What is the best way to get rid of fleas and ticks?

Although PETA encourages nonlethal methods of insect control whenever possible, we realize that lethal methods sometimes must be used to combat insects, just as lethal means must sometimes be used to defend ourselves against animals and humans who attack us. In the case of a flea or tick problem, while it is necessary to eliminate the insects in order to protect your companion animal from resulting problems such as flea dermatitis or tick-borne diseases once there is an infestation, the best approach is prevention.

To that end, the best long-term preventive is an insect growth regulator called Precor. This flea hormone will cause sterility in the offspring of any flea that touches it, so spray it every four months on your carpets, hardwood floors, and upholstery (but never on your animals!).

The next line of defense is a healthy coat. Fleas prefer flaking, raw, itchy skin because their role in nature is to “take out” the unhealthy animals. To produce a flea-resistant coat in your dog or cat, add flaxseed oil and calcium ascorbate powder (buffered vitamin C) to the animal’s food. B-complex vitamins are also extremely helpful to the condition of the skin. Garlic is a natural flea repellant when added to your animal’s food, and black walnut capsules given as a supplement repel fleas as well. Additionally, a diet rich in fresh, whole foods and low in processed foods and additives will also contribute to the health of your animal’s coat.

Effective flea control programs employ a multifaceted approach. Flea-combing every day is very effective and helps you to keep tabs on the flea population. It also offers immediate relief from itching. Vacuum rugs and furniture daily, if necessary, during flea season. Flea eggs can be picked up by vacuuming but can still hatch in the bag, which should be sealed and thrown away or put in the freezer after each cleaning. For a flea infestation, sprinkle carpets with diatomaceous earth (a powder composed of the fossilized remains of one-celled algae), leave it down overnight, then vacuum it up. This will kill most fleas.

Avoid chemical powders, sprays, or flea collars. These toxic products can be very dangerous—many animals and people have been poisoned or killed by them. Never overdose an animal with a product, mix products (collar, dip, powder), or use a flea control product intended for a dog on a cat, a very small dog, or any other animal.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind