Natural Ways to Battle Fleas & TicksPublished: April 24, 2009
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by Pam Uher
Animal Behavior Trainer/Educator
Tis the season for scratch, scratch --- lick, lick -- chew, chew --- as our pets begin to do battle with insects that seek new prey, as the weather warms.
Fleas and ticks are not only a nasty nuisance, but they can spread disease and infest animals with other parasites. They can transmit tapeworm, cause dermatitis, incite allergies and in serious cases may cause a dog to become anemic. Ticks can be extremely dangerous bugs that spread bacteria and infect a pet with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and canine Ehrlichchiosis.
I am asked every spring and summer: what are the best ways to prevent and rid dogs and cats of pesky fleas and ticks?
There are many choices of chemical flea and tick programs and remedies that work: Revolution, Advantage, Frontline, Defend and Biospot are all topical agents, plus we now have oral pills and liquid options with Program and Capstar. The issue with some of these flea and tick treatments is the chemicals used to fight the blood sucking insects, called PERMETHRIN. This chemical is being promoted as a new product, but it is just a very concentrated version (liquid drops) of the old flea sprays used before “spot-ons” became available.
Advantage does eliminate the fleas within 24 hours after application and is considered by some authorities as non-toxic to pets and humans, plus it may be used on puppies and kitties 8 weeks old and up. It may be less toxic, but it is still a chemical agent.
If you do not want to use questionable chemicals on your pets ~ what can you use? Here are some natural options which are eco-friendly methods to prevent and banish fleas and ticks from your pets and home this year. These practices take time, energy and persistence. They are effective [organic in many instances] lifestyle changing ways to protect your pets, family and home from nasty pests and insidious chemicals.
THE LIST OF NATURAL WAYS TO BATTLE FLEAS & TICKS
Essential oils, such as, eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender repels the little bugs. Soaking cotton balls and placing them around your yard and home will help send fleas running. Using eucalyptus leaves as decor around your house and inside cheesecloth bags placed in pet areas will help also.
Potted rosemary, sage, garlic and lavender plants inside and out definitely makes your home and yard smell good while naturally keeping fleas at bay.
Spreading Borax on your carpet and then vacuuming it up in a few days will kill them, also.
Apple cider vinegar diluted in a 1:3 solution may be used as a spray on carpets, pet bedding and pet crates to sanitize and repel fleas.
- Change your pet beds regularly and use cedar chips in the bedding and around pet pens. The chips provide great landscaping and can be put inside pet bedding.
- Using organic diatomaceous soil [usually used to filter pools] in your yard keeps all unwanted pests away.
- The Tansy plant has also been used indoors in pots and outside in pet areas to keep nasty fleas from attacking red blood prey.
- Garlic pills given to your dog in his food several times a week will make their blood not appealing to fleas and ticks.
A method my great-aunt used was highly effective with her old dogs when they got fleas. She would get out a large bowl of warm water and put a heat lamp on it, then place it on the floor in the room where the dogs were resting. In a few hours the bowl would be full of fleas, as they jumped from the dogs into the luring spa and drowned.
DO FLEA SHAMPOOS AND DIPS WORK? AND ARE THEY SAFE?
They work for awhile (usually 30 days) but they do have harsh chemicals in their composition. Flea dips can cause many dogs to have allergic reactions. Plus too many flea dips and harsh shampoo will dry out your pet’s skin and fur. The major objection many people have to special flea shampoos is Pyrethrum, which is a botanical derivative that can spawn extremely toxic allergic reactions such as asthma attacks, vomiting, skin rash and more. Here are 3 bath recipes we use to rid dogs of fleas:
Lavender & Rosemary Bath….3 drops of rosemary oil mixed
with 6 drops of lavender oil in 1 quart of warm water.
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
½ gallon boiling water
1 tablespoon vodka
pinch powdered nutmeg
15-20 drops lavender essential oil…..let this cool and use as a rinse at doggie bath time.
2. Lysol Flea Dip [usually used on big dogs] – 2 caps full of Lysol in a ½ gallon of water poured over the dog and make sure you get the paws and tail covered. Leave it on for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. And keep it out of their eyes, ears and mouth!
3. The Dawn Dish Soap Bath….did you know this is used by wildlife rescue groups to clean animals when oil spills have happened around the world? It will clean your pets and drive away fleas!
4. We also use real oatmeal and aloe vera shampoo bath soap -- And a natural orange peel shampoo works wonders.
It WILL change your lifestyle and habits when you choose to go “au natural” with your pet care products and pet health care maintenance program. Over the years taking time to use natural and organic products will enhance your pet’s life and yours too! In homes where people have made the switch and conscious effort to be ecologically green and use natural products, pets live longer and have less early on-set of debilitating illnesses.
more info contact Pam: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriel’s Guardians Pet Care
Rowlett ~ Rockwall ~ Royse City