Flea Preventatives are Unsavory, but Fleas are Much More so

 |  Dec 6th 2010  |   9 Contributions


This morning I awoke and gave my pal Buster a hug. I put my face right on his back and wound up with a face full (and mouth full) of Frontline Plus. His mom Denise had applied the stuff last night (I was working and I asked her to do it).

It was pretty unpleasant. But it wasn't that unpleasant. I washed my face and I am (and will be) none the worse for wear.

I wish I didn't need to apply Frontline to Buster. But I do. Where I live animals have two choices: they can receive a quality flea preventative, or they can be at risk for fleas.

What about herbal, natural, and homeopathic flea treatments? Flea baths and dips? Flea combs and cheaper flea preventatives? I wish they worked, but they don't. And I wish they were safe, but I can't say that they are.

I know that many alternative flea preventative adherents read this blog. Often these people link to web sites selling their preferred products -- which creates a conflict of interest similar to a representative from Friskies commenting on a cat food article. They claim that garlic powder, tea tree oil, patchouli, flea combs, herbal baths, and myriad others have kept their pet or pets flea free.

Here's an analogy that is logically identical to these sorts of "n=1" studies: Every day before work I drink two cups of coffee to prevent car crashes. The coffee makes me alert to road hazards and therefore impervious to crashes. I have never crashed my car on my way to work. Therefore coffee prevents car crashes.

Except it doesn't. Millions of people know this from painful personal experience. And millions of people and their pets know from personal experience that alternative flea preventatives simply don't work like the good ones. If they did, I'd be all over them because, as I have mentioned, I hate using Frontline Plus on Buster.

As unsavory as was my mouthful of Frontline this morning, it was nothing compared to what some people endure. Since I'm not a hippy, to me a pet that smells like patchouli is just as bad as one covered in Frontline. But that's just a warm-up.

I regularly see flea-infested pets. These pets are covered in what some people euphemistically call flea dirt, but which really is flea feces. Their pets share their beds with them. These people are sleeping in beds full of feces.

Or consider my personal favorite: fleas spread tapeworms. Tapeworm segments crawl out of the anus and then move around the environment before shriveling up into what look like sesame seeds. Many times in my career a client has had the revelation that the little sesame seeds on his pillow came from his cat's anus. The expression of horror on the client's face in these instances dwarfs any expression I might have made after my morning encounter with Buster's Frontline Plus!

I don't like Frontline Plus and Advantage. But I'll take them over a bed full of feces and tapeworms any day.

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