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Upper Connecticut River Valley
northwestern and central Vermont
Portland, Oregon - Vancouver, Washington
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Toxic Pet Toys?
by Chip Samons
Here's our choice: utilize preventative measures for controlling fleas now, or, wait until those pesky, pointed headed little bloodsuckers drive us to the brink of frustration by setting off some kind of poisonous flea bomb in our homes.
We humans are the ones with the bigger brains (though we can't jump as far!), so maybe we should consider some of the very effective ways to prevent those slimy, dirty, disease carrying jumpers from infecting and family companion dogs and cats . . . and us!
Some people (those who don't know any better) will resort to chemicals, pesticides, bombs, and nuclear devices. Others will inject one of the many spot-on types of flea killers without realizing that every single year, according to both the EPA and the Center's for Disease Control, suppressed immune systems, medical problems and even death occur on a normal basis with these products.
The solution to all of this is fairly simple. Realize that for every flea that you find on your family pet companion, there are 200 in your carpet in various stages of life. Most will be flea eggs, many will be larvae, some will be cocoons, and only 5% will be adult fleas. It's not a pretty picture, but that's just the way it is.
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The first step is to apply boric acid powder to our carpets, and diatomaceous earth or pyrethrum powder to hardwood or linoleum floors. Boric acid powder (brand name: Fleago) actually kills fleas in the larvae stage, thus preventing the cocoon and adult stages to ever happen. That's great news! Diatomaceous Earth and pyrethrum powder also work on concrete in the garage or on sidewalks, or even in outdoor areas. Diatomaceous Earth actually kills mechanically by drying out adult fleas, where as pyrethrum powder not only dries them out, but also affects their nervous system with its potency.
The next, and very crucial step is to spray our yards with beneficial nematodes, which also kill fleas in the larvae stage. Simply spray a perimeter around your house with a hose-end sprayer on the end of your hose to create a safety zone. Even if you have several acres, spray a perimeter around your house creating a moat-like safety barrier.
The final stage is to consider natural products containing good quality herbs to put directly on our pets, remembering that whatever we put on them will be absorbed into their bodies. Remember, we don't want to suppress them, but we do want to help them to repel these nasty little bloodsuckers. And we can do that just fine with many of the safe products on the market today.
One of the biggest challenges today is determining what is safe, and what is labeled as safe, but is really not. For that, I recommend finding an independent pet store with knowledgeable employees.
We can prevent our companion family dogs and cats from suffering from the devastating effects from fleas with just a little bit of planning, and purchasing safe and effective flea control products from knowledgeable experts. Good luck!
(Chip Sammons, owner & janitor of the Holistic Pet Center has received many local and national awards for helping to spread holistic concepts of caring for our family companion pets for 23 years, and hosts "Pet Nutrition & News," every Saturday morning from 8 – 9 on KPAM 860 AM. Email Chip at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit him at 15599 SE 82nd Drive, Clackamas, Oregon 97015.)
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