With the movement towards more natural pet care comes the belief that natural treatments are safer than synthetic chemical treatments. While that’s often the case, there are some natural treatments that may contain unsafe ingredients.
We have seen several natural flea and tick treatments (and recipes for natural flea treatments) containing herbs and essential oils that should not be used on dogs, cats or other animals. I can only assume that the formulators of these potions have read information indicating an ingredient is effective in killing or repelling fleas and looked no further into the safety of its use. One of these ingredients is Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides and Mentha pulegium).
Pennyroyal contains volatile oils, primarily pulegone, which can be toxic to animals. Ingesting even minute amounts over time can cause permanent damage. Since both dogs and cats are likely to lick themselves, no amount of Pennyroyal is truly safe for pets. Cats are especially sensitive to Pennyroyal and its use may result in death.
The effects of Pennyroyal toxicity may include:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Renal damage
- High blood pressure
- Accelerated heart rate
There are safe, effective, natural flea and tick treatments on the market that don’t contain dangerous ingredients. We suggest that you research each ingredient on the label before purchasing and take great care in formulating your own flea repellant recipes.
Sudekum et al. Pennyroyal Oil Toxicosis in a Dog. 1992.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Bell, Kristen Leigh. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals. 2002.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Natural, Organic Flea Treatment and Control (With Herbal Rinse Recipe)
Natural Tick Treatments for Dogs (With Anti-Lyme’s Bite Recipe)
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