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Hi Everyone,
We have a rambunctious mini poodle puppy that we brought home in July. He came from a well known, respected breeder in northern California and is now 9 months old. I would love help with a variety of topics, but right now, the most pressing thing is, he has fleas. I don't want to give him a pill to kill the fleas because my previous poodle died of GI lymphoma at age 10. We don't know if the heart worm preventative or if the flea medication, caused his cancer, but I don't want to take any chances with my new guy. I have tried "Advantage", but I saw a flea on him the other day, so I don't think it is working. I have tried a flea comb on him, but since he has black fur, it is very difficult to see if I got anything. Plus, he is a regular bucking bronco and it is hard to get him to sit still. Giving him a bath is out of the question. The groomer made it clear to me, that if she found fleas on him again, I was out. We live in the SF bay area, so there are fleas nearly year round. How can I get rid of these nasty fleas without feeding my dog insecticide?
Thanks so much.
 

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It is concerning for most of us to use these chemicals, but the fact is they do work, and they work fast. Many of us use the pills rather than the topicals. I personally use Bravecto and have used Simparica in the past. I used it on my girls who both lived to almost 16y, and use it on my boys, now 2y 8m.

I'm very sorry to hear of your previous poodle's cancer, but how did you conclude that it was either the heartworm or flea preventative that caused it? Fleas are more than just an annoyance. Infestations can cause serious health issues on their own.

“Fleas can cause a wide variety of issues for your pets,” says Dr. Adam Denish of Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania “The most common of which is flea bite dermatitis, which is a specific allergy to flea saliva.”
“It leads to intense itching and scratching for your pet. That constant itching allows the skin to break open and form scabs that can get infected. It can happen on any area of the skin,” says Dr. Denish, “but the most frequent site is the back and base of the tail. It can be treated by your veterinarian. It will need the removal of the fleas as well as medications for the allergy and infection.”
In addition to skin irritation and other external issues, pets are also at risk for internal complications from flea bites and infestations.

Internal Infections from Fleas

“A second problem caused by fleas is tapeworms. These are parasites that are passed to your pet when they actually ingest the flea,” says Dr. Denish.
“The tapeworm is initially inside the flea, and then grows inside your pet. They are segmented parasites that can be as small as 1/2 inch and look like maggots, but can also be as long as 12 inches. They can cause an itchy rear end as well as weight loss. But they are easily treated by your veterinarian.”
Another medical issue involving flea infestation on your pets is flea bite anemia. This is when young or small animals (such as puppies and kittens) have a severe flea infestation and the fleas feed so much on these animals that their red blood cell count decreases. Thus, they become anemic. This can be a medical emergency and even fatal in some cases if left untreated. Luckily, treatment by a veterinarian in a timely manner is usually able to reverse the effects.

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Re chemical exposure and lymphoma, exposure to lawn chemicals may have a correlation to lymphoma but a study on dogs funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded this:

"In this case-control study of pet dogs, we observe evidence that exposure to specific lawn care chemicals was associated with greater risk of CML (canine malignant lymphoma). In contrast, we did not find any association between use of any flea and tick control products and CML."

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That said, look up diatomaceous earth. Some members here use it with good results. Off the top of my head tho, I can't say how quickly it works.

Good luck and when you're ready, come back to the grooming section for help getting your little bronco to have a bath without a tussle.

I hope some of this will be helpful.
 

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Most products take a while to kill all the fleas - they kill the ones on your dog (or stop them breeding), but if you have had even a small infestation there will be eggs, larvae and hatching pupae around your house and yard for weeks to come. Once these have hatched and found the dog they too will die, and you should eventually be clear. Vacuum thoroughly and repeatedly, especially into all the nooks and crannies and any soft furnishings you can't wash (a cat flea collar in the vacuumer bag can help kill any fleas caught). Wash bedding etc at a high temperature. Monitor the success of your efforts with a flea trap - a votive candle in a shallow bowl of water in the middle of the room. Not catching any does not prove they have all gone, but even one or two show there are still plenty around.

As Rose n Poos says, if your dog is prone to infestation you may need to keep up regular treatment with a proven, tested treatment. There are "natural" treatments around, but they will not have had the degree of testing and long term reporting the veterinary medicines receive, and some, like essential oils, can be downright dangerous. I would recommend getting your vet's advice - fleas have developed resistance to some chemicals, and your vet should know what will be most effective in your area.
 

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Diatomaceous earth kills flees almost instantly if it's put on them. It's good to use, but just not if you have Asthma. I'm pretty sure you need a mask while putting it down too.
 

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My sister tried diatomaceous earth - fleas kept on hatching and biting, but it killed her vacuum cleaner!
 
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I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your dog to lymphoma, it seems to be very prevalent now. My sis lost her 6 year old lab to it recently, and worries that the Round up she used in the yard contributed to it. Hindsight is 20/20, we do the best we can do with what we know at the time.

