it's spring time, and with the warm weather, blooming flowers and road work comes fleas. yuck! while we may be quick to run to the vet and get the strongest flea preventative they carry it's important to know the risks that come with chemical-based preventatives. as we take more steps towards a holistic life-style for our pets, and ourselves, flea control is becoming more of a hot issue.
the basic facts is that all chemical-based (synthetic or not) spot-on treatments are technically poisons. while they are designed to poison any pests through skin bites, these poisons can be absorbed through the skin and ingested by licking. cats, especially, are susceptible to toxic reactions due to their smaller bodies and unique physiology (never ever use products intended for dogs on cats!). symptoms of a reaction are varied but almost always include convulsions or tremors and delayed breathing and can lead to renal failure and death if not treated immediately.
now that we've scared the bejeezus out of you, it's time to introduce new, natural flea control methods that are part of a larger way of healing, called homeopathy. some of these methods include topical applications of neem oil, a natural repellent of pests like ticks, mosquitos and fleas, and using herbs like rosemary and lavendar, and even wood blocks of cedar placed at entry ways to keep fleas from coming in. for cat-specific prevention, check out the holisticat site and their article "safer flea control alternatives."
happy spring and happy flea-hunting!