People who own pets know fleas and ticks very well. These annoying critters will at one time or another invite themselves onto your pet’s body; however, not all pets have a flea or tick problem, so this article may not apply to you. Nonetheless, there are many flea and tick killers on the market including collars, sprays, and powders, but are they safe? Not too many of these products are geared to killing fleas and ticks naturally.
Flea and tick products often contain chemicals called organophosphates, which work by disrupting the nervous systems of the pests. Some also contain carbamates, which have a similar function. These chemicals work well, but they can also harm our pets’ nervous systems, as well as ours.
Some pet owners simply do not think about the consequences of using such harsh chemicals. Others may believe that there is no other way to get rid of fleas and ticks. However, we can control them without going to such extreme measures. Try these tips:
* During flea season, vacuum daily. Fleas often take up residence in carpets, and a thorough vacuuming can seriously cut down on the population. Just remember to change your bag often.
* Bathe your pet often with normal grooming shampoo and warm water, and apply a natural flea preventative. You can make your own by adding two tablespoons of rosemary to two pints of boiling water. Remove from heat, let steep for 20 minutes, strain, and spray on. Let your pet dry thoroughly before allowing him to go outdoors.
* Wash your pet’s bedding frequently. Fleas and larvae are often found there.
* Mow your grass regularly in the summer, as ticks are fond of high grass. Try to keep your pet out of overgrown areas.
* Eliminate any potential havens for mice around your home, as they may bring ticks in. Dispose of piles of leaves and debris; keep woodpiles elevated off the ground, and store trash in metal containers with tight lids.
* Use a flea and tick comb on your pet at least twice a week. If you are in a hurry, try running a sticky lint roller over your pet’s head and body to pick up ticks.
* If you think you might have a flea problem in your home, use a flea trap. These simple devices use a light bulb to attract fleas and sticky paper to trap them.
* Try using nematodes to kill fleas. These parasites may be applied to soil in areas your pet frequents.
Ticks and fleas are a nuisance to us, and they are even more troublesome to our pets. However, dousing them with insecticide can be detrimental to our pets’ health as well as our own. With a few preventive measures, we can often eliminate the need for further treatment.