The Norman Transcript

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March 7, 2007

Olive oil rubs fleas out

Dear Dr. Fox: One year, there was a flea infestation in our area. A friend told me if I rubbed my dog's coat and skin with olive oil, the fleas and itching would go away.

I tried it, and the constant itching and fleas disappeared as if by magic.

-- M.M., Clifton Park, N.Y.

Dear M.M.: Thanks for the very simple and surprising anti-flea treatment -- cheap and harmless, indeed. And, no doubt, the dog's coat had a nice shine.

Olives contain several botanical compounds that are beneficial to the skin, hair and immune system when ingested, and, like most plants, they may contain mild insect repellants that are harmless when ingested in moderate amounts.

It would seem that a mild solution of liquid dish soap and water, scented shampoo and Avon's 'Skin So Soft' really do repel fleas, and they are so much safer than the expensive flea-and-tick repelling pills, sprays, dips and drop-on drugs so widely marketed.

Anyone who advocates the routine use of these insecticidal drugs as flea prevention for indoor cats and dogs (especially in regions where there is a flea- and tick-free cold season) should have his or her head examined.

Dear Dr. Fox: We recently had to euthanize our 13-year-old male collie mix due to several severe health issues. We adopted him from the shelter when he was about 6 months old, and he was neutered at that time.

He was a very good pet/friend, with one big problem: He was quite territorial, and I think he could have been quite aggressive if he wasn't under my control.

This behavior occurred only at home. During walks, he loved everyone, especially children. He was fine at the local doggie park, too.

We went through a series of obedience classes (all helpful), and I spoke with a trainer periodically for guidance. If we decide to get another dog, how can we avoid this problem?

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