To Flea or Not to Flea…
For exactly the third time in my 18+ years of being primary caregiver to a couple of four-legged butt-sniffing funny looking children who never grow up (but on the other hand, I’ll never have to pay college tuition for them), we have a flea infestation to deal with.
Now, just for the record–even three in 18 years still leaves me comfortable with my decision not to feed them monthly pesticides like Frontline or its various siblings. Again, they are not flea preventatives at all, they just kill any fleas that get onto the animal, by keeping a perpetual level of insecticide in the animal’s bloodstream so that any eggs that get laid don’t hatch. And my older dog (that’s him, in the photo–doesn’t he look pathetic? He’s made an art out of it.) has all his life had issues with almost any chemical substance, and he’s on a highly regimented natural diet with no medications except heartworm during the months we need it up North, so I don’t like to stress his system with anything else. And the EPA has cautioned about Frontline and such meds, especially where smaller animals are concerned, citing significant health risks.
It’s the old dog that got hit–our younger one I only found maybe three of the little suckers on, which is sort of interesting and bears out the theory held by many that fleas don’t like the blood of strong healthy dogs with good immune systems, they go for the compromised ones. And having experienced this before, when I saw him get up from his nap and leave a lot of black flaky schmutz behind him, I knew what we were in for.
Anyway, I did an endlessly long post on this topic a couple of years ago (you may go read it if you like, so you’ll see what we were dealing with at 11:00pm last night–it’s a long post, but the second half is about flea removal), and last night once again I found myself in that delightful place where I had to practice what I preach. All the bedding for 3 beds in the laundry, all the rugs, all the upholstery, all the pillows, all the everything vacuumed within an inch of its life. That was my husband’s job. Mine was to bathe two really unhappy dogs, and then to go over each of them several times with a literally fine-toothed-comb–you can get flea combs at any pet supply store, and they are handy and effective things.
The dogs will be bathed daily for two more days at least. And we’ll do the full bedding-and-vacuum sweep again in 3 days, and then again a week after that. With any luck that’ll do it…the hard part is just having to do it all at once; you don’t have the luxury here of saying, okay we’ll do these beds and vacuum upstairs today and get the rest tomorrow, you have to just nail it in one go. Which is a royal pain.
But no chemicals, no meds, no icky toxic residues left on my rugs or furniture or children. Fairly small price to pay, in my opinion.
So…in the meantime, stop by the Green Phone Booth today--in a moment of truly synchronous irony, I posted over there today about my efforts to not wash my hair so often and try homemade recipes for “dry shampoo”–and I challenge any of my friends to really guess which days over the past two weeks I washed my hair with water and which days I used my Brilliant Alternate Plan…
(except for last night, I’m sure the yanked-back ponytail was a dead giveaway, that was my first attempt–not real successful–to skip two days of washing. But even so…)