Flea is a Four-Letter Word

by Steve Feldman

FLEA is a four-letter word.

Actually it’s a five letter word….”fleas.” There’s never just one flea on your pet or in your home. Even though fleas are a year around pest in some states, to most of us, this dreaded season is now upon us. Fleas seem to be able to leap from yard to pet to owner to rugs and furniture and even us with great ease. And before you know it, we start to utter the word ”infestation.”

Every year pet owners search for the most potent products to “de-flea” their lives.

Some work better than others. Those prescribed by veterinarians tend to be more efficatious  than the OTC brands…and are generally safer. But all have possible negative side effects. After all, they are all poisons and should only be used as directed. For instance anti-flea products for dogs should never be used on cats and vice-versa.

There are some remedies which are less toxic and chemical based–more green.

A few to consider:

1)     D-Limonene — a citrus exract derived from lemons.

2)     Black walnut — an effective flea repellent for dogs when given orally several times a week. Give only the minimum effective dose though, because it can be toxic in higher does.

3)     Flea treats containing B vitamins can be given to repel fleas.

4)     A fine-toothed flea comb is a must. They have be used daily. Dip the comb in a bowl of soapy water after each stroke…put them in a container, then discard the container immediately.

5)     Nematodes — microorganisms that eat flea larva can be sprayed on lawns. Unlike many toxic treatments, they are safe for dogs, birds and humans. They’re even safe for garden friendly dwellers such as worms and ladybugs.

In the end, most flea remedies out there work. Just follow the directions closely and hopefully you’ll be able to scratch this “pet peeve” from your list this season.

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