By Nadine Joli-Coeur
Our pets have been having a tough year. Many pets have already been suffering from allergies and now they are exposed to fleas and bugs that seem to be out of control. I’m not sure why. It could be that we did not have a hard freeze this winter or possibly the quantity of rain that we have had. Whatever the reason, you can proactively reduce the chance of fleas and ticks on your loveable pets.
Fleas and ticks are everywhere. Even if you have never had fleas in your yard, you are not immune. Fleas can appear at any time and when they find a host (your pet), they seem to spread like wild fire. If you do find a flea, you need to not only treat your pet, but you also need to flea proof your house and yard.
How can you prevent fleas from attacking your pet?
The number one way to minimize the severity of fleas on your pet is nutrition. All pets can get fleas, but a pet with a strong immune system will be less attractive to pests. The pet food industry is full of commercials and messaging that make us believe we are feeding our pets a healthy diet. Look beyond their claims. It is always good to do research. A couple of good independent websites you can look at to see how nutritious your pet’s food is include www.DogFoodAnalysis.com and www.DogFoodAdvisor.com. If you have a cat, the brands that rate high on these sites for dogs are likely to be high quality foods for cats as well. Ask lots of questions at your local pet store. For example, Natural Pawz will look up the ingredients in your current pet food so you can see for yourself if it is a good food. In addition to your pet’s diet, during flea season you can add the supplement Brewer’s Yeast, which will make your pet less inviting to pests.
Treating your Pet
Prevention is key. Look for a natural spray or shampoo that will not only ward off fleas, but also mosquitos (and ticks). Mosquito bites can spread heartworms from host to host. I like to use a natural pet spray on my pets and myself (as bug repellent), that way if a pet ingests it by rubbing against me or licks their fur, it is not a harmful chemical. (However, you still need to be careful and read the label.)
Some great solutions include:
- Ark Naturals – Neem Spray or Shampoo or their Flea and Tick Kicker that also wards off mosquitos.
- Natural Chemistry – Flea and Tick Shampoos, Conditioners, and Sprays.
- Another solution we have available now at some of our stores and is available as a special order in all stores is Wondercide. Similar to Natural Chemistry, Wondercide uses natural ingredients and is nontoxic. www.wondercide.com.
- All of these products are excellent and the sprays can be used on cats as well as dogs. They can also be used for bedding, carpets and outdoors.
Purchase a Flea Comb
The ultimate weapon in the battle with fleas is the flea comb. Removing and killing the adults (by drowning them in soapy water) can prevent a lot of future fleas being hatched.
Many of you know that at Natural Pawz we have always suggested that during summer months that you may need more than a spray or one of our natural solutions. In the past I have used a chemical treatment on my pets during the summer but have never carried that at