Is There An Alternative To Chemical-Based Flea Treatments?

Fleas and ticks are external parasites that can hide in the fur of cats and dogs and attach to the skin to feed on blood. They are often picked up during the warmer months when pets spend time outdoors, particularly in densely vegetated areas. Fleas are not a sign that your house or pet are unclean; in fact they positively like clean environments.


It’s important to control fleas and ticks because they can spread quickly between animals and humans, and carry diseases and other parasites. They can also cause discomfort and irritation of the skin, allergic reactions, blood loss, and tapeworm. 


Signs that your dog or cat might have fleas

If your pet is frequently scratching, has areas of thinning hair or bald patches, or areas of red irritated skin, then it may be infested with fleas. You can also check for tiny dark specks in their fur. If they have dark coloured fur, groom them with a fine-toothed comb over a piece of white paper to loosen the fleas or any eggs and droppings.


How to treat your pet for fleas

You should take immediate action as soon as you spot any sign of fleas, because a female can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Fleas can jump long distances and may soon infest other pets and areas of your home. 


Apply an appropriate flea treatment to kill the fleas and eggs. These are not interchangeable between pets, because they contain strong chemicals that may be harmful to some animals but not others. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and if necessary ask for advice from your vet. 


Are there any alternatives to harsh chemical treatments? 

Some pet owners dislike the idea of applying chemical-based flea treatments, and prefer to use a more natural alternative. A product called diatomaceous earth (DE) has been found to be safe and effective for managing fleas and ticks in pets. It’s important to note that you should always use a food grade product as non-food grade DE can be harmful to health.


Food-grade DE can be sprinkled onto your pet’s fur to kill fleas, and also ingested to control worms. DE can also be used to treat areas of your home that might be infested, such as bedding and carpets. It is often used to complement other forms of treatment rather than completely replace them, because it may not provide complete eradication of fleas or worms.


Checking for ticks

Ticks are larger than fleas, and tend to attach themselves to dogs who run through long grass or wooded areas. They prefer warm moist areas of the body such as the groin, armpits, behind the ears and between the toes. Dogs who go outdoors frequently should be checked for ticks every few days.


How to remove ticks

Use a pair of small tweezers and grab the tick at the base, nearest to where it has burrowed into the skin. Lift upwards firmly to remove the head of the tick from the skin, and place it in a sealed container for safe disposal. Dab the area of punctured skin with an antiseptic wipe. 

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