Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Flea Control on a Budget

Dear Porky and Buddy,
I know that I should be doing something to control fleas on my pets but the products that my vet sells are so expensive. Are there over the counter products that I see in stores just as effective? Are they safe?

Dear Linda,
Protecting your dog or cat from fleas and ticks is important, and some of the best prescription products available from your veterinarian are surprisingly expensive. In these difficult times, it’s not unusual that you are considering alternatives. But you need to be very careful.
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 humans, especially children, and there have been hundreds of incidents reported.
Last year we told our readers that the Environmental Protection Agency was investigating spot-on over the counter pesticide products for pets, because of a significant increase in adverse incidents. While most people use the products with no harm to their pets, the agency’s analysis determined that smaller dogs tend to be disproportionately affected by some products and that the exposure of cats to some dog products is a concern.
Among the actions that the EPA is pursuing now are:
– Requiring manufacturers of spot-on pesticide products to improve labeling, making instructions clearer to prevent product misuse.
– Requiring more precise label instructions to ensure proper dosage per pet weight.
– Requiring clear markings to differentiate between dog and cat products, and disallowing similar brand names for dog and cat products. Similar names may have led to misuse.
– Launching a consumer information campaign to explain new label directions and to help users avoid making medication errors.
The EPA’s report on its evaluation of these products and incidents is available at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/petproductseval.html

Whatever you decide, remember these rules:
1. Always consult a veterinarian before buying or using any flea or tick control product on your pet.
2. Never use flea and tick products designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa.
3. Never apply pesticides to very young, elderly, pregnant, or sick animals unless directed to do so by a veterinarian. 4. Always read the ingredients, instructions, and warnings on the package thoroughly.
5. If you suspect your pet may have suffered negative health effects as a result of a flea product consult with your veterinarian immediately.
On a less icky note, SAVE THE DATE, for our annual Strut Your Mutt, 5K Run or Walk and 1 Mile Family Walk on Saturday, September 11th at Fallbrook Recreation Center in Oswego, and on the same day, the Barn Cat Boogie, also at FallBrook, with a picnic dinner, silent auction, and dancing “till the cows come home.” Details and sign up options will be available on our website soon at www.oswegohumane.org.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070 . Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org