Entering Flea + Tick Season with All the Facts: Understand the Options

Entering Flea + Tick Season with All the Facts: Understand the Options

Heading outdoors with our puppers is the best, and springtime is here.

And so is flea and tick "season."

Fleas and ticks are the many pests that pose a threat to our fur babies.

Spring Outdoors time is here

While some places within the US have designated flea and tick “seasons” where these pests are more active in warmer months, in other places, like Florida and Texas, our pets are threatened by their presence year-round. 

As a pet parent, one of the first things we’re often told is to ensure that our pets are on a monthly flea and tick preventative. While it is vital to protect our pets against fleas, ticks and other insects, especially in areas where the pests pose a larger threat, more transparency about the commonly used chemical preventatives, their ingredients and potential risks needs to become normalized in order to allow us to make the best possible choices for our animals.

What are flea and tick preventatives?

We know them as ingestible/oral medications, topical sprays or collars that work to either repel fleas and ticks (in the case of topical preventatives or collars) or kill pests once they’ve bitten a dog in order to prevent disease transmission. There are a variety of flea and tick preventatives. Some are meant to be taken in combination with other preventatives, while others are stand-alone products, often marketed as three-in-one, like Simparica Trio. However, what we aren’t often told is what ingredients and compounds they contain.

The truth is that many of the flea and tick preventatives we are sold contain harmful pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks and in some cases mosquitos, once they bite a pet. 

While they are effective, it’s at the cost of injecting, applying and feeding pesticides and chemicals to our pets, and the FDA has officially issued a warning due to the many risks to our pets.  

Isoxazolines are a common class of flea and tick products recommended by veterinarians across the country. These include monthly oral medications intended for monthly oral use like Nexgard or Bravecto. According to the FDA’s website,

“The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinarians of the potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class.”

 

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2019 against Merck Animal Health, the makers of the isoxazoline-based preventative Bravecto alleging that the drug may cause neurological reactions in pets. According to an article by PIX11, there were 720 reported seizures for Bravecto in four years as of 2019.

close to 400,000 cases reported, and that is based on only 1% of cases reported

Globally recognized integrative veterinarian and pet advocate, Dr. Judy Morgan DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT, posts, "The number of adverse reports to the FDA, EMA, and EPA due to parasiticides was highest for Trifexis® (200,941) followed by isoxazoline-based product, NexGard Specta® (190,802.)"

Dr. Morgan reports further that those statistics are based on only the cases that are reported, and that is approximated at only 1%. And yet, these products are still being offered and sold by conventional veterinarians and online pet retailers. 

Flea collars are also facing scrutiny due to discoveries about the chemicals often used in the products.

flea collar

Flea collars are designed to be worn by your dog in order to release pesticides and chemicals onto the animal’s fur, thus killing pests that attempt to land on or bite them. In October of 2022 the EPA made the decision to ban the sale of flea and tick collars that contain the chemical tetrachlorvinphos, a dangerous chemical that has been linked to brain damage in children.

InvestigateMidwest.org reports that according to the FDA, more than 50% of flea and tick collars on the market at the time of the decision contained the chemical.

So, what natural, safe solutions can pet owners who want to take a more holistic approach to preventatives consider?

In the wake of new information regarding traditional prevention methods and with the new wave of knowledge that dog owners are gaining, other brands are beginning to take a more holistic approach to pest prevention.

Woof Creek Flea + Tick

Woof Creek offers a natural approach to flea and tick prevention with the Essential Flea + Tick Defense Meal Topper which is available at www.WoofCreek.com as well as www.DrJudyMorgan.com and the Flea + Tick Defense Spray.

When used together, the two products work to both deter fleas using all natural ingredients.

Take Only Natural Pet, as another example, has taken an interesting approach by creating all natural, wearable collars and tags designed to deter insects. There are also ways to naturally treat your environment to repel and reduce pests, like treating your yard with food-grade diatomaceous earth and beneficial nematodes; natural in-home and outdoor flea killing sprays from Wondercide, and other great tools for prevention and maintenance.

There is a small increase in due diligence for pet parents who take the natural route of natural prevention, but the heartache and work to potentially manage a pet if the above reported side effects from chemical preventatives affect your pet, like chronic seizures and neurological issues, will be a matter to weigh. And for many pets who are, aside from potty walks, inside dogs, there is a increasingly lower risk for fleas and ticks. 

Help and Questions and Answers

At the end of the day, getting all this fact-based information direct to pet parents, arming fur kids' only advocates with truth and safe alternatives, is our mission. The best thing we can do for our pets in regards to pest prevention is do our research, use a variety of natural products and (as always) listen to our intuition when it comes to our fur babies and their health and wellness. 

For further education on this topic, here are trusted resources:

Woof Creek Pups on lake walk

Ultimately, as pet owners, the decision as to what works best for our pups while weighing the benefits and risks of each solution falls upon us and us alone, and it’s important that we stay informed for us and for our fur babies.

