As pets' humans, we have a lot
to think about. What will we feed them? Where will we let them
sleep? What's the best way to care for them? Here, we offer you
a few random reflections about pets, fleas, and various methods
of flea control.
Imagine that you're going on a camping trip in a really buggy place. To protect yourself from the local bugs, you have three choices. First, you can take a hormone pill once a month. Then, every bug that bites you will be sterile after it bites. Second, you can apply an insecticidal drop to the back of your neck. This insecticide will spread all over your body. Then, after a bug lands on you, the insecticide will kill 97 to 99 per cent of the bugs within two to 48 hours, depending on the brand of drop you're using. Or, you can take a tasty vitamin that's good for you. When you go camping, the bugs (fleas and ticks) will still be in the forest. But they won't land on you. You get no bug bites, no exposure to insecticides, no hormone pills. You do get healthy skin, prettier hair, and a healthy nervous system.
Which of these methods would you choose?
The one that sterilizes bugs after they bite? The one that kills
them hours after they land on you? Or the one that keeps the
bugs off you completely? For most of us, this question is a no
brainer. Our pets can't tell us what they'd choose, though. They
depend on us to choose wisely for them.
We'll never kill all the bugs.
Our parents sprayed the
yard on Saturday mornings. Our grandparents sprayed the yard
on Saturday mornings. What bugs have we eliminated? Roaches?
Ants? Mosquitoes? Fleas? If we could kill them all, they'd
be gone by now.
A rose is a rose. A poison is
a poison. Lots of the topical
drops for pets are described by their manufacturer as "parasiticides"
or "adulticides." One product goes to great lengths
to claim that it isn't a pesticide. The difference between a
pesticide and an insecticide is that a pesticide kills rodents
and insects. An insecticide is designed to kill only insects.
Words like "parasiticide" and "adulticide"
are meant to do a two-step around the i-word: "Insecticide."
Did you ever read all the fine print on that little package insert
that comes with some of those products? What's that bit about
wearing rubber gloves while you apply the product to your pet?
If I can't touch it with my bare hands, it's not going on my