Pets and Fleas

by Diann

I've never had much luck with those herbal flea collars on my cats.

The pesticide-laden commercial collars are marginally better -- but one has to wonder about the wisdom of putting this strip of plastic impregnated with all manners of goodies that the manufacturer tells you not to touch without thouroghly washing your hands after, around the neck of your favorite feline or canine. Some pets develop allergies to ingredients in these flea collars, as well. Besides, I've noticed that the favorite place for fleas to congregate is -- you guessed it -- right under the flea collar, whether herbal or synthetic.

The alternative, it seems, would be to allow one's pets their increasing flea population -- but the discomfort for them (some also develop allergies to flea bites) as well as for their human companions, argues against this. Vets will sell you foaming products, or pesticide droplets, which either get the fleas in between the fur, or are absorbed into the skin of your pet. However, the distaste cats (at least) have for these things can be noted by their willingness to foam at the mouth in distress -- are products like these really necessary, and is the "cure" worse than the ailment?

Nowadays, there seem to be shots you can give many pets to help with the flea and tick situation. But if these are not available to your pets, or for some reason you prefer not to have them administered, there is one possible preventive measure.

I give my cats brewers' yeast. For two cats (weighing 7-10 pounds), I give less than a teaspoon of brewer's yeast mixed in a can of catfood they share in the morning, and again in the evening. Occasionally, I will supplement this with a sprinkle of garlic. Small dogs can get a similar regimen. As I live in the Northern Hemisphere in a temperate zone, I start supplementing in March or April, continuing until August or the beginning of September. You want to start this in advance of the arrival of the fleas. They are much harder to control after they've overpopulated your homestead. Most pets actively seem to enjoy the taste of the yeast. I had one cat once who eagerly ate yeast tablets.

If you have any questions, ask your vet, and monitor your pet to make sure he or she is accepting the brewers' yeast well. You can buy brewer's yeast especially formulated for your pet (with instructions on how much to give your animal based on weight) -- this is the recommended way to go.

This information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment. If conditions worsen, or persist, consult your healthcare practitioner.

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