Are Dog Flea Collars Dangerous to Humans?

Are Dog Flea Collars Dangerous to Humans?

by Susan Leisure

Flea collars are dangerous for both 2-legged and 4-legged members of the family.

Fleas are pesky critters, and you want to keep them off of your dog. But some of the cheapest products — flea collars — may be dangerous for your dog and your family. In the end, a flea collar may do more harm that good.

Ingredients in Flea Collars

The pesticides in flea collars are from a group of chemicals called organophospates. These compounds are made by combining alcohol and phosporic acid. Organophospates form the basis of not only many pesticide and agricultural products, but also are the building blocks of nerve gas and other biological weapons. Flea collars rely on organophospates to compromise the central nervous system of fleas, but research has shown exposure to these ingredients is also dangerous to humans and pets. Research is so conclusive that France has banned the use of organophospates in flea collars.

Tetrachlorvinphos Risks

One of the most common ingredients in flea collars is tetrachlorvinphos. This pesticide affects the central nervous system in pets and humans. Children are especially susceptible, as their ability to rid their body of the chemicals is less efficient than that of adults. Tetrachlorvinphos is also listed as a potential carninogen for humans by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Propoxur Risks

Propoxur is the second common ingredient in flea collars that is extremely dangerous to humans. It causes neurological problems and is listed by the EPA as a known carcinogen. Based on its own research regarding the dangers of propoxur, the Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a petition to the EPA in 2011 asking for the approval of the use of propoxur in pet collars to be revoked.

Exposure Risks

Flea-collar manufacturers include warnings on the products to avoid exposure and to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the collars. Research has shown these measures are not enough to limit exposure. Studies have shown that, after just three days, residue from the collars on pet fur exceeded acceptable EPA exposure levels for children. Even after two weeks, 75 percent of pets still have unsafe levels of toxins. Propoxur can also contaminate indoor air quality, increasing risks even for household members who never touch the collar or pet.

Why Are Moose More Dangerous Than Bears?

Although moose aren’t more dangerous than bears in terms of behavior, they pose a greater threat of injuring you simply because of their population size. Moose outnumber bears nearly three to one in Alaska, wounding around five to 10 people in the state annually. That’s more than grizzly bear and black bear attacks combined [source: Smith]. A 2011 CBS news report said that more people are injured by moose than bears each year but rarely are people killed by moose attacks.

Despite the incidence rates, moose do not tend toward natural aggression. The largest species of the deer family, Alaskan moose are the biggest in the world. But their size betrays their generally passive demeanor. Feeding off plants and tree bark, these herbivores munch on willows, birches and grasses by the pound. During the barren winter, when moose can’t get their lips on these natural foods, Anchorage watches them turn to eating trash. March and April are the worst months because the winter food supply in the wild grows scarce and hungry moose lumber into the city in higher numbers.

So what’s the harm in a little garbage grazing? Like humans, moose often turn grumpy when hungry, and if there isn’t any food around when they come looking, they’re more likely to lash out at someone.

When Moose Attack

The number of moose attacks spikes in September and October during mating season and the early spring when mothers are protecting their young calves. However, moose often do not confront people unless they are provoked. For that reason, it’s important to not throw anything at moose and keep any dogs away from them. Moose especially dislike dogs because they run up and bark at them.

As mentioned earlier, feeding a moose can also make them more dangerous. When their stomach starts talking, and they instinctually return to a place where they were once given food, they may attack if the food isn’t there again. To lower the chance of food-related attacks, Alaska has made moose feeding a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Since the Alaskan moose population can exceed 175,000, you may run across one accidentally at a campsite, on a trail or even in your own backyard. Imagine a 1,500-pound (680-kilogram) brown mass galloping toward you as fast as an overgrown rabbit. Antlers 6 feet (1.8 meters) from end to end splay outward like a pair of bizarre antennae. When you see a bull, or male moose, charging at you, there’s only one thing to do – turn and run to avoid getting trampled. Duck and hide behind the nearest tree, building or car if you don’t have time to get inside [source: Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game].

Although moose can outrun humans at their top speeds, many times, they won’t chase you far if you run away from them. If you don’t get away fast enough, and a moose knocks you down, don’t struggle. Curl into the fetal position and cover your head with your arms. Trying to move or beat it off will only cause the moose to continue kicking and stomping you.

If you see one that isn’t approaching, your best bet is to avoid it and allow it to move out of your way. However, if you notice its hairs raised, head down and ears back, that’s your cue to hightail it in the opposite direction. And when a moose licks its lips that doesn’t mean it finds you attractive. That’s your signal to make tracks.

