy, difficulty walking, loss of appetite, changes in behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

The NRDC report highlights the potential health hazards to humans and pets from flea collars and other flea and tick control product and even recommends that the EPA ban the use of an entire class of these products.

Here are their recommendations:

  • Pet owners should begin using safer products on their pets, avoiding organophosphate insecticide (OP)-based pet products [The seven OPs are chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon and malathion. They are the active ingredients in dozens of pet products. Also worth avoiding are carbamates, pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroid.] Safer products are best combined with such simple physical measures as brushing pets regularly with a flea comb while inspecting for fleas, and mowing frequently in areas where pets spend the most time outdoors.
  •  Pregnant women and families with children should cease using OP-based products immediately.
  • Retailers should remove OP products from their shelves and seek to educate customers about the merits of safer alternatives.
  • Children should never apply flea shampoos, dusts, dips, etc. containing OPs to their pets; EPA routinely overlooks and underestimates the particular risks to children when evaluating the safety of these products for home use.
  •  EPA should consider also banning pet products that contain carbamates—a class of insecticides closely related to OPs, and sharing with OPs the same basic biological mechanism of harm. Likewise, homeowners and retailers should avoid the purchase and sale of these carbamate-containing products.
  • EPA must take steps to better inform veterinarians, pet owners and the general public about safer alternatives for the control of fleas and ticks on pets.
  •  EPA’s methods for assessing the risks from other, non-OP pesticides should fully account for risks to children from use on pets, considering children’s unique patterns of behavior, metabolism, and periods of vulnerability during growth and development.




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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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