I don’t think there is an area in a dog’s life that takes so much attention as flea control.
These tough, little, relentless survivors called fleas will actually even eat each other when your dog or cat is not around. Fleas actually spend most of their time in their surroundings and not on the actual host (in places like your carpets, covers and any hidden crack). This is why just treating your dog (or cat) will never work. In the battle against fleas, you will need an all out attack by treating your surrounding environment as well. This can become a hard and long fight.
“Have you ever wondered why some dogs and cats have severe flea problems, while others are hardly bothered by the little pests? Fleas can be viewed as an indicator of an animal’s general health. Parasites in general, and fleas in particular, are most attracted to the weak, unhealthy, or very young animal whose immune system is not functioning well. The long-term solution to a flea problem is to reduce your pet’s susceptibility to fleas by improving his/her health.” Jeffrey Levy, DVM
People that have dogs with fleas, skin problems, allergies, stomach problems and behavioral problems spend hundreds of dollars at the vet on so called flea prevention, antibiotics, steroids, tranquilizers, and other medications. These chemical medications and antibiotics take a serious toll on the internal organs and immune systems of our pets. It becomes a never-ending circle of medication and sickness. Flea infestations, skin problems and allergies are most often, symptoms of nutritional deficiency and toxic overload.
Yes, I know, we are all bombarded almost daily with advertising to prevent fleas with toxic, lethal chemicals of all types and strengths for all sizes and breeds of pets. You most likely have used some of these chemicals that your vet has prescribed and sold to you. Are you one of those who have seen your dog go into an epileptic seizure almost immediately upon administering one of these lethal chemicals sold to the unsuspecting public to “protect” their cherished little furry companion? There are some breeds that have been killed when administered these chemical products.
You may be trying to use less of these chemicals but you are upset because your little pal’s health has taken a turn for the worse. You aren’t sure why, but you know it all began when a foreign material was applied or added to your dog’s body. It could have been a vaccination or a chemical to kill worms, ticks, fleas or protozoa. Let’s think about this, any time a foreign material is put into or on your dog’s (or cat’s or even our human body) body, there will be some kind of reaction. Most of the time the reaction happens internally and you will not even be aware of how detrimental this foreign substance really is. Just imagine how extremely toxic and lethal a chemical has to be if it is administered only once a month or once a season.
Did you know that your dog’s liver and kidneys are adversely affected by the use of flea collars, chemical de-wormers, and even heartworm drugs? These toxic chemicals, sooner or later, result in renal failure (kidney failure) and liver damage to the point of the liver becoming unable to filter the blood and then complete liver failure. Contaminated blood circulating throughout the body day after day will most definitely contribute to other more complicated health issues, such as diabetes and arthritis to name two of the most common long-term side effects.
Did you know that these toxic drugs cause severe skin rashes, loss of hair, epileptic seizures and even brain damage? The list of adverse side effects amazingly goes on and on. Still, unknowingly, people continue to use these drugs because they don’t know there is a better, simpler, less expensive, safer way.
There are safe effective alternatives!
The great thing is that you can do it without chemicals! You can do it in natural ways the Creator has provided.
Again, flea problems do not stem from the presence of fleas, but from health related and environmental circumstances which enable to fleas to thrive and reproduce. They are opportunists, preying on the weak and unhealthy. Dry flaky skin, constant shedding and a general susceptibility in the pet’s immune system provides the perfect environment.
“Good nutrition can prevent disease. Good nutrition can cure disease.”
A groundswell of nutrition conscious veterinarians are beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their animals diet with a daily dose of flaxseed oil, probiotcs and other nutrients for optimum health and vitality. The food your little companion eats should provide all of the nutritional components necessary for all the organs and systems of a healthy body to perform in harmonious unison. A properly functioning body does an amazing job at preventing disease and healing itself, and to do this, it requires the energies and nutrients of a well-balanced diet. In terms of finding the proper diet for our companions, this means learning to look beyond our own needs, opinions, and agendas to address the natural needs of the animals whose care we are responsible for. Richard J. Holliday, DVM
Is your dog unhealthy, suffering from poor circulation, poor digestion, over-vaccination or food allergies? If so, his ability to deal with and fight off fleas is greatly decreased. A healthy animal fed a whole food, well-balanced diet and has a strong immune system will not be bothered by these pests. This is why the first thing I always recommend is switching to a home cooked or raw diet. Providing a well balanced, un-processed diet and proper supplementation will do wonders to help your dog avoid future flea infestations as well as many other health related problems.