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Moose on the Roads of Alaska

A majority of moose-related injuries in Alaska take place on the roads. Their presence on Alaskan roads and highways contributes to about 500 moose accidents each year. This is the highest in North America. However, the odds of dying in a moose-related accident are one in 200,000 or one-half of 1 percent [source: Alaska Department of Transportation].

These accidents happen in spite of many efforts to keep moose off the Alaskan roads. Higher-traffic areas on the highways, for instance, have wire fences, moose underpasses beneath roads to allow for safe crossing and one-way moose gates to help maintain moose-free roads. But drivers and passengers aren’t the only ones suffering in these situations. About 120 moose die each year from car crashes in Anchorage alone, and nearly 800 in the state [source: Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game].

This situation is not unique to Alaska. Car crashes resulting from deer species, including moose, deer and elk, totaled 1.33 million in 2018, down from 1.34 million in 2017, according to State Farm statistics. The top state for deer collisions was West Virginia. In total, all animals accounted for 211 deaths in car collisions in the U.S. in 2017. The state with the most fatalities was not Alaska, but Texas, with 27 deaths [source: IIHS].

Last editorial update on Sep 18, 2019 01:45:13 pm.

Are Fleas Dangerous To Humans?

Fleas are a lot of things. Have you ever swung your legs out of bed only to have fleas appear out of nowhere and land on your ankles? Fleas are definitely sneaky. Have you ever been kept awake half the night because your dog kept scratching and thump, thump, thumping his leg against the wall? Fleas can be very annoying. Have you ever captured one in your hand and it either vanished before your eyes or simply refused to be crushed? Fleas can be hard to kill. Yes. Fleas are a lot of things. But are these tiny little bugs really dangerous to humans? Read on and decide for yourself.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, fleas are still a vector for the plague. Though it certainly is not as dangerous as it once was back in the Middle Ages, the black death, also commonly called the bubonic plague, is still lurking today. Even if you do not have pets, potentially, anyone could contract this disease which causes symptoms like fever, headache, chills, weakness and one or more swollen, tender, painful lymph nodes. The bacteria multiply in the lymph node closest to where the bacteria entered the body. If the person does not receive appropriate antibiotics, the bacteria can spread. While you’re not likely to die of the plague with modern advancements in medicine, you may wish you had.

Fleas also spread tungiasis. The burrowing flea, Tunga penetrans, is known to cause lesions, a white patch with a black spot in the center. But you don’t have to worry about this flea in our area, so we will gladly move on.

Fleas can carry typhus. Typhus can be spread, not only by fleas but also by mites, lice or ticks. When a person scratches a bite infected with typhus, the skin opens and allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Symptoms include a headache, fever, chills and a rash.

Fleas can carry spotted fever. This disease is also transmitted by ticks and the symptoms include a high fever, chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting and insomnia. After a few days of the initial onset of the fever, a red, non-itchy rash appears.

In pets, fleas can cause flea allergy dermatitis, tapeworms, hair loss and skin irritations. Also, if a pet has a large number of fleas, this can cause anemia, especially in puppies and kittens.

Fleas cause tapeworms. These usually only appear in pets, but they may appear in small children if fleas, or parts of fleas, are accidentally consumed.

If you came to this article to find out if fleas are dangerous, we hope you found your answer. But just in case you have other questions about fleas, we’d be happy to help you with that as well. People call all the time with pest questions, and some questions we get about fleas include: «What do fleas look like?» «How do we get them out of our home?» and «How soon can you be here?» If you are wondering about these things—or you have any questions at all about pests—reach out to us today. Fleas are a lot of things. But they don’t have to be in your home! Get help today when you call the pest experts here at Thomas Pest Services!

Harmful Side Effects of Frontline to Dogs & Humans

Frontline, a common flea preventative that disrupts flea neural receptors, is a suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor that can be toxic to the nervous system if ingested. It can also cause less serious side effects in dogs, such as irritation at the spot of application, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures. Because we interact so closely with our dogs, Frontline can cause similar problems in us.

Frontline Ingredients

The primary chemical in Frontline is fipronil, which is the chemical that disrupts insect neural receptors. Fipronil is a known carcinogen whose potency increases in sunlight — even though it is not as effective as disrupting mammalian neural receptors, it can be harmful to both dogs and humans, especially if ingested. Frontline also contains S-Methoprene, which is an insect growth regulator. It prevents insect exoskeletons from growing, halting the insects’ development. This chemical is not thought to be harmful to humans.

Side Effects for Dogs

Apply Frontline topically between the shoulder blades — never allow a dog to ingest it. Use an Elizabethan collar if necessary. If you keep the liquid confined to the area behind the neck and between the shoulder blades, the dog shouldn’t be able to get to it — but another pet could lick it nonetheless. If it is ingested, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Topically applied, Frontline sometimes causes irritation around the spot of application. Some dogs have experienced rashes, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures, but these side effects were typically caused by ingestion.

