The Dangers of Oral and Topical Flea Medications for Dogs and Cats
Updated: Aug 27, 2022
While fleas are a nuisance to pets and humans, they can also transmit diseases. Pets can contract diseases such as typhus, cat scratch fever, and tapeworms from fleas. These diseases can be passed to humans as well. They can cause anemia and make your pet uncomfortable. It's essential to be aware of the risks fleas pose to your pet and to take steps to prevent them.
Anemia is when the blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. When there aren't enough red blood cells, the body doesn't get the oxygen it needs. Anemia can make your pet tired and weak. In severe cases, anemia can be fatal.
Fleas bite your pet to feed on their blood. This feeding can cause your pet to itch and scratch. Scratching can lead to skin infections. The best way to prevent fleas is to avoid places where they live. But, if you can't avoid them, there are some things you can do to help protect your pet.
The Toxic Chemicals In Flea Meds
As the animal health coach and detox specialist for dogs and cats, I see many pets treated with oral or topical flea medications. Unfortunately, most of these products contain harmful chemicals that can potentially cause serious health problems for your pet. While these products can be effective at killing fleas, they can also be dangerous to your pet's health.
Prescription flea products use an ingredient called Isoxazolines, a class of insecticide that acts on the nervous system of insects. The chemicals work by damaging an insect's nervous system. These products are effective at killing fleas, but they can also be dangerous to your pet's health.
There have been reports of adverse reactions, including seizures, muscle tremors, ataxia, vomiting, lethargy, and refusing to eat. In some cases, these reactions can be fatal. If you are using a flea product that contains Isoxazolines, or any toxic ingredients, it is vital to watch your pet closely for any signs of adverse reaction. Just because your vet or pharmaceutical company says it's safe doesn't mean there are no risks. Remember, doctors at one time used to promote and advertise cigarettes.
Oral flea and topical medications are absorbed into your pet's bloodstream, so since the data on flea meds are still insufficient to determine long-term safety, I would never recommend their use. I would only recommend a topical flea med in an emergency, where all-natural remedies were unsuccessful, but only in a one-time application. This would not apply to oral flea meds.
Natural Solutions to Keeping Fleas Away From Pets
One of the best ways to prevent fleas in your dog's and cat's life is to keep your pet's environment clean. This means regularly vacuuming your house and laundering your pet's bedding in hot water. If your pet gets fleas, natural flea remedies and deterrents on the market are safe and effective in preventing fleas and ticks.
Fortunately, you can use several natural methods to prevent fleas on your cat and dog. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Rosemary oil: Add a few drops of rosemary oil to your dog or cat's shampoo before bathing them. This will help to repel fleas and keep them from taking up residence in your cat's fur.
2. Cedar chips: Sprinkle cedar chips around your home inside and out. Cedar is a natural flea repellent that will help keep your home pest-free.
3. Essential oils * are also helpful in repelling fleas.
PLEASE NOTE: Cats have a higher concentration of liver enzymes than dogs or humans, allowing them to break down toxins more efficiently and making them more sensitive to essential oils. Certain essential oils can be toxic to cats, even in small amounts. These include citrus oils, such as lemon and orange; pine oils; and tea tree oil.) (Note: Caution with using certain essential oils with cats, as they are more sensitive to them.
4. Lemongrass oil: add a few drops of lemongrass oil to your cat's collar. This oil will help to repel fleas and keep them away from your cat's body.
5. Diatomaceous earth: a non-toxic powder that can be used to kill fleas in both dogs and cats. When using diatomaceous earth, it is crucial to ensure that you are using food-grade DE. This type of DE is safe for humans and animals and will not cause harm if inhaled. Non-food grade DE can be harmful if inhaled, so it is vital to take precautions when applying it and to avoid breathing it in.
This natural powder is effective at killing fleas and other pests. Simply sprinkle it around your home - both inside and out - to keep fleas away.
6. Lavender oil: Add a few drops of lavender oil to your cat's bedding. The scent of lavender is known to repel fleas and other pests. Lavender oil is safe for cats and dogs when used properly. Cats are sensitive to essential oils, so they should only be used in tiny amounts. When diffusing lavender oil, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area and keep the diffuser out of reach of your cat. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to your cat's bedding or scratching post to help deter fleas.
A Healthy Diet Helps Keep Fleas Away
A dog with a poor diet is more likely to have compromised health, which makes them an easy target for fleas. Conversely, a dog with a well-balanced diet is more likely to have a robust immune system that can fight off fleas. This is often the case with fleas, as they are parasites that feed off their host's blood. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to flea prevention through diet:
Make sure that your dog is getting enough protein. This is essential for overall health and can help to keep fleas away.
Include healthy fats and oils in their diet—this help to keep their skin and coat healthy, which can also ward off fleas.
Ensure they get plenty of vitamins and minerals essential for a robust immune system.
Regarding flea prevention, diet is an essential piece of the puzzle. Ensuring your dog has a well-rounded diet can help keep fleas away and make it healthy overall.
Fleas are a common problem for many pet owners, but alternative remedies exist to control them without using harmful chemicals. By taking simple preventative measures and using natural products, you can keep your pet safe from fleas and safe from harm. After all, do you want to play Russian Roulette with your pet's life and well-being?