8 Ways to Keep Your Pet Flea Free
We'll do anything to prevent our poor pets from getting fleas. But we shouldn't have to expose them to toxic chemicals to keep the fleas away. The insecticides used in common flea-control products can be poisonous to pets, causing vomiting, permanent nerve damage, and even cancer. (Permethrin ingredients in certain dog products are often fatal to cats, too.) The good news is that you can still prevent fleas while avoiding these harsh chemicals.
Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, says, "Your important ally in the battle against fleas is cleanliness, both for your pet and for your home, particularly in your pet's sleeping areas." This is critical, since he says regular cleaning interrupts the life cycle of the fleas and greatly cuts down on the number of adult fleas that end up on your pet.
Here are some of Dr. Pitcairn's top tips for keeping your pet safe and naturally flea free:
1. Know when flea season will strike. Flea season hits in the summertime. Dr. Pitcairn advises that, while a normal flea life cycle can take up to 20 weeks, it only takes an average of two weeks during the hot summer months. This means that fleas breed and grow to adulthood at a more rapid rate.
2. Steam-clean your carpets. At the onset of flea season, have your carpets steam-cleaned. It may be expensive, but Dr. Pitcairn admits that it is extremely effective and might be worth the cost.
3. Vacuum at least once a week. Since the flea life cycle occurs in around 2 weeks during the summer, make sure you vacuum at least once a week. This will suck up live fleas and also their larvae and pupae before they can attack your pet.
4. Put a natural flea collar in your vacuum. If you don't plan on throwing out the contents of your vacuum right away, make sure you put a natural flea collar (or part of one) in your vacuum bag or bag-less container. Natural flea collars contain herbal oils to repel insects. Some can even be "recharged" and used again and again. (Note: If there are feline members of your household, make sure the collar is one made for cats, as some essential oils are toxic to cats).
5. Launder pet bedding at least once a week. Wash your pet's bedding in hot, soapy water at least one a week. Just like vacuuming once a week, this will interrupt the fleas' life cycle and prevent them from spreading.
6. Encourage ants. Or, as Dr. Pitcairn says, "Don't discourage them." Ants actually love to eat flea eggs and larvae, so try to avoid using pesticides that kill ants.
7. Mow and water your lawn regularly. Keeping your grass short allows sunlight to penetrate and warm the soil, which kills flea larvae. Watering your lawn helps to drown developing flea larvae before they can hatch into adulthood.
8. Add brewer's yeast and garlic to your pet's diet. Studies and anecdotal evidence support the claims that brewer's yeast and garlic have natural flea-repelling abilities. You can add them to your pet's diet and/or actually rub them directly into your pet's skin (just be prepared for the smell!).
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
- San Antonio, Texas Unveils Largest Highway Crossing for Wildlife in ... ›
- Wildlife Crossings a Huge Success - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Climate Change Will Be Sudden and Cataclysmic Unless We Act Now ›
- There's a Heatwave at the Arctic 'Doomsday Vault' - EcoWatch ›
- Marine Heatwaves Destroy Ocean Ecosystems Like Wildfires ... ›
By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Biden Likely Plans to Cancel Keystone XL Pipeline on Day One ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›