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Q. Do natural flea control products work?

Answered By
DANA KOCH, VMD, MLAS

A. Although many natural flea control products don't have to go through EPA-mandated tests, because they aren't classified as pesticides, this doesn't mean they don't work.

There are several natural flea control products that are safe for your home and your pets: repellants, sprays, squeeze-ons, shampoos, flea tags and powder. Also garlic and B-vitamins seem to make blood less attractive to fleas, so many guardians supplement with garlic and brewers yeast during flea season. However, sensitive animals can develop an allergy to brewer's yeast, so I suggest you monitor your pet to guard against worsening itchiness.

Many people use the natural approach to flea control effectively and, although it is not always as easy as using chemicals, it's generally safer for your pet and your family. Regarding chemicals, the US Environmental Protection Agency recently completed an in-depth investigation due to the hundreds of reports of illness and death in pets and serious adverse effects were reported for every product EPA assessed. EPA is in the process of increasing restrictions on their use. You can read more information about this report here: http://www2.epa.gov/pets/epa-evaluation-pet-spot-products-analysis-and-plans-reducing-harmful-effects

Besides, most chemicals, including bombs and sprays, kill only adult fleas or adults and larvae. That leaves thousands of tough little eggs and cocoons just waiting for the proper conditions, when they'll renew their assault once more.

That said, you must keep in mind that a product labeled as “natural” or “organic” could still be not suitable, or even harmful, for your pet. Therefore, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian or trying to find a holistic veterinarian who can offer you guidance about natural flea control products.


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