Most pet owners have had to deal with a flea problem at some time or another. Flea infestations can be rather frustrating and difficult to control, especially if there are a number of animals in the home. Despite the vast multitude of flea products available on the market today, there are a few ways to get rid of them without leaving a dent in your wallet. —
However, in addition to considering the cost of the treatments, Natasha Anderson, founder of "The Bug Squad" offers some advice to those that are battling with fleas on their pets:
"Most people, even those without pets of their own, encounter fleas and need an effective solution. While most vet recommended products usually work if applied correctly, I have always been an advocate of natural methods for flea control, as it eliminates potential complications caused by the introduction of harmful insecticides."
Research shows that the dangers of some flea insecticides is very real. When purchasing any flea product, chemicals such as Tetrachlorvinphos (which has nerve damaging proporties) and Propoxur (which has been known to cause cancer) should be avoided at all costs. There are even treatments that are commercially available that can seriously put your pet at risk, especially for those with a sensitive skin. For example, using a flea collar incorrectly has had disastrous consequences in many cases. However, despite the dangers, they are easily acquired at a local supermarket and presumed to be completely safe. Additionally, they usually only protect the neck areas from fleas, leaving the rest of the pet exposed.
"Its sad that there are still flea products available to the general consumer that contain chemicals which have been identified by the Natural Resources Defence Council as being very dangerous for animals. Although many of these products have been discontinued in many areas, its critical that pet owners are educated to ensure that they are not endangering their animals by their incorrect choice of flea treatment, regardless of how attractive the price tag may be" -Natasha Anderson, The Bug Squad
The Bug Squad recommends recommends giving a few natural flea treatments a try before purchasing any flea products, except in cases where there is a major flea problem.
"Simply applying a high concentrate, lemon-based dish washing liquid and warm water to your animals skin is an extremely affordable way to deal with fleas. Another great option is using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to safely remove fleas from problem areas, especially kennels and places where pets sleep," Natasha adds.
Where possible, its also important to identify flea problems early before they become a major issue. This will prevent a major outbreak that could potentially be very difficult to remove. Natasha also offers assistance to those that want to make the effort to take a more proactive approach to flea control:
"I recommend pet owners take a few moments on a weekly basis to check their pets for flea dirt. This is usually a sign of a flea problem, even if fleas themselves are not visible. After consulting your local vet, a decent spot on treatment can be used to fight fleas, either as a preventative measure or as a once off treatment, depending on your budget. Another sobering fact is that a number of home flea products will only kill adult fleas. However, using a spray, fogger or some other flea treatment product that contains IGR (Insect Growth Repellent) will prevent flea eggs from hatching, thus stopping the flea life cycle, which is critical to prevent another infestation. Lastly, if you find any flea bites on your pets, be sure to treat them quickly as they are usually itchy and this can cause excessive scratching, which only aggravates the situation."
Proper flea control is an essential skill for most pet owners. The decision between natural solutions or product based ones is completely up to the pet owner but always remember to use reputable treatments that will not endanger your family or your pet’s health.
The Bug Squad was established to provide free, step by step pest control guides for common pests. For any insect control queries, visit their website and get involved in their free question and answer community to receive advice from experienced pest experts at absolutely no cost.
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