Killer collars and toxic topical flea treatments, poison pets and people

I don’t think the manufacturers of toxic flea treatments could have predicted how the phrase, ‘to kill two birds with one stone’, would have such relevance to their products.

Collect manufacturers with an obsession for profit, greedy, irresponsible retailers, lazy government officials and the arcane regulation of chemicals and you have a surefire recipe for disaster. Like drunks behind the wheel of a car ignoring every sign along the way, they careen down a perilous road,  despite tragedy after tragedy. Like Scarlett O’Hara, they exclaim, ‘I won’t think about that today,  I’ll think about that tomorrow…after all tomorrow is another day!’

But the real tragedy lies with the naive assumption that manufacturers are telling consumers the truth. Consumers have been sold a bill of goods, they believe what the package says, they trust the manufacturer to never sell anything that would cause them, their children and their beloved pets, irreparable harm. Negative buying habits aren’t born, they’re created. Hypnotized by the glossy ads, the sweet pictures of frolicking happy pets, consumers have been lulled into a false sense of security.

Consumers don’t have a prayer; they are busy, exhausted, overwhelmed and an anxious bunch. If the manufacturers have an advantage, it’s when that consumer, while struggling to make a decision, is given a kind of implicit assurance, powered by millions of dollars of careful brand marketing, that a respectable company like theirs is trustworthy and honest.  Manufacturers spend staggering amounts of money on advertising and marketing annually. They call it brand awareness and acceptance, I call it bullshit.

Which brings me round to my tired, old drum and worn-out soap box: please, for Pete’s sake, do not even consider buying those terrible over-the-counter flea topical treatments, collars, toxic shampoos and flea bombs. I implore you, consider the consequences, and ask yourself this question – is it worth it? Sure, in the short-term you saved a couple o’ lousy bucks and nuked the fleas, but now, by golly, every member of the household, including the family dog and cat, have irreversible brain damage, a myriad of scary nervous system disorders and cancer!

So, the next time you’re standing in the aisle at your local Petco or PetSmart contemplating throwing caution-to-the-wind and exclaiming, ‘C’mon, just how bad can it be?’ –  I urge please, please turn the package around and read VERY carefully the warning label. Those ingredients are designed to destroy the nervous systems of living organisms, whether it be flea, canine, feline or human. Pesticides aren’t designed to be specific, they are designed to kill.

Sure fleas and ticks are a nuisance, but you know what’s an even bigger drag? Those darn chemicals Tetrachlorvinphos and Propoxur are not only toxic to those little buggers, but to the nervous system of every living organism on the planet as well.

Among the many gruesome insecticides and pesticides used in flea treatments, Tetrachlorvinphos and Propoxur are among the most dangerous pesticides still legally on the market—not only to parasites and pets, but they also pose a risk to both the children and adults who play with their pets.

Symptoms of poisoning include a nasty smorgasbord of muscle twitching, seizures, respiratory paralysis and even death. Both chemicals are also likely to cause cancer. Young children are particularly susceptible (not to mention cats and dogs) to these pesticides’ effects because their nervous system and brain are still developing, and their ability to metabolize these chemicals is weaker than that of adults. In addition, kids often put their hands in their mouths after petting an animal, and to pets because they groom themselves and so are more likely to ingest the hazardous residues.

Despite the risk of selling neurotoxic and carcinogenic products, when retailers, including Petco and PetSmart, were made aware of these dangers, they didn’t do a darn thing about it and in fact left these hazardous products on store shelves.

Trust me on this one, the few lousy bucks you’ll save will never compensate for the damage those products will inevitably cause. So, read the package, do some research and you will see that the only people who truly benefit from flea treatments are the manufacturers and retailers who are laughing all the way to the bank.

If you think a pesticide made your pet sick, call NPIC at (800) 858-7378 to report the incident. For emergencies, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Centerat (888) 426-4435.

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PET PRODUCTS CONTAINING PROPOXUR

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (12) Write a comment

  1. My dog got sick from flea collar I took it off of her she needs to get better ! I hope it gets out of her body fast so she can heal from it I’ll. Ever use a collar again !

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  2. Can anyone answer this question for me how long does it take for the chemicals to leave a dogs body after using a flea collar ?

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  3. HAS ANYONE ELSE USED A PRODUCT CALLED PETGUARD…FLEA COLLARS FOR CATS? THINKING NATURAL WAS SAFE…USED IT ON MY CAT..AND HAVING NO CLUE PENNYROYAL OIL IS TOXIC TO CATS..ETC..I LOST MY BELOVED TIGGR FROM POISONING…ANY INFO..COMPLAINTS..ON THIS PRODUCT…OR SICK PET FROM THIS PRODUCT…PLLLLZZZ SHARE..TY..A BROKEN HEARTED MOMM

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    • Thanks. Heart breaking problem. If ONLY people would do the teensy weensiest bit of research (no excuses with Google nowadays) they would find that these insecticides are neurotoxic. That’s why I do what I do…try spread the gospel of what’s wrong with the pet product industry. I hope I make some teensy weensy bit of difference.

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  4. I bought a Zodiac flea collar for my cat today and within 30 minutes of putting it on her she was wheezing and having muscle spasms. I had to rush her to the vet for an emergency late night visit. She’s staying at the vet overnight to be treated for pesticide poisoning. I wish I had read this blog before buying the flea collar.

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    • OMG. I am so sorry. Poor baby kitty! Have you been to http://www.GreenPaws.com yet? They have the best online review of all the flea & tick remedies – from the good to really, really bad. Watch out for those flea shampoos too. Try Dr. Bronners baby soap, the liquid, and wash your baby in that, flea comb and vacuum the Hell out of your house and wash everything she sleeps on. Vacuum the couch and chairs too. Fleas love dark crevices, so break out that tool for vacuuming cracks and do the whole house every three or four days until the buggers are gone. And whatever you do, do NOT use Advantage or Frontline, they are almost as bad, especially for kittens. See Susan Thixton’s website truthaboutpetfood and there is two great articles discussing Frontline. Check out the comments too, I comment alot on her site. Check it out http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com.

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  5. What to do?!?…and do it without poisons. Have carpets? Most important is to vacuum daily or at least twice a week, as flea eggs, larvae and the fleas spend much of their time off your pet. They LOVE carpets and the liner underneath. When done, cover the pipe end of the vacuum with a plastic bag and rubber band. Get rid of the rugs if you can. Target areas such as cracks, or crevices along the floor edge, dark hiding places. Do a Diatomaceous Earth treatment on carpets or floors. Google for instructions. Can also put D.E. in the vacuum bag before starting. Treat your yard with the beneficial nematode Steinernema carpocapsa. That’s just a few ways to start…It’s a battle with the little buggers. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

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