BUG OFF...Beware of This Popular, Highly Toxic, Flea Collar. Plus Safe, Natural Flea Repellents You Can Make!
By Katy Cable-TWR-A 3 Min Read
Fleas suck! -Pun intended! Unlike bees that pollinate our planet and keep us alive, or ants who are brilliant little armies of team players, capable of carrying an entire picnic a GA-ZILLION times their own size and body weight on their tiny backs, what purpose do fleas and ticks serve anyway?
Here in Southern California fleas can be year-round invaders. With the dog days of summer well on their way, your pup may be wearing more than a cute collar and bandana. This spring, no matter where you live, chances are these blood sucking monsters are just waiting to spread like wildfire on your pet.
Before you race out for some flea protection, beware. Seresto, the #1 selling flea collar on Amazon, is potentially lethal!
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents, as of June 2020 the agency had received 75,000 incident reports about Seresto pet collars since their introduction in 2012, including 1,698 deaths of animals and nearly 1,000 incidents involving harm to humans.
And that’s just what has been reported. Typically, pet parents would not know to report pet harm to the EPA, an agency seemingly unrelated to consumer pet products. It is regulated by the EPA due to the use of pesticides in the product.
The Seresto collar is the only flea and tick collar that combines a cocktail of two pesticides. While that may make the collars more effective against fleas, they are far more toxic to pets and humans as well. One incident involving a 12-year-old boy who slept in bed with a dog wearing the collar resulted in the boy being hospitalized due to seizures and vomiting.
Along with growing evidence that mammals can also be harmed by these pesticides, they are also harming the environment. This insecticide, (imidacloprid) most commonly used as an insecticide on crops in the U.S. is linked to massive die-offs of bees, butterflies and songbirds.
While a congressional committee is demanding a voluntary recall, Elanco (manufacturer of Senesto) is backing its product. According to Tony Rumschlag, senior director for technical consultants at Elanco, "Thorough investigation of available data has shown no established link between exposure to the active ingredients in Seresto and pet deaths.” He went on state that no market action is warranted, and that media reports on hundreds of pet deaths are based on “raw data.”
Whatever action is or isn’t taken, the risks seem too high for me personally. I don’t want to take any chances. I also want you to have the facts and research. Especially when these products are currently being sold in most pet stores and on Amazon.
While I prefer to use natural, non-toxic, remedies, sometimes they don’t provide enough protection. I typically use a strong flea and tick preventative in the spring and late summer. The rest of the year I use the home remedies provided below.
When I rescued my current Pug Olive she was on Revolution, a monthly flea and heart-worm preventative I have used successfully in the past. Although Olive doesn't have fleas, she did get suffer a terrible allergic reaction to a flea bite. I raced a sneezing, coughing, incessantly itching Olive to the vet. Upon examination, the vet discovered red bumps all over her and was convinced it was an allergic reaction to a flea bite. I couldn't see how that was possible as she was on flea prevention. The vet explained that even with protection, fleas can jump on and bite a pet before dying. If a pet is allergic, that's all it takes.
After Olive's incident, I am extremely diligent about washing her and keeping fleas away. I have discovered some excellent natural alternatives to products containing harsh chemicals. I currently apply organic coconut oil, to Olive's coat. It acts as both a great moisturizer and flea repellent. I also make sure to bathe her following adventures where she may have been exposed to fleas. I also am SO happy I replaced all my carpets with wood and tile flooring and “knock-on-wood”, haven't had another issue.
Believe me, it's much easier to keep fleas away in the first place than it is to get those pests to leave once they've invaded. My advice, use something strong and powerful to kill them then hopefully you can lighten up and use some natural, less toxic remedies to keep them at bay.
This does bring up a good point: It certainly doesn't have to be a harsh, toxic chemical for your pet to have a horrific reaction. While natural products are preferred, even those can have disastrous outcomes if your pet has the rare allergy. Just like a human who can't touch a strawberry or a peanut. -Be it an unsalted, raw, one or a Reese's cup, pets too can have adverse reactions or even die from wholesome, organic products if they happen to be allergic. Before trying ANY product or food, I urge YOU to first research it. Check out the company, the ingredients, where it's produced. Talk to trusted vets and pet parents and always test it out with a very small amount first.
In addition, fleas, ticks, and other parasites may be resistant to some natural, less intense, repellents and your pet won't be protected. Hopefully you can try a few of these tips and find a perfect, less toxic balance. And, as always, a clean healthy pet with a strong immune system will naturally repel more parasites than a sickly one. That starts and finishes with a nutritious, balanced diet 😃.
Every flea season I consult with frustrated pet parents looking for flea repellent shampoos. I always advise against strong, harsh, shampoos loaded with chemicals. Any soap and water will kill and remove fleas. For heavy infestations. Here's a recipe for a gentle, non-toxic, flea repelling shampoo you can make at home. I use this on my shelter/rescue dogs who typically arrive in poor shape, and infested with fleas. Again, always sample a small amount first to check for adverse reactions.
🐞ALL-NATURAL FLEA BUSTER SHAMPOO:
Slice 1/2 lemon and add to 1 cup boiling water.
Stir for 5 minutes then remove from heat, steep and cool.
Remove lemon parts, drain juice into large canning jar or bottle.
Add 2/3 Cup Dr Bronner's Purecastle Soap
Add 1/2 cup organic Apple cider vinegar
1 TBS organic coconut oil
15 drops pure organic lavender oil
Mix together and WASH your PUP!
In addition, here are some recommendations for healthy flea/tick control:
🐾Remember, there is simply no chemical based pest control pill, dip, solution, shampoo, or collar that is without the potential for side effects. Just because a compound is applied to or worn on your pet’s fur doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. Remember: what goes ON your pet goes IN your pet, by absorption through the skin during grooming.
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