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7 Signs You’re Going to be Attacked by a Moose

While it’s true that moose typically aren’t aggressive towards people, if provoked, they can be deadly. Unlike deer (the moose’s close cousin), moose aren’t usually afraid of humans, so they won’t run away just because you’re there. Their lack of fear makes it more tempting to approach them—to pet them, feed them, play with them, etc. But like most other animals, moose will defend their young and their territory if they feel threatened. And even though they look slow and bored, they can run up to 30 mph, so you’re not likely to outrun a moose. If a moose attacks, they can use their hoofs and full body weight (they weigh up to 1200 pounds!) to knock you to the ground and trample you. Here are our tips for avoiding a moose attack while you enjoy the great outdoors.

Signs of an Attack

Practice Moose Safety

What to do if you’re attacked

September 19, 2018 at 23:45pm

I was knocked over by a cow moose while walking home on a frozen lake. She came out of the woods from a small island about 100 feet away at a fast trot, and headed straight at me. I had a rifle with me, but alas, I had dropped it earlier in the deep snow and when I tried to get a bullet into the chamber to defend myself against the moose (i.e. hopefully to fire a shot near her to cause her to veer away, because I didn’t want to have to kill her), it jammed. I tried to get the snow out of the way but couldn’t. I looked up and she rammed right into me, and knocked me down. I thought at first she was going to stomp me to death, but instead she just kept on going. I picked myself up and realized my two front teeth had been knocked back at a 45 degree angle, but otherwise I seemed OK.

It could have been much, much worse for me if she had collided with me with my head at a different angle. I might have had broken facial bones or severe concussion. (I hope she at least had a headache herself afterwards.)

Anyway, I made it home, got my teeth more or less back the way they were before (on the advice of a doctor I called), and next day my husband and I backtracked the moose, and found that there was a bit of blood in her tracks and that she had had a calf with her. It appeared that they reunited sometime after the attack on me.

So, I concluded that she had been previously attacked and bitten by wolves while defending her calf, and the fact that I and my dog had apparently spooked her even more while wandering around in the woods near where they had been, was the cause of her going after me – she was stressed and was defending her calf against what she perceived as another menace – namely, me.

I should mention that my little dog, who usually followed me closely, was at the time quite a distance away as I headed home, probably because she knew the moose was there and wanted to avoid it. Too bad I didn’t pick up on that …

I was pretty paranoid about walking on the lake after that, but I’ve lived in this remote location surrounded by wilderness and wilderness critters most of my life, so that wore off eventually. But the lesson I take from it is: always make sure the rifle is ready to go, and avoid areas with recent moose tracks, especially if there’s a cow and a calf around.

August 18, 2018 at 00:40am

Your article taught many moose hunters about moose behavior. These are life-saving tips for hunters.Very useful and good tips!

August 17, 2018 at 07:29am

When I was driving across the land bridge between the lake in Bridgton Maine. Right beside me and keeping pace with my car was a moose. To get away from the moose, I stepped on the accelerator fast speed ahead. I looked back and saw him slowing down and running the other way. He looked confused. It reminded me of the way a dog will chase a car sometimes.

I just wanted to let people know that moose will chase cars. Stay safe everyone.

January 28, 2017 at 08:12am

I was hiking on Isle Royale when a moose charged me from out of the woods. I turned around & ran as fast as I could. The moose backed off. A short time later I came across 2 moose – a bull & a cow – eating on a swamp. The bull had an enormous rack. My adrenaline was really high!

July 28, 2014 at 08:44am

That’s crazy! I can’t believe the delivery guy tried to shoo a moose. Good thing you stayed inside your vehicle (but too bad it got confused and came after you). So, after seeing this incident, what other moose safety tips would you give to those who encounter a moose?

July 28, 2014 at 00:57am

I was driving up a canyon in winter and a moose appeared right in from of me. I stopped, waiting for it to move out of the way, when a delivery truck driver came down the canyon, stopped, got out of his truck, and tried to «shoo» the moose off the road. I wish I had video of the terrified driver running back to his truck! Unfortunately, the now-agitated moose ran toward my vehicle, then attacked the brand new red Volkswagon Jetta, severely denting it and terrifying the two women inside!

June 09, 2014 at 12:04pm

Mr. Ed,
Great tip to always be ready with your method of defense at the ready when out in the wild. Thanks for sharing your story!

