Do you use flea or tick medications on your pet?
A report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council linked chemicals found in flea and tick medications to serious health problems in both pets and humans. The main offenders are organophosphate insecticides and carbamates, which interfere with nerve signals in the body. Though these chemicals are meant to work on insects, they can have similar effects on the nervous systems of pets and humans, particularly children because of their developing nervous system. There is also ample evidence to suggest that long-term exposure to products containing such chemicals can produce serious health problems, such as later-in-life cancer and Parkinson’s, in children who were exposed at an early age. Kittens and cats are also particularly vulnerable when exposed to over-the-counter products for dogs.
This doesn’t mean that all flea and tick medications are dangerous: this mainly applies to older brands of OTC medications. Avoid products that list chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, malathion, carbaryl, or propoxur in their active ingredients. Take the safe route and always get your pet’s medication from your vet–it’s not worth the few bucks you’d save by buying products over the counter. There are also safe non-pesticide methods to flea and tick control, including using flea combs, regular shampooing, increased vacuuming and sweeping, and keeping pets inside. But again, talk to your vet about what is best for your pet.
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By Kelli Best-Oliver, Green Options