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Beating Fleas and Ticks

Although there are many brands of over-the-counter flea and tick products available at supermarkets and pet supply stores, it is critical to read their labels, and consult with your veterinarian, before using them on your companion. These products may contain ingredients that could harm pets and children.

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The Chemicals

The ingredients to be wary of are organophosphate insecticides (OPs) and carbamates, both of which are found in various flea and tick products. According to the NRDC, the potential dangers posed by these products are greatest for children and pets. There is reason to be concerned about long-term, cumulative exposures as well as combined exposures from the use of other products containing OPs and carbamates.

The Effects

According to the NRDC, there are studies that show OPs and carbamates can harm the nervous system. Children can be especially vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. For pets, the data is limited, but according to NRDC, many companion animals appear to have been injured or killed through exposure to pet products containing OPs. Cats are particularly vulnerable, since they often lack enzymes for metabolizing or detoxifying OPs and can ingest OPs by licking their fur.

Alternatives

Use alternatives to pesticides to control fleas and ticks: Comb your pet regularly with a flea comb, vacuum frequently and dispose of the bags immediately after use, mow areas of the lawn where your dog spends time, wash pet bedding weekly, and wash your pet with a pesticide-free pet shampoo. In addition, to protect cats from fleas and ticks, as well as a host of other outdoor hazards, cats should be kept indoors at all times.

SeniorPetProducts.com - SeniorPetProducts.com

Also keep the following things in mind.

• Always consult a veterinarian before buying or using any flea or tick control product on your pet.

• Never use flea and tick products designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa.

• Remember never to apply pesticides to very young, elderly, pregnant, or sick animals unless directed to do so by a veterinarian.

• Always read the ingredients, instructions, and warnings on the package thoroughly.

• Avoid OP-based products by looking for any of these active ingredients: chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon and malathion. Avoid products with carbamates by looking for the chemical names carbaryl and propoxur on the label.

• Consider using a product with insect-growth regulators (IGRs), which are not pesticides. These will prevent the next generation of fleas but will not kill insects already on your pet. Common and effective IGR products include those made with lufenuron (found in Program® and Sentinel® and available by prescription), methoprene (in Precor®), and pyriproxyfen (in Nylar® and EcoKyl®).

SeniorPetProducts.com features dog food supplements, dog vitamins, dog beds and various other products that help the pets stay healthy as they grow older. The company has also provided an online platform for pet owners and experts to discuss issues concerning the senior pets.

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