What are the pros and cons of a topical dog flea treatment?
This monthly medicine to control canine fleas is far more dangerous than you think.
Let me jump right in with the four deadly lies and then I'll explain why we should all come to the same conclusion.
It doesn't really matter which maker it is or which insecticide is used in that product. They are equally safe. For the full affect, you should have the product you use in your hand because its that time of the month. Now look into your dog's eyes and say:
One: Its safe to use on your dog
Two: It only kills the fleas
Three: There are no side effects
Four: Reactions Are Rare
Know your dog trusts you with his life. Now put it on following the directions by wearing gloves and not letting it touch your skin because yours will burn (while of course his will not). Now wrap the used container several times before you put in in the trash because it is toxic and dangerous to wildlife but not your dog because it says so...and if you don't use it all, read under Storage and Disposal it says, "If partly filled, call your local solid waste agency for disposal instructions."
Now, if he throws himself down and flips on his back trying to rub it off, don't let him! You can't let that toxic stuff get on the carpet! Besides, it can't burn him like it does you, he's just being a big whiny pants baby right?
Okay, now let it dry and soak into his skin, the largest organ in the body and know it will be totally harmless once it's absorbed into his body.
If he doesn't have an appetite for dinner; he absently scratches more than normal, vomits, acts lethargic and seems to have trouble breathing; relax. There are no side effects because it only kills the fleas.
If he gets a rash or any abnormal skin condition in the next few days, be sure and run him to the vet. It couldn't be from the dog flea treatment because reactions are rare.
Like this one. And trust me, her skin condition was the least of her problems. Good thing dog flea treatments are safe.
* * *
I remember back in the day, my own vet telling me these things when topical flea meds came out. I tried to argue with her. I asked how a poison could be inside a dog and kill fleas who bit it yet leave the dog unharmed. Because she had eight years of school that I didn't, I acquiesced. I shouldn't have.
Convenience! Let's see, you put a liquid between your dog's shoulder blades and a few spots on the back and never worry about fleas again. You don't have to clean his bedding or vacuum the carpet either.
It's a quick thoughtless process and frees up your time for other things. Nice.
And just look at those commercials of smiling, healthy, happy dogs there to reinforce our ignorance. One of my favorites showed a beautiful healthy dog doing something
adorable. In the background you hear a sweet, caring woman's voice. She
starts with, "If you love your dog, you'll use..."
She goes on to call it a flea and tick preventative while they show an animated flea slayer charge through dog hair the size of trees slashing and killing every flea and tick in it's path. Effective picture isn't it?
Though the chemical industry would make you believe the levels in use are not harmful, that is a fallacy.
It's true that dogs rarely drop dead right after a topical flea treatment and that's the problem. These extremely dangerous
chemicals and poisons build up over time in our dog's body leaving it difficult to blame the makers of dog flea treatments. A few long term flea med side effects include; altered thyroid hormone levels, severe skin disease, difficulty breathing, enlarged livers, seizures and cancer.
If you think I'm overreacting, I want to bring up the past. Do you remember the pesticide DDT? We sprayed it on food crops for years and used it for mosquito abatement. In the 1940's there were concerns which were ignored, as they were in the 1950's. After a letter was written to a woman journalist named Rachael Carson describing the death of numerous birds around a woman's property resulting from the aerial spraying of DDT to kill mosquitoes, Rachael wrote a book. When the book Silent Spring came out in 1962 and the public became outraged, DDT was (mostly) banned in the United States. (Although the makers still sell it around the world.)
While the eagle population has slowly come back, here's the clincher. Thirty years after the banning of DDT it was still found inside 55% of the United States citizens. Poisons don't die, only we do.
Talk about effective advertising. After all, medicine makes you feel like you're helping your dog conquer a problem; or rid it of some disease.
If the commercials called it flea poison you might envision the universal sign of the skull and crossbones (and you should). And who in their right mind would choose to put a poison on their dog's largest organ... the skin? It's just not the right sales pitch is it?
Let's have a little fun with words we're used to hearing. You know, the ones that reinforce a belief these products are non toxic. What would their true definition be? Ready?
- Shouldn't this be something to cure a sick flea?
dog flea medicine - And this would be medicine for a dog flea instead of a cat flea or a stick-tight flea right?
dog flea medication - Good grief, now we're medicating the flea so it doesn't know what's going on. We're drugging the little buggers.
dog flea treatment - Sounds to me like we're sending fleas into rehab.
flea treatment - Rehab for a generic flea
topical flea treatment - Maybe we should give them little hats. What else would we top a flea with?
flea meds - Sounds like help for a flea suffering from depression.
dog flea control - This brings to mind a group of policemen with whistles herding the frisky little jumpers.
flea prevention - Making the environment inhospitable, which is something we can do by increasing dog health. A healthy dog is not attractive to fleas. I did it by switching to a raw diet and stopped over vaccinating.
Lastly, have you ever noticed the commercials don't give you a list of side effects for the dog flea treatment they're selling at the end like they do with human medicine? Do you think they would be such big money makers if you heard, "May cause vomiting, headaches, neurological dysfunctions, liver damage and possibly death." All of which are true.
(As an aside, the reason they took Prednisone off the human market and still sell it for pet use is the side effects were too awful to list.)
One final story from a member of one of my online dog groups. She said the same day she put one of the less toxic dog flea treatments on her Retriever, he went swimming in a nearby pond. The following day when they passed the pond, there were numerous dead fish floating on the surface.
That was the last time she ever used it.
I know you love your dog. Please give him the health he deserves. Besides, you won't need a dog flea treatment because they won't show up anymore.