Pesky Pests and Parasites

Pesky Pests and Parasites

Ditch the Chemicals, Become a Flea-Fighting Ninja!

Tired of harsh flea and tick meds? Learn how to keep your pet safe with natural solutions! This week’s post helps you to:
  • Spot the dangers of chemical treatments: Skip the side effects and environmental damage.
  • Prevent infestations naturally: Regular checks, grooming, and natural repellents like essential oils and amber collars are your secret weapons.
  • Treat fleas and ticks naturally: Diatomaceous earth, natural flea shampoos, and even strategic planting can help!
  • Bonus: Learn how to remove ticks safely and discover a secret weapon against flea infestations (hint: it's in your kitchen press!).

This spring, go natural and keep your pet itch-free!

Ditch the Danger Zone: The Problem with Chemical Treatments

Those store-bought flea and tick meds? They might be more trouble than they're worth. They can cause yucky side effects and only zap fleas and ticks for a short while.

If it’s not safe for our children, how can it be safe for our pets?

So what can you do to protect your pet? Avoid chemical applications wherever possible.

Many of these prescription or over the counter products now come with warning labels highlighting the risks associated with the products. They all use Isoxazoline compounds which have been linked to adverse reactions such as muscle tremors, ataxia, seizures and even death. They work by using chemicals to initiate the death of the flea or tick.

In one study, 66% of owners reported adverse reactions to using these products on pets¹. This includes Bravecto®, Nexgard®, Simparica®, Simparica Trio®, Credelio® and Revolution Plus®, Frontline, Fipronil, Advantix.

You also need to be very wary of other options, such as Seresto collars (which I think are being removed from sale), which state “keep these away from children”. If it’s not safe for our children, how can it be safe for our pets?

(Not to mention the damage done to the environment from all these chemicals!)

Remember: You should only treat aggressively for these pests if your pet actually has them! Many of these chemicals are touted as preventions, but they only last up to 24 hours in your pets body so are not really doing anything that removing an existing parasite burden if your animal has them. [This applies to worms too!]

Prevention is Key

Putting in place good practice for checking and grooming, and using natural deterrents can make all the difference.

Regularly check your dog for both fleas and ticks, all year round – during tick season using a microfibre cloth can be a really handy way of finding the tiny nymphs as they stick to the cloth! Make sure to double check those warm, snuggly areas like under armpits and behind ears!

Use natural, preventative solutions which make your dog unattractive to these creatures, and build up their immune systems. Healthy animals are less attractive to both fleas and ticks. You can use dietary supplements to help, such as our Ticked Off, or can include topical treatments, such as our Don’t Bug Me.

You can also use natural repellents: Simple sprays using essential oils such as cedarwood, lavender, geranium, peppermint, juniper or neem. Always remember with these however, to apply to either a bandana or the outside of their collar, not the dog. These oils are very potent and can irritate the skin. They should only be used when out walking, as otherwise your dog will be constantly inhaling them too and cannot escape it.

Geraniol is the only safe essential oil for repelling ticks that can be used with all pets (still needs to be highly diluted).

Amber collars can help, although their overall effectiveness is not entirely proven.

Avoid walking your dogs in high risk areas if at all possible – this includes wooded areas with deer, fields that have had sheep in. You still need to be alert however even if you do not walk in these areas, as the wind can carry the very tiny new born nymphs anywhere!

Keep your own garden grass short. Ticks in particular are very opportunistic and like to hang out on long grass waiting for their next warm body.

Get growing! “Pyrethrins” are natural parasite repelling compounds found in certain types of flowers, like chrysanthemums, tansy, geraniums that can kill and repel fleas, ticks, and other parasites; so get planting!

Treat Naturally

If your dog does pick up fleas or ticks, there are a number of natural treatment options for both your pet and your environment. It is important to note that the number of fleas on your animal represents only 5% of their total population; only 10% of the life cycle of a flea is spent on the host; and it takes at least 3 months to get rid of fleas due to their life cycle.

Hoover, hoover, hoover and then some more. Every day for at least a week, and then every other day for the rest of the 3 months.

If possible wash all pet bedding regularly in hot water.

Diatomaceous earth can be bought very cheaply and can be used on both your pet and your floors to help kill these critters. It is not safe for your pet to ingest however.

If you find a tick, remove it using a tick tool – we do like the Tom o Tick Twister tool, so very easy to use and effective at getting the entire tick out.

Give your dog a bath with either a DIY anti flea rinse, or a natural flea and tick control shampoo.

Apply our Don’t Bug Me topically. We have had owners going back into pet stores with tubs of dead fleas to show just how effective this product is! How nice…

Ledum homeopathic remedy can be given to help prevent disease and treat any infection

200 C q 4-8 weeks as a preventative: decrease in ticks

Ledum (C200 or 1M) TID for 3 days to treat disease

Coconut oil applied topically can also help to speed up getting rid of flea infestations, due to the ingredient lauric acid. However, monitor your pet using this method as again it can be a bit hit and miss.

Chemical Treatment

If your pet does pick up fleas or ticks, and has a persistent, proven parasite burden, you may still need to resort to using a chemical treatment. In these situations, support your pet pre and post application by building up their own immune system response and provide them with a simple detox process for the week after. This will help their liver and kidneys remove the pharma residues and toxins from their bodies.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch!

Source: Valier Palmieri, W. Jean Dodds, Judy Morgan, et al. Survey of canine use and safety of isoxazoline arasiticides. (2020). Veterinary Medicine and Science, 6(4), 933-945