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Green Paws: A Guide to Safer Flea and Tick Treatments

Posted Jun 04 2009 11:45pm

photo from The NRDC ( National Resources Defense Council ) has created Green Paws, a green living initiative, to help people keep their pets and families safe from toxic flea and tick products.

The surprising thing is that it’s not just the regular chemical culprits that may be dangerous to the health of your pets but some of the “all natural” herbal treatments can be just as poisonous.

Green Paws is committed to helping inform people that many flea and tick products can harm pets, people and the environment. They give great advice about what to do to avoid getting infested with fleas and ticks-washing your pet regularly, combing and brushing your pet, using a flea comb to pull out fleas and their eggs, vacuum your home often (and don’t forget to clean out the vacuum), and keep pet areas clean.

Visit to learn more about keeping your pets and families safe from toxic products. You can sign petitions, download a pocket guide to products, and see a list of safer flea and tick treatments.

I try to avoid chemical products as much as possible so I use herbal products instead. I was shocked to find out that even herbal products are not always safe for pets or people.

Products containing the essential oils cinnamon, clove, geranium, tea tree, lavender, bay and eucalyptus should be used sparingly because they can cause severe allergic reactions in pets and people (always do a small spot test and wait several hours for signs of reaction before overall application).

Products containing cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and thyme are safer to use.

Avoid the use of any product containing pennyroyal oil it has been reported to cause seizures, comas, and even death in animals. This is the most alarming to me because I bought a flea spray from Only Natural Pet Store thinking it would be safe to use. After reading this information from Green Paws and then checking the label on my flea spray I find that Pennyroyal oil is one of the first ingredients. I could have killed my beloved cats by using something “safe” and “all natural”.

I really wish companies would do more thorough research on their products before sending them out to be sold to unsuspecting people thinking they are doing the right thing by purchasing an herbal product instead of a chemical one.

The flea spray I purchased is Doc Ackerman’s Botanical Citronella Pet Spray. “A Natural Alternative to Pesticides”. Oil of Pennyroyal is the third ingredient listed.

Visit to find out if your flea and tick treatments are not as safe as you thought they were.

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