Friday, April 3, 2009

Poisons on Pets: Health Hazards from Flea and Tick Products

Cats are the ultimate narcissists. You can tell this by all the time they spend on personal grooming. Dogs aren't like this. A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll in a dead fish. ~James Gorman

I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs, The Good Human and found this post about Toxic Chemicals Found in Flea Control products. I knew the stuff was gnarly, but somehow put it out of my mind. It was with great trepidation that I opened the link to Green Paws , a site by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and looked at their Product Guide. I was relieved to learn that the flea/tick protection I use on Baloo, Frontline Plus, is not in the most toxic category. It is not ideal, by any means. But he's 11 years old, has ehrlichiosis (a debilitating, recurring tick-born disease), and loves to be outside, especially in the summer - playing with the kids, swimming in the ponds, and rolling in dead things. Frontline Plus protects him from the zillions of ticks, and in the end keeps him healthier.


A delighted Cole and a very patient Fionn.

Cats

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. -~Dan Greenberg

We don't put any sort of flea/tick preventative on Fionn MacCool - he's an indoor cat, and doesn't seem to be troubled by fleas. Another thing that helps is that we brush him almost daily, spring though fall. Not only does he love it, but this keeps our house from becoming a hair farm and lets us see if there are fleas.

Perusing the Product Guide I was horrified by just how many products are toxic to cats. Anything with Permethrin (causing muscle tremors, seizures, salivation, vomiting and even death) or Pyrethins (signs of pyrethin poisoning may include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, chest pain or difficulty breathing) should not be used.

Do NOT use essential oils on cats - no Pennyroyal, Tea Tree, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Geranium or Rue Oil. It is toxic, and can kill them.

Do NOT use flea collars intended for dogs on cats.

To learn more, please see the Green Paws Toxic Fact Sheet