Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Those of You With Pets

Like many people, I have pets. Like many people, at some time or another my pets have had fleas. A simple enough issue to deal with, one would think. Stores are filled with aisles dedicated exclusively to flea elimination products. Hartz, Sergeant's, Sentry, Bio Spot, Frontline, Four Paws, are all familiar brands. They're also notably cheaper alternatives to some of the more costly pet products, like Advantage. They all do the same thing, right? Surely these items are safe for use if they're still on the shelves? Wrong.

The only way in which Hartz products will rid your house of fleas is by ridding your house of pets. Hardly an ideal method for people who consider their pets members of the family.

The cases of reported adverse reactions and/or death of pets reported immediately after using these products are staggering. According to our veterinarian, it's probably best not to actively treat your pets for fleas at all if they are indoor animals; unless they have a compromised immune system or an allergy to insects or unless you have children. The benefits do not outweigh the risk. If your pet does have a compromised immune system or an allergy to insects, you should treat them with Advantage brand products. Just to be certain you should also correspond with your animal's veterinarian for proper dosing. This can usually be done free of charge and even over the phone provided your pet has not gained or lost weight since their last visit.

One size fits all does not apply to medications. Even if they are bottled and sold that way.

To make matters worse, Hartz Ultra Guard and these other dangerous products aren't only bad for your pet's health -- they also do not effectively kill fleas or ticks. So you're not only putting your pet's health at risk by using them, you're also basically throwing money out of the window. You'd be better off treating your pet's flea problem by wishing on shooting stars. There is a reason Advantage is considerably more expensive: it actually works.

So what is the difference between these products and Advantage? Imidacloprid. A chemical remarkably safer for use on cats and dogs than Tetrachlorvinphos (Hartz), Propoxur (Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry), Permethrin (Hartz, Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry, Four Paws), and Fipronil (Frontline), which have been known to not only cause severe skin irritation but also acute poisoning and death.

The first symptom of trouble is reddening of the skin where the product was applied and salivating. Symptoms rapidly progress to labored breathing, frothing at the mouth, and spastic behaviors. If left untreated, most animals die shortly thereafter. Even those that survive are often left with permanent damage. If you have used these products or are currently using them and notice any of these signs, quickly and thoroughly bathe your pet in luke warm water with Dawn dish soap. Then proceed to your veterinarian's office at your earliest convenience. If symptoms progress or are severe take your pet to an emergency pet clinic right away.

Just because you have used these products in the past without event, does not mean your pet will never suffer one. Some animals are simply more resilient than others and it may take repeated dosing to trigger a full blown life-threatening episode. Also, remember, you aren't even killing fleas by using this stuff. May as well quit while you're ahead.

If you don't care about your animals (why have them?) then perhaps you'd be interested in knowing that the active ingredient in Hartz and Frontline have both been shown to cause tumors, organ failure, and nervous system damage in humans. Especially pregnant women and children. So there's more to be concerned about here than just Mr. Whiskers and Rover.

If you do not care about the well-being of your pets, your wife, or your children... you are a monster and I hereby issue a formal cease and desist in regard to reading my blogs.

So once again, in summary: do not use flea products provided by the brand name Hartz, Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry, Frontline or Four Paws. If your pet requires treatment for fleas, such as my cat who suffers from a severe flea allergy, use Advantage. It's not only reliable but safer.

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