It is currently standard practice for vets to recommend monthly “spot-on” treatments for flea and tick prevention. Many dogs use these treatments without any problems however, the chemical (both active and non-active) ingredients are increasingly an area of concern, especially for Italian Greyhounds as a breed.
Concerns About Chemical, Spot-on Treatments
Frontline is a commonly used spot-on treatment with Fipronil as the active ingredient. When applied to an Italian Greyhound, Frontline remains in the IG’s system with the potential for nervous system and thyroid toxicity. Tests on laboratory animals resulted in thyroid cancer and altered thyroid hormones, liver and kidney toxicity, reduced fertility and convulsions. Information given out by Frontline creates the impression that the product stays in the oil glands of the skin, but studies have showed that in fact, it does enter the body and the organ system.
Advantage uses the active ingredient Imidacloprid which has been found to increase cholesterol levels in dogs, cause thyroid lesions, create liver toxicity, and has the potential for damaging the liver, heart, lungs, spleen, adrenal glands and brain. As a neurotoxin, it can cause incoordination along with laboured breathing and muscle weakness. When the drug was tested after its introduction in 1994, researchers found an increase in the frequency of birth defects when it was tested on rats, mice and dogs.
Pyrethrins – the naturally occurring compounds from the Chrysanthemum plant and pyrethroids the synthetic counterpart are thought to be less hazardous than other tick and flea preventative ingredients. However, over a five-year period there were at least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot-on treatments with the afore mentioned ingredients. Which was nearly double the reported fatality linked to flea treatments without pyrethroids.
Alternative Treatments for Flea and Tick Prevention
The good news is that there are alternatives for flea and tick treatments for Italian Greyhounds that do not require the use of any of these chemicals.
Italian Greyhounds have smooth, fine coats and are not generally prone to flea infestations and tick bites. A sensible hygiene routine can help prevent flea infestations – wash dog bedding regularly. It’s worth looking at using the following treatments in place of a spot-on chemical treatment:
Garlic Oil Capsules
Widely available supermarkets or health food stores, garlic capsules can be used as a supplement with food and can help to make a dog’s skin environment unpleasant for fleas or harvest mites. Simply feed one capsule daily with your dog’s feed. Holland & Barret: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-garlic-oil-capsules-1000mg-60002973
Made from the seeds of the Indian Neem tree, a powerful parasite repellent as well as being antibacterial and antifungal. Neem Oil can be used as a food supplement or diluted with water and used as a topical spray: https://www.myitchydog.co.uk/ekoneem-organic-neem-oil-red-sore-spots-dry-scaly-patches-itchy-skin.html
Billy No Mates Herbal Flea, Tick & Mite Repellent for Dogs
Available as a tincture or dried herbs, Billy No Mates Flea & Tick repellent can be added to your dog’s food as a natural way of preventing tick and flea infestations. The ingredients are: Seaweed, Fenugreek, Mint, Neem Leaves and Lemon Balm. Available at many stores online including https://www.theneemteam.co.uk/billy-no-mates.html
Assuming your IG and their living environment are flea-free, Lavender Oil is a good preventative treatment. Add a few drops of neat Lavender Oil to a spray bottle containing water. Shake and spray your dog’s bedding, and your home’s carpets and furnishings. Available online from a large number of sellers,make sure you buy pure Lavender Oil: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/miaroma-lavender-pure-essential-oil-60060115
Suphur 30c – A Natural Flea Infestation Treatment
If you are unlucky enough to be affected by a flea infestation, Sulphur 30c, a homoeopathic remedy can be used to eradicate them. Give one tablet daily by crushing between two teaspoons and tipping the powder onto the dogs tongue.
Available from many stores including on Amazon. Ainsworths are a trusted brand: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ainsworths-30C-Sulphur-Homoeopathic-Remedy/dp/B0067LSANU
With all of these options, there is no real need to treat an Italian Greyhound living in normal conditions with the strong, chemical spot-on treatments!