Probiotics and digestive enzymes are highly recommended for flea sufferers. You see, by assisting the transport of nutrients through the body and aiding in the breakdown and removal of waste products, probiotics and digestive-enzymes keep the immune system strong and help alleviate the food-allergy problems brought on by commercially fed diets.
Garlic does wonders to fight fleas. Not due to the smell, contrary to some peoples opinion. It supports the immune system, skin and liver. Just a pinch of fresh pressed or finely chopped is fine, do not give in excess.
Apple cider vinegar added to your pet’s water can also help as do B-complex vitamins, trace minerals and zinc.
Burdock root, dandelion root and red clover naturally eliminate waste from the body, which helps the immune system fight the fleas and their bites. A low-alcohol herbal tincture is best, squirted directly into your pet’s mouth or added to its water.
Transfer Factor, an all-natural substance that works by “teaching” the immune system to identify infectious agents that attack the body every day. Transfer factor provides “immune data” collected from the mother’s own immune system and then passed on to her baby. The mother transfers valuable immunity information to be used by the new life to assist in staving off infection and disease. These powerful immunity agents have been identified and are called transfer factors. To keep a body healthy, the immune system must do three very important things each time your body comes in contact with a pathogen: First it must first recognize the pathogen as a threat to the body; second, it must then attack and kill off the threat; and third, it must remember that pathogen so that your body can rid itself quickly of it the next time it is attacked.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) when sprinkled into your pet’s coat will kill fleas. DE is composed of finely ground Diatoms which are one celled microscopic algae whose walls consist of two parts and contain a mineral called silica. Under a very strong microscope, diatoms have very sharp edges. When a flea, ant, spider, etc. comes into contact with the remaining sharp edges of the diatoms, they lacerate the waxy exoskeleton of the bug and the powder absorbs the body fluids causing death by dehydration. Sprinkled into your dog’s food it contains many essential trace minerals and will kill internal parasites (intestinal worms) as well.
Essential Oils help repel fleas. Lemongrass, Cedar, Lavender, Peppermint, Pennyroyal, etc. can all be used with a carrier oil or mixed in a dark colored, spray bottle with spring water and applied directly to the pet’s coat. You can use pure aloe vera juice and try adding lavender and/or peppermint essential oils or fresh squeezed Lemon juice and spray or pour over the dog after a bath. You can put a couple of drops of these essential oils into your hands, rub together and just rub through the dog’s coat as well. (Please Note that you need to make sure you use only 100%, pure, therapeutic grade oils on your dogs)
CAUTION Essential Oils are not well tolerated by cats. Please only use 100% pure, grade A essential oils and only in very small amounts with the supervision of your holistic vet or aroma therapist.
For severe itching and inflamed or red spots from flea bites, licorice root or yucca in capsule form are both great given internally as an anti-inflammatory. A Calendula flower rinse, Rosemary or aloe juice will promote healing and help fight the itching.
Alright, with all that said, remember the flea spends 80% of his time in the surrounding environment, not on your dog.
You can treat floors, carpets and anywhere the pet sleeps by vacuuming every other day and disposing of the vacuum bag OUTSIDE. You can sprinkle DE or Boric Acid products into the carpet once a week. You can treat the area with products containing essential oils of juniper, cedar, eucalyptus, Canadian fleabane, lavender, lemongrass or citric oil. (Canadian fleabane and citrus oil contain high levels of d-Limonene, which kills fleas).
Outside you can apply nematodes to your lawn and garden and keep weeds mowed down low and keep your yard moist.
If you have any questions or would like to request a private consultation, please email the author.
Natural Pet Care Consultant/Educator