June 06, 2014 at 22:27pm

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Answer to Angela: Willowa’s post already includes the best advice for repelling attacks from those with 4 legs – or 2 – always be armed. Also, notice that her (or his) story didn’t include fumbling for the Ruger at the last second; it was in hand and ready. I had an encounter on the Appalachian Trail with a black bear momma rushing to defend yearling cubs – and gnashing her teeth, a sign of extreme anger or agitation. I talked to her to identify myself as human while I hiked at a brisk pace – not a panicked run – away from them … with my Taurus .40 in my right hand (and bear spray in my left). She followed me behind a screen of bushes (never saw her) until the trail took me straight away from the young ones, but never charged. My reasoning for staying on the trail instead of bushwacking a wider circle around them was that the trail made me quieter, not panicked-sounding, and I was less likely to flounder since the trail was well-packed.

June 06, 2014 at 12:08pm

Hi Willowa,
I agree—wild animals are unpredictable for sure. They terrify me, haha. You’re story is crazy! I’m glad you made it through to tell us. So, having gone through an actual moose attack, what other advice would you give to people about surviving an attack?

June 06, 2014 at 16:51pm

Except in the fall for bulls (rut, or mating season) the cow moose tend to be the more dangerous, in the sense that they will often attack for no reason! The one time I was attacked by a cow (outside of Anchorage, AK), there was no reason at all. I spotted her on the trail 60-70 yds away, I backed up a hill 30-40 yds to get well away from the trail she was using and stood quietly by a small group of trees (none with branches low enough to climb unfortunately). When she got even with me, down the hill on the trail, she wheeled around and charged straight up the hill at me. The steepness of the hill helped, because it took me a moment to realizes she was serious. I am always armed, I had a short bbled (Ruger SP101) .357 mag, when she was about 10 yds away, I fired into the ground between us (the ground reflects the sound) she stopped and shook her head, you could tell the noise hurt her ears. She still wouldn’t leave! She took a step towards me, and I fired again, she stopped, shook her head and it took one more shot (I was saving the last rounds for ‘the real deal’ if needed) before she finally took off. Very fortunate, and very surprising, though perhaps it shouldn’t have been, wild animals are unpredictable.

Are Wolves Dangerous to People?

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Wolves make great villains. They have threatened fictional characters from Little Red Riding Hood to the Three Little Pigs. In actuality, as humans have persecuted wolves for centuries, most wolves fear humans and avoid encounters. Wolves are undoubtedly capable of killing humans, but statistically speaking, the threat is negligible.

Wolf Basics

Wolves are currently restricted to parts of Canada and the northern United States, but they historically inhabited most of North America. Scientists recognize two species — gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus) — however, some contend that red wolves are hybrids between gray wolves and coyotes (Canis latrans). Wolves form packs that usually contain less than 10 members, but some exceptional packs have more than 30 individuals. Wolves demonstrate social hierarchies within their packs; the alpha male and alpha female lead the pack, and are the only two individuals that mate.

Apex Predators

Wolves are apex predators that — thanks to their pack hunting tactics — can take down any animal native to North America. However, wolves occasionally supplement their diet with small animals that they catch on their own. Important prey species for wolves include white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus elaphaus) and bison (Bison bison).

Prevalence of Attacks

It is difficult to verify many reported cases of wolf attacks, and many reports are exaggerated or fabrications — no central database catalogs wolf attacks. However, in 2002, 18 scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research analyzed an enormous amount of data regarding wolf attacks worldwide. The researchers found that most wolf attacks were the initiated by rabid wolves, and as the prevalence of rabies has dropped, the incidence of wolf attacks has gone down markedly. The other two types of encounters were predatory attacks and attacks in which humans provoked the wolves. In “A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada,” author Mark E. McNay analyzed 80 encounters reported between 1942 and 2002. McNay found that nonrabid, unprovoked wolves accounted for less than one-third of the encounters between wolves and humans. Though some people — mostly small children — have been injured during predatory attacks, there are no reliable accounts of human deaths resulting from predatory attacks in North America, during the 20th century.

Avoiding Problems

The best way to reduce the likelihood of wolf-induced injury is to avoid encountering one. In general, wolves avoid humans — particularly large groups of humans — so always travel with companions when walking in wolf territory. Make plenty of noise when walking through the forest to alert wolves to your presence and give them plenty of time to move off. Keep pets close, as wolves sometimes react aggressively to dogs and other animals. Never feed wolves or leave food out at night when camping in their territory.

Surviving a Wolf Attack

If you encounter a wolf, do not turn your back on it and do not run. Instead, stand your ground and try to look big and intimidating. Open your jacket, raise a backpack over your head, or wave sticks, while yelling and slowly backing away. Do not look the wolf directly in the eye, or show your teeth to the animal — wolves may interpret either action as a threat. Wolves cannot climb trees, so ascending a tree is a good last resort, though the wolf may simply wait for you to come down.

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