Choosing A Safe Treatment For Flea and Tick Control

Choosing A Safe Treatment For Flea and Tick Control

By Shannon Lynnes Heggem

Living way up here in the extreme temperatures in Montana, we are fairly sheltered from the flea and tick infestations that more moderate areas suffer from. However, with the steady increase of pet ownership across the country, awareness of the dangers of external parasites and the necessary treatment methods is vital.

Pet owners need to understand the importance of controlling these pests, as can several diseases are associated with fleas and ticks: Bubonic Plague, Murine Typhus, Lyme Disease, and Francisella Tularensis, to name just a few. It is easy to see that the pet’s comfort is not the only issue here- safety and health risks are a factor as well.

For pet owners, it is a difficult and daunting task to choose an effective, yet safe method to control these parasites. The most effective method is of course prevention. Every day new treatments and preventative methods are being developed. My favorite is spot-on treatments dispensed by a veterinarian. These are topically absorbed insecticides, which require minimal applications for maximum protection for your pet. Also, oral insecticides are fairly new to the scene, and are getting rave reviews as well.

If it is too late for prevention, treatment is the next option to explore. The first choice is choosing chemical pesticide or botanical. There is an endless bevy of flea and tick products available on the market. It is vital that pet owners arm themselves with knowledge about these products, as many of them contain deadly chemicals that, if not used properly, can be fatal to animals and humans as well.

Organophosphates, organochlorines, carbamates…these chemical groups all sound pretty ominous, and believe me, they are deadly. They can cause permanent side effects, extensive nerve damage, and even death in animals and the people applying them with just one improper use. And yet, they are readily available on any supermarket and discount store shelf for under $5. That is very scary.

These harmful chemicals are widely and openly dispensed, without necessary supervision or education, to the general public in many forms. Flea collars, sprays, powders, dusts, shampoos, room foggers, carpet treatments, the list goes on and on. Yes, these chemicals will in fact kill the parasites, but they just simply aren’t worth the risk.

That leaves us with the second, safer treatment option: botanical pesticides. These are natural products that are derived from various sources. Pyrethrin is a popular choice, derived from the chrysanthemum flower. It can be found in several safe parasite treatments. d-Limonene, a citrus byproduct that has a strong orange odor, is another option. It is extremely effective, and forms of it are used in several different household cleaners as well as pet products. Another newer product gaining popularity is neem seed extract, a powerful insect growth regulator, a feeding deterrent and repellent. Overall, all three of these natural products, when used properly, are non-toxic and biodegradable.

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from these parasites, please do not go out and buy a flea collar: they don’t work! They are usually a pet owner’s first choice because they are quick and easy. But the problem is that they only repel the fleas and ticks around the head area of the animal, instead of the entire body.

Instead of trying to choose a flea and tick treatment product on your own, contact your professional groomer or veterinarian for advice on how to proceed with the care and treatment of the animal. They can recommend the best, safest treatment options for your pet, as well as how to eliminate the pests in your home environment, etc. They can help you get your pet on an effective preventative plan to eliminate the dreaded flea and tick dilemma!

Shannon Lynnes Heggem is an international speaker with a strong background in the pet care industry.

In the 1990’s, she established an upscale boarding resort and grooming spa in Havre, Montana. She then founded the Fast Track Institute of Pet Careers, a vocational school focused on pet-related careers.

Shannon quickly became one of the top experts in the pet care industry, as an educator, business consultant, speaker, and contest judge. She was the first Certified Master Groomer in Montana, and went on to become a Certified Kennel Operator. Only four people in the world actually hold both of these certification titles!

In 1998, Shannon’s life was forever changed when she narrowly escaped death. She was viciously attacked in her kennel by a Rottweiler, and amazingly, survived.

Since then, Shannon has overcome incredible obstacles to continue her life’s journey. The trauma was a turning point for her; she has now dedicated her life to writing and speaking, to help motivate others to succeed beyond their own experiences.

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