How Do You Safely Protect Your Pets from Fleas and Ticks?
You might be diligent about not having chemicals in your lawn, but do you think twice about the chemicals in your pet’s flea or tick treatment? If we think of it at all, many of us probably assume these applications are a necessary evil, but be aware that spot drops applied to the back of the neck for monthly flea and tick treatments ARE toxic pesticides.
The EPA said it received 44,263 reports of harmful reactions associated with topical flea & tick products in 2008. Reactions ranged from skin irritation, to vomiting and seizures, and even death in about 600 cases.
Studies Show the Dangers of Chemicals for Children & Pets
In case you aren’t convinced that pesticides are hurting us and our pets, a startling first-of-its-kind paper was recently published by the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine. Eight researchers authored the paper and they examined all the existing scientific literature on organophosphates, a class of chemicals that is frequently used on golf courses, schools, shopping malls and other public spaces. These chemicals are also used in flea and tick medication for dogs and cats, and in insecticides sprayed to kill mosquitoes carrying Zika and West Nile virus.
The widespread use of organophosphates has “led to ubiquitous human exposure,” the study said.
According to the paper, the entire family of these pesticides causes brain damage in children even at low levels of exposure. The researchers found there is no safe level of exposure to any organophosphate pesticide for pregnant women, whose babies suffer disorders ranging from impaired mental and motor skills and memory loss to autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Flea and tick treatments containing pesticides not only affect us and our children, but our waterways, too. Giving your dog a bath isn’t just misery for your dog (and you), but also can cause real harm to nearby ecosystems when the dog has been treated with a neonicotinoid. When you bathe your pet after a topical treatment, the chemical gets washed down the drain to wastewater treatment facilities where, it has been shown, nearly 100 percent of it makes it through the filtration process and gets dumped into our streams, rivers and oceans.
Some Flea Treatments Can Harm Young Children
If you have young children at home, using some flea treatments on your pet can seriously harm your child. Just like dogs and cats stick their noses everywhere, toddlers touch everything and constantly put their hands in their mouths, leading to a high level of exposure. Ingredients found in some flea treatments are potent neurotoxins that can harm the development of young children’s brains. Read the label and if you have questions, please ask your vet or local pet store owner. (See the sidebar for ingredients to avoid.)
You can also ask your vet about oral medications for fleas, which generally are preferable to topical treatments or flea collars.
If chemical products are necessary for additional flea or tick control, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recommends s-methoprene or pyriproxyfen, which are less toxic ingredients; however, read the labels carefully because some products use them with other, more harmful pesticides. Your local pet stores also have safer alternatives instead of chemicals to get the job done.
Deter Mosquitoes and Ticks in Your Yard SAFELY
You can keep your pets safe from ticks in your yard with our all-natural mosquito and tick control. Our product is a cedar oil-based application that effectively kills ticks, mosquitoes, eggs and larvae and deters adult mosquitoes from entering the treated area well after we have serviced it. It’s 100% safe for us, our pets, pollinators and the environment.
Take a Look at Your Pet’s Flea and Tick Label. If You See These Ingredients, Try to Find a Safer Alternative
Many of the ingredients on this list have been classified as likely or possible carcinogens by the EPA and should be avoided for use on your pet:
- Amitraz: poisonous chemical that may cause central nervous system depression and also respiratory/cardiovascular symptoms. It can cause poisoning in animals and humans when ingested, inhaled, or after skin exposure.
- Bifenthrin: attacks the nervous system of insects and species you are not trying to kill – including people, pets and fish. Can cause acute and chronic health problems, kill bees and harm wildlife.
- Carbaryl: causes an array of serious neurotoxic effects in animals, including irreversible neurological damage and behavioral disturbances. Highly toxic to bees.
- Cypermethrin: highly toxic to fish, bees and other water insects. Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen (group C) because there is limited evidence that it causes cancer in animals.
- Fenoxycarb: neurotoxin, a PAN Bad ActorChemical, carcinogen, and a reproductive and developmental toxin.
- Fipronil: classified as a possible human carcinogen.
- Permethrin: neurotoxin and highly toxic to animals, particularly fish and cats.
- Propoxur: neurotoxin and suspected of causing genetic defects, cancer, and damaging fertility or the unborn child.
- Tetramethrin: possible carcinogen.
- Tetrachlorvinphos: neurotoxin and suspected carcinogen that’s toxic to the nervous system.
The Greenwise Mission
Our mission is to create 100% safe lawns for you, your children, pets, and our environment. Don’t resort to dangerous chemicals when you can choose organics. You’ll get beautiful results and most importantly, you will be creating a safe lawn and helping our environment. Call us at (847) 866-1930 to learn more about us.