I remember the days when fleas were just part of owning a pet, and the best you could do was hope for some control over it with the older products. I try to avoid pesticides as much as possible, but I don’t want to rewind to the days of flea bitten calves from fleas living in the carpet.

I’m a fan of the modern products, and balance the pesticide exposure with as many healthy habits as possible- healthy organic food, lots of exercise, good dental care, regular vet care, and a lifestyle that stimulates the brain and gives the dog a chance to do doggy things. As was pointed out, there are risks to dogs and humans from fleas and ticks, and we may do as much damage as the pesticides by opening the door to a flea and tick infestations.

So far I’ve been lucky with my dogs as far as health is concerned, and it probably just is dumb luck. See what the years bring.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I remember the frustration of fleas, it is no fun.
 
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Hi Everyone,
We have a rambunctious mini poodle puppy that we brought home in July. He came from a well known, respected breeder in northern California and is now 9 months old. I would love help with a variety of topics, but right now, the most pressing thing is, he has fleas. I don't want to give him a pill to kill the fleas because my previous poodle died of GI lymphoma at age 10. We don't know if the heart worm preventative or if the flea medication, caused his cancer, but I don't want to take any chances with my new guy. I have tried "Advantage", but I saw a flea on him the other day, so I don't think it is working. I have tried a flea comb on him, but since he has black fur, it is very difficult to see if I got anything. Plus, he is a regular bucking bronco and it is hard to get him to sit still. Giving him a bath is out of the question. The groomer made it clear to me, that if she found fleas on him again, I was out. We live in the SF bay area, so there are fleas nearly year round. How can I get rid of these nasty fleas without feeding my dog insecticide?
Thanks so much.
My dogs are all on NexGard or Brevecta. My chihuahua is 18, he has been on at least 7 or 8 years. He also has gotten all his vaccinations per his vet yearly. Maybe I am lucky but there is no way I want fleas in my home or on myself or my animals. I have found these products to be a Godsend. I live in a flea prone area.
 

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If you want an almost immediate flea fix, Capstar works well. I used to use it with fosters to make sure they weren’t bringing fleas in the house. Then I’d follow up with a long term product.
Here it is on Chewy:

 

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Hi Everyone,
We have a rambunctious mini poodle puppy that we brought home in July. He came from a well known, respected breeder in northern California and is now 9 months old. I would love help with a variety of topics, but right now, the most pressing thing is, he has fleas. I don't want to give him a pill to kill the fleas because my previous poodle died of GI lymphoma at age 10. We don't know if the heart worm preventative or if the flea medication, caused his cancer, but I don't want to take any chances with my new guy. I have tried "Advantage", but I saw a flea on him the other day, so I don't think it is working. I have tried a flea comb on him, but since he has black fur, it is very difficult to see if I got anything. Plus, he is a regular bucking bronco and it is hard to get him to sit still. Giving him a bath is out of the question. The groomer made it clear to me, that if she found fleas on him again, I was out. We live in the SF bay area, so there are fleas nearly year round. How can I get rid of these nasty fleas without feeding my dog insecticide?
Thanks so much.
I am sorry for your loss of your previous dog. My question is- why do you believe it was one of those two things that caused the cancer? Was this due to research, something mentioned by the vet?

I understand you are worried, but my thoughts are that it is not okay to let your dog suffer, and your dog should be put on Bravecto. It works. As has already been mentioned, fleas can cause other health problems.
 

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I understand your hesitation. I was the same way. However, I live in Florida where we have fleas around most of the time, summer is especially bad. After trying topicals and natural products I switched to simpatica. It is the only thing that keeps up flea free. It seems that a lot of us use the oral flea meds, because they work. I’ve been where you are and it is no fun. Constant cleaning and vacuuming. Combing, bathing, waiting. Still finding fleas after all you diligence is the worst. I hope you can find a solution that works for you.


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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all of your responses. I will definitely try diatomaceous earth on my lawn. I don't know what caused my previous dog to get cancer. It was in his mouth, stomach and intestines, so I concluded (and I am not a scientist nor a vet) that it may have been something he ate. I have never used a pesticide in my garden, but he could have been exposed to something in the general environment. He also may have had "bad" genes. He did receive a heart worm and flea pill monthly for years, so I thought that may have been the culprit. I still haven't decided what to do about the fleas but I am glad to hear that some dogs that get these pills are living long lives.
 

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I had immediate and excellent success with this method:

Boil a pot of water. Toss in a sliced lemon. Let it steep overnight. The next day, pour the lemony water over your dog and let him air dry in the sun.

We did this the one and only time our dog had fleas, thoroughly vacuumed the house with our Dyson, and washed all bedding in hot water. Never saw another flea.

Note: I know someone who tried this on her very itchy dog, who'd been suffering for months with fleas, and he went ballistic. The poor guy must have had sores all over his body. Either that or his owner made the solution WAY too potent. So proceed with caution. (Our dog had zero negative reaction.)
 
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