Why we care
Fleas are a reality when you own a dog or cat, but the most common ways of controlling them (flea collars, powders, sprays, and bombs) may put pets and humans at risk. Cats lick toxic powders from their fur, children can pick up chemicals on their hands after touching pets, and flea bombs may last months on carpets and furniture. Also, the fix is often temporary. If pets are allowed outdoors, the fleas will come back.
Simple, positive steps
Be aware that the following nontoxic remedies have been shown by studies to not be effective: Vitamin B1, brewer’s yeast, herbal collars, and ultrasonic devices.
- Establish one sleeping area for your pet that can be cleaned easily and regularly.
- Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week.Vacuum the areas your pet has access to weekly (daily if you have an infestation).
- Use a flea comb, outdoors or in the bathtub, to remove fleas and monitor the population. Drop fleas into a container of soapy water, and then flush the water down the toilet.
- Shampoo your pet regularly.
If, after a year of trying the steps outlined above, you still have a flea control problem, talk to your veterinarian about prescription treatments. To learn which products are the safest, visit NRDC's web page (www.nrdc.org) on products.
Printed by permission from Earthleaders.org