If you would like to help make pets safer by barking out about the potential dangers out there, you can sign this petition from change.org. We can save pet lives, together.

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FAQ

Does Woof Creek's All-Natural Flea + Tick Defense Support Topper kill or repel fleas and ticks?

Our Essential Flea + Tick Defense Superfood natural blend and the all natural, extra precaution Flea + Tick Defense Repel + Protect Spray deter fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, etc.: They do not kill these insects.

Our natural Flea + Tick Defense products are part of a chemical-free proactive routine for the standard domesticated dog's lifestyle. For free-range pups in constant high-risk areas like fields, forests, by water bodies, etc. it requires more tools and armor as outlined at the bottom of this FAQ item. It is even recommended to limit a dog's presence in higher risk areas during the heights of flea & tick season.

Are you dealing with an active flea scenario currently?

Eradicating the infestation will be necessary by using other means. And to give the topper (with or without other natural tools) a fighting chance, it will be essential to remove the flea activity in its totality from all household pets and home. Here are some wonderful natural tools to consider (and if you have used and have feedback on any of them, please do share): 

  • Natural Flea Elimination Sprays (that kill fleas, not just repel, like Wondercide products (safe for pets and children) and is applicable directly to pets' coats and to household items/furniture, yards, etc.)
  • Kin+Kind Shampoo: for the pups that have active flea sightings
  • Flea Comb: and dip it in the Wondercide to comb through affected pups after shampoo treatment.
  • AnimalEO Bomb: Requires special diffuser for per-room treatment, and evacuation of area for people and pets for instructed periods of time.
  • Ultra Violet Light C Spectrum: https://pestcontrolweekly.com/does-uv-light-kill-fleas/
  • Non-Toxic Flea Trap/Lure: (Read reviews, but have never met a parent or consulting vet who has used this.)
  • 20 Mule Team Borax for rugs: it is reported to dry out flea eggs after a couple of days, then vacuum up (and clean out bagless vacuum or throw out vacuum bag if yours has one.)
  • Max & Molly Soundshield Ultrasonic (device emits ultrasonic sound waves that are inaudible to humans and dogs, but irritate the nervous system of pests, deterring them from staying on and hanging around your pet: BUT reading the reviews, it may be ineffective for the larger properties/higher-pest-risk scenarios, and it also has a green blinking light that may scare the pups.)
  • Treat the perimeter of your home and yard with food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
  • Beneficial Nematodes for yard.
And, a LAST resort/idea to discuss with your own veterinarian (preferably a integrative/holsitic veterinarian): A non-natural solution we have never used but have heard of, is a fast-acting chemical flea-kill (emergency) product that only stays in pups' systems for 24 hours, called CapStar. It would be a break in the flea cycle (that are on the dogs; but bedding, carpet, etc. must be diligently handled so that once the chemical is out of pups' systems, you don't have live fleas from bedding jumping back on pups...) THEN, to counter the toxicity levels with all-natural detox ingredients and protocols, like Dr. Karen Becker offers, such as milk thistle and chlorella. This is what many integrative and holistic vets recommend for heart worm (ie use of the brand, Interceptor.)
 
We again want to refer pawrents these two integrative vets we trust and work with, and their educational videos:
They discuss some of the remedies mentioned above, as well as proactive lifestyle measures, ie feeding the least processed, most specifies-appropriate diet, to make your pack the least hospitable hosts for fleas and ticks and to boost their immune system, as well.

While doing the above actions:

  • Continue to use our Woof Creek Flea + Tick Defense Topper, as it will enhance skin health and immunity, (which will help heal flea and tick bites during a current scenario and make for less-appealing hosts.)

After a flea infestation is conquered, please utilize some of these proactive, all natural tools:

  • Our natural Flea + Tick Defense Spray offers extra protection for longer durations in higher risk environments (in a eco-friendly glass bottle; based on integrative veterinarian's formulation guidance.)
  • Take Only Natural Pet, has all natural, wearable collars and tags designed to deter insects (Woof Creek has heard of/not tried these.)
  • Other chemical free wearables like Full face Mesh Covers and Hoods (Woof Creek has heard of/not tried these.)
  • New, biodegradable Repeltec-treated insect repellant dog shirt from Finland with Repeltec technology (Woof Creek has heard of/not tried these.)
  • Treat the perimeter of your home and yard with food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE).
  • Use Beneficial Nematodes for the yard for fleas, ticks and mosquitos+++
  • Bat houses.
  • Mosquitofish (search local government programs) if you live on/near artificial bodies of water.
  • Guinea fowl or chickens for flea and tick control, etc.
  • Practice proactive management and exposure adjustments per season and time of day (ie shorten walks during dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active; limit roaming perimeter for larger properties during high tick season; plan hikes and trail walks with flea and tick activity mindfully, etc.)

We know this is a great deal of information, but the natural path is multi-leveled, but well worth it.


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