This is truly a scenario where the old adage \"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure\" is true...

How to Have a Happy, Healthy, and Flea-Free Summer!

Flea season is upon us every time spring rolls around! This is truly a scenario where the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is true. Many wonderful products have been developed to prevent not only flea infestations, but other common parasites as well. Many of these are no longer based on insecticidal products but on newer strategies, such as products that employ compounds that mimic a parasite\'s hormones causing them to act as birth control agents. Since these products are parasite-specific, they have a much-reduced potential to harm to our pets. Talk to your veterinarian about the most suitable choice for your pet.

As an aside, be careful of the many myths that surround flea control, especially relating to common household products such as:

Garlic – although some fleas may be deterred by garlic, it will not prevent fleas (many fleas apparently develop a taste for it!) Besides, pet breath is difficult to accept at the best of times, let alone with garlic! Garlic should never be given to cats since it is toxic.

Brewer\'s Yeast – this has no effect on fleas and in actual fact may provide fleas with valuable nutrients to grow.

Avon Skin-So-Soft® – this product will deter some fleas, but once again, it will not completely prevent fleas from infesting your pet.

Penny Royal Oil – this has been recently touted as a dip to be used to prevent fleas but, as with anything that is applied to your pet, will be licked and has the potential of causing kidney or liver damage.

Cedar Shavings – these may be helpful for preventing fleas, especially when used in your pet’s bedding but may aggravate respiratory problems or asthma should your pet be prone to these problems.

Remember that your daily grooming session can be used as a time to track down fleas and remove them using a flea comb. This is a completely safe approach, and is especially useful in very young puppies and kittens because of their sensitivity to some preparations. Placing the flea comb with the flea into a bowl of warm, soapy water, or a dish of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol will effectively drown them. Grooming has the added benefit of clearing out dead hair, and keeping the skin and hair coat healthy!

Control of fleas also involves environmental cleanliness. If fleas are resident in yards, households, or basements, periodic environmental treatments with approved products may be needed. Talk to your veterinarian about the best strategy for your home and pets.

Reprinted with permission from

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 4/25/2018: 11:22:22 AM ET
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