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The Flea Dilemma for Cancer Dogs

Pawrents of dogs with cancer face an awful dilemma about coping with fleas and ticks. Our dogs already have weakened immune systems while battling cancer, which makes them an easy target for fleas. But if our cancer dogs suffer from a flea infestation and we use a strong flea control product to fight them, are we exposing our Tripawds to an even greater danger?

According to, in 2008, “the Federal Drug Administration reported that it received more than 44,000 reports of adverse reactions associated with spot-on flea control products . . . That figure represents an increase of about 53% from 2007, the EPA said.” These adverse reactions included everything from neurological affects to chemical burns to death.

The toxins in modern flea control products are powerful chemicals that cause a dog’s body to work overtime to fight off any potentially harmful reactions. Some dogs experience side effects, some don’t. But by using these products, we could be putting our dogs at risk for more cancer growth, because cancer cells thrive in an unhealthy environment. So what’s a pawrent to do?

Start with a Dose of Patience

For dogs with cancer, approaching the flea issue is a multi-faceted, longer term solution that will require heavy doses of patience and housekeeping on your part. Natural flea prevention methods will take longer, sometimes up to a month to kick in. But the wait is worth it, because in the end, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you created the best anti-cancer environment possible for your Tripawd.

A Few Tips for Fighting Fleas on a Cancer Dog

Upgrade her Diet. Poor quality food creates unhealthy dogs with dry skin. Flaky skin provide a feast for parasites, whose bites will exacerbate the problem. Fight the flea problem at the source, by upgrading your Tripawds’ diet to the best diet you can afford. Brewers Yeast and Omega 3 and chelated Zinc (10 mg daily for small dogs; 20 mg for larger ones) are good supplements that work to repel fleas.

Flea Comb for Dogs and Cats (4.5")Buy a Good Flea Comb. This inexpensive tool is your best defense against fleas. It’s time consuming, but look at it as an easy way to spend quality time together. Do it outside and dip the comb in soapy water to drown fleas whenever you find them.

Vacuum Regularly. Buy vacuum bags in bulk and vacuum several times a week. Get into all cracks and crevices. Replace the bags every time. Take the vacuum outside and put the bag/canister contents into a sealed plastic bag. Housekeeping’s a chore, but you won’t have fleas and your house will be cleaner.

Use Diatomaceous Earth. This chalky dust has microscopic sharp-edged particles that attach themselves to fleas, causing them to dehydrate and die. Sprinkle on cleaned beds, carpets and floors and work in with a broom. Purchase lawn and garden/pets version, NOT the one made for swimming pools.

In a few weeks, Tripawds will put our Spokesdog Wyatt Ray to work again, when he reviews a new, all natural flea control product that we just heard about, Southwestern Cedar Oil. Stay tuned as we test it in the flea capital of the world, Texas.

Suggested reading:

Tripawds News Blog: Try Natural Flea Relief

Tripawds Nutririon Blog: Fight Fleas Naturally with Cedar Oil

Tripawd Forums: Flea Medicine

Mother Earth News: Natural Flea Control

Battling Fleas, Ticks, & Mosquitoes: Pet Health Care or Billion Dollar Pet Industry?

Please be aware that we are not veterinarians. The information presented here is not meant to be construed as medical advice or guidance, nor should it be substituted for professional veterinary assistance. Always discuss any remedies and treatments you wish to pursue with your veterinarian.

8 thoughts on “The Flea Dilemma for Cancer Dogs”

  1. swell. Magic’s doc said ok to use frontline and I did. I am not using anything on the kitty right now, mainly because he crawls under the covers and two days after advantage I try to stay away from his neck…impossible when he is under the sheets……

  2. I think it is important to note that there are different levels of safety when you are using spot-on products. Most over-the -counter products are cheaper because they contain pyrethrins which are pesticides. These would include the Hartz and Bio-Spot products. These are the products that commonly cause toxicities and can even kill a cat since they are so sensitive to this chemical. The main ingredients in Revolution, Frontline, and Advantage work by attacking the insect’s nervous system so are pretty safe when used on mammals, even at high doses.

    I still think it is smart to use natural flea control if your dog is undergoing chemo but if you live in a part of the country with a bad flea problem then a dose or two or Frontline is not too bad.


  3. Move to Vegas! We don’t have fleas and ticks! I love it when I see flea collars at Walmart! I’m sure the buying agent is scratching his head wondering why no one is buying one!


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