DEAR DR. FOX: I read your column every Sunday, and know your concern about flea and tick treatments. I refuse to use the topical or oral treatments on my dogs any longer, no matter what the vet says.
Instead, I have been giving my 18-month-old adopted pit mix garlic chewables since he was 7 months old. I buy them from a company that makes natural health supplements for dogs, cats and horses. Knowing garlic is on the list of toxic foods for dogs, I was wary at first, but the company provided me with information on why their garlic is safe and why it would keep fleas and ticks off my dog.
It works. Spanky has never had any fleas, and only a couple of ticks, ever. He goes to dog daycare once a week, and plays with other dogs in backyards and parks. No problem. He’s very healthy.
Since I have never seen you address garlic as a pest preventive, I was curious if you have concerns about giving it to dogs. If not, it would be great to spread the word, so that other owners can stop using chemical treatments that risk harming their dogs. -- M.A.S., High Point, North Carolina
DEAR M.A.S.: I have often mentioned in my column that garlic will help keep fleas off dogs. Give one large, raw, organic clove per 30 pounds of body weight, chopped, mixed daily into the dog’s food, plus 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Garlic can upset dogs’ stomachs, so only give it with food. Garlic is not safe for cats, since it causes a kind of anemia. But cats can have nutritional or brewer’s yeast (NOT live baker’s yeast) at one half-teaspoon daily in the food for a 12-pound cat. Onions are unsafe for both species and can cause anemia.
For an integrative approach to the problem of fleas, see my report “Preventing Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes” on my website, drfoxvet.net.
DEAR DR. FOX: My 4-year-old cat, Sam, and I want to thank you so much for writing about the benefits of getting a second cat.
My husband and I decided to do just that. We both worried Sam was bored being alone all day when we were at work. We adopted a neutered male, about 1 year old, from a cat rescue place, and followed your advice on introducing a new cat. Sam loves the new cat, Teddy. They play together all the time, groom each other and sleep together. Sam is so much happier, and with all the activity, seems in better shape mentally and physically. -- J.L., Alexandria, Virginia
DEAR J.L.: Thank you for confirming what so many cats need. I think it is a sad situation for thousands of cats, and dogs too, who spend all day alone in the home with no stimulation, month after month and year after year.
This is a form of cruelty for these sociable animals, and you have confirmed the best remedy: Get a cat for the cat -- or a dog for the cat, or a cat or dog for the dog!
SEZURE WARNING FOR SOME FLEA & TICK TREATMENTS
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinarians to be aware of the potential for “neurologic adverse events” in dogs and cats when treated with drugs in the isoxazoline class.
Since these products have obtained their respective FDA approvals, data received by the agency as part of its routine post-marketing activities indicates that some animals receiving Bravecto, Nexgard or Simparica have experienced adverse events such as muscle tremors, ataxia and seizures. Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations.
The FDA is working with manufacturers of isoxazoline products to include new label information to highlight neurologic events because these events were seen consistently across the isoxazoline class of products.
For more information on the hazardous nature of various insecticides to cats and dogs, see my article “Companion Animal Risks of Flea & Tick Insecticides,” posted on my website.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)