“My vet told me they are safe.” Not true!
The details are in the fine print, but … who really wants to take out their reading glasses to see what else is on the label? It’s annoying, but it can SAVE your animal’s life.
Let’s put heartworm, flea and tick preventatives and fly sprays under the magnifying glass for a minute.
What do they really do?
They kill pests = pesticide!
Pesticides = Toxic!
They kill, not just the pests, but also affect the delivery vehicle = YOUR ANIMAL!
So, are they really preventatives? Not really, because if you apply them to your animals, they just ‘sit’ there doing nothing (not really, but more on that in a minute). They don’t prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes (heartworm) to get to your animal. But once your animal is infested, these pesticides kill the pests.
In a way your animal is just like a piece of cheese laced with toxin that you would put into a trap to get rid of mice. Your animal is the delivery system and it carries the toxins.
Your animal is affected by these toxins. Pesticides are NOT inert chemicals. They interact with the body. If your animal has a strong constitution and well functioning detox system, it will likely deal with the monthly insult more easily than a compromised body.,
But truthfully, are there any animals who are 100% healthy these days? My answer as a vet is a resounding “no” unfortunately! Most animals exhibit symptoms of compromised bodily function.
Is it then really wise to add toxic chemicals to the mix that can cause side effects like these?
HEARTGARD, TriHeart Plus, INTERCEPTOR, REVOLUTION: liver problems, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, skin eruptions, seizures, tremors, paralysis, autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, fever, weakness, dizziness, coughing, nose bleeds, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, irritability, sudden aggressive behavior, nerve damage, fertility problems, and sudden death.
FRONTLINE (fipronil): Skin problems, loss of hair at or beyond the point of application, moist inflammation, chemical burn and itching, nervous system damage, seizures, lethargy, thyroid toxicity, thyroid cancer, altered thyroid hormone levels, liver toxicity, kidney damage, whining, barking, crying, loss of appetite, locomotor difficulty, reduced fertility, fetus mortality, smaller offspring,gastrointestinal distress, cancer, organ damage, death
According to the EPA Pesticide Division, fipronil enters the body and can be contained in the fat, organs, urine and feces of dogs.
In 2009 the EPA examined incident data for spot-on pesticides used on dogs, including fipronil products for dogs and cats:
The report on Frontline Plus for Dogs shows that of a total of 2469 incidents, they classified 1,872 (76%) as minor. There were 51 (21%) moderate incidents, 47 (2%) major incidents and 39 (<2%) deaths.
Pyrethrin and Pyrethroids are even less safe. From 2002 through 2007 at least 1,600 pet deaths from pyrethroid spot-on treatments were reported to the EPA with a total of 90,000 reported adverse events. Given that only about 1% are reported you can do the math.
BRAVECTO: Vomiting, diarrhea, lose stool, seizures, lack of efficacy, anorexia, death.
Bravecto is particularly bad, because it stays in body for 12 weeks!! Once it’s in the body it can’t be removed. The same goes for Proheart, which lasts 6 months and was withdrawn from the market due to deaths, but since quitely brought back.
Freaked out yet?
There are more chemicals out there, but you get the picture.
And what about you and your children? What happens when you touch the spot-on medication you just applied to your dog or the fly spray you sprayed on your horse?
The next obvious question is of course:
What are the alternatives?
Well, YES! I’m glad you asked :).
- Healthy animals aren’t attractive to parasites.Do everything you can to keep your animals healthy. (If you need more knowledge on that you can watch my all inclusive video series).
- Learn about life cycles of parasites. For example, there is no heartworm transmission possible if there are no mosquitoes. That will allow you to limit the application of chemicals if you chose to used them.
- Use safe alternatives.Those can be sprays made from essential oils, garlic, herbs, predators such as nematodes, guinea hens (they eat ticks), raw amber stone necklaces, Pet Protector, checking your animal for ticks every day, food-grade diatomaceous earth, Borax, etc.
- Use a combination of natural products –one to use on your animal and one to use in its environment.
- Read reviews and ask other animal lovers for recommendations before you purchase any new natural product. “Natural” isn’t always natural.
If you decide to use chemicals:
- Don’t give Heartworm medication during the same week as flea and tick preventatives.
- Don’t use “Plus” products as they will unnecessarily deworm your animal on a monthly basis and promote parasite resistance.
- Detoxify your animal for a few days after application.
- Stay away from especially toxic products: Bravecto, Proheart
- Don’t apply toxic product to your animal before vet visits. I don’t want any on/in me ????
Safe spray recipes
Flea Free Essential Oil Blend
- 1½ oz base oil such as hazelnut or sweet almond
- 4 drops clary sage essential oil
- 1 drop citronella essential oil
- 7 drops peppermint essential oil
- 3 drops lemon essential oil
Flea and Tick Spray
- 1 cup of water
- 2 cups of distilled white vinegar
- 2 spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil
- few spoonfuls of lemon juice
- citrus oil or peppermint oil
Bug Repellent Oil
- 2 Tbsp Jojoba or sweet almond oil
- 20 drops Rose Geranium essential oil
Here are some resources of other alternatives:
- Ambertech – HWF: Herbal heartworm preventative
- Raw Amberstone Necklace: repells fleas and ticks
- Fly Predators: eat insect larvae
- Pet Protector: protects from fleas and ticks
Also check with your local natural pet store for alternatives. Page’s Healthy Paws is one of them.