Is Flea Treatment Damaging Your Dog’s Health?

Excerpted from Keeping Your Dog Flea Free by Nancy Kerns, Gregory L. Tilford, Kathleen Dudley, and Eileen Fatcheric, DVM

Every dog owner knows that getting rid of fleas can be one of the biggest challenges of dog-keeping. Few people know, however, that the process can also be the most damaging to their dog’s health. Specifically, the use of insecticides on the dog and all around the dog’s environment can cause nerve and liver damage, impair the immune system, and even cause cancer. And you have to wonder – if these effects have been noted in dogs, what effects do all these toxins have on the people who live with the dogs?

It’s a real problem, because if you have fleas in your home, you have to do something. They can make your dog (and you and your family) miserable through their tiny but painful bites, as well as the allergic reactions that many people and dogs develop to flea saliva. They are prolific, producing thousands of eggs during their three-to four-month life-span. In ideal conditions the cycle takes just two weeks, from egg-laying to larvae to pupae to hatched fleas capable of laying eggs of their own.

The chemical approach to flea control can involve use of a panoply of toxic powders, shampoos, sprays, bombs, dips, and collars. Not incidentally, it’s probably the casual use and mixing of several of these products that can pose the biggest challenge to the dog’s health, as his body strives to deal with his exposure to several different types of toxins.

For more information and advice on safe and effective ways to prevent and treat fleas and flea bites, purchase and download the ebook, Keeping Your Dog Flea Free from Whole Dog Journal.