I use to be one of those super paranoid Pet Parents and I use to put the pharmaceutical anti-flea and tick medication like clockwork, every month on the dot. I never missed a date. We use to use Nextguard and Sentinel and like a regular consumer, I never really thought about how it worked, I just knew that it did. It was when my foster pup couldn’t tolerate the medication because of his liver disease that’s when I started thinking more about it.
Why are pharmaceutical anti-flea and anti-tick medications so dangerous?
According to Dr. Cathy Allinovi, DVM, “…the safety testing procedures for these products were not were not sufficient for these chemicals.” She also mentioned that the active ingredients of the newer insecticides are whats known as Isoxazoline, therefore a flea/ tick must bite your pet before it contacts the chemical. If the flea does not bite, it does not die. She goes on to mention the following side effects of more common chemical insecticides…
- Trifexis side effects include: vomiting, kidney renal failure, death
- Nexguard side effects include: vomiting, diarrhea, itching, seizures
- Bravecto side effects include: untreatable seizures that lead to death
- Simparica side effects include: seizures (one dog during the study had to be euthanized)
Information from: Are combination chewable heartworm/flea/tick medication safe for my dog?
According to Dr. Deva Khalsa VMD, CVA, FBIH, “…evidence now shows both the active and some inactive ingredients in spot-on preparations have been linked to serious health effects both in laboratory animals and pets.” She further states that Dr. Dobozy of the EPA’s Pesticide Division has found fipronil (active ingredient of Frontline) remain in the pets system and had the potential to disrupt the nervous system and thyroid. Furthermore, test on laboratory animals resulted in the following: thyroid cancer, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity and convulsion.
This information is from, The dangers of flea and tick products — also discusses more chemicals used as active ingredients such as Imidocloprid and Pyrethroids (permethrin)
Imidocloprid side effects include: thyroid lesions, liver toxicity, damage to liver, heart, lungs and spleen.
Pyrethroids side effects include: brain damage, heart attacks and seizures. Permethrin is also carcinogenic causing lung cancer and liver tumors.
Dr. Khalsa also mentions that the best alternatives to chemical pesticides is prevention. “Healthy dogs and cats are not good hosts to parasites”
Safe Alternatives to prevent fleas, ticks and mosquito bites
Here are what we use for our pack. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats and this is the treatment option that we have decided to move forward with.
- Daily supplement of Garlic and Brewers Yeast: Garlic is great at keeping away ticks and fleas but please note too much garlic is toxic to both dogs and cats. Garlic, when taken orally, repels ticks and fleas because of the pungent smell that pets excrete when they’ve been taken for atleast 2 weeks. More information on garlic, read this: Garlic for Dogs and this: The Shocking truth about garlic. Brewers yeast is rich in Antioxidants, B vitamins an Omega fatty acids. More information on Brewers yeast here: Benefits of Brewers Yeast. We buy a supplement from Amazon called Petguard, Yeast & Garlic wafers and give them to our dogs daily. Petguard has both garlic and brewers yeast.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Aside from helping repel fleas and ticks, there are so many uses of ACV, more information here: ACV, A Holistic Remedy for dogs. We put ACV in our dogs water bowls and spray it directly on their fur on days where they are outside for extended periods. It lists the following as advantages of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Relieves arthritis
- Improves digestion
- Helps UTI
- Improves fur
- Clears skin of bacterial infections
- Makes dogs less attractive to biting insects
- Helps prevent food poisoning
- Natural anti-biotic
- Helps muscle fatigue
- Helps itching
- Combination of Diatomaceous Earth (food grade), Neem Powder and Yarrow powder, in equal parts. We read about this from Dogs Naturally and simply love that its non-toxic and will repel fleas and ticks on contact. This will also repel flies and mosquitoes. Mix the ingredients equally into a mason jar. Make sure its mixed really well. To apply, expose your dogs skin by combing it back and the spreading the power evenly, everywhere. For a medium sized dog, you only need to use a teaspoon so this should last you for a long time. You are not only saving money but you are probably saving your dog from chronic conditions that are caused by toxic and chemical based flea and tick repellants. Apply powder monthly to keep the fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes at bay.
I want to repeat what Dr. Khalsa mentioned, “Healthy dogs and cats are not good hosts to parasites.” So please keep your dog healthy in terms of exercise and nutrition. Feed them quality proteins instead of commercial dog food and make sure you walk them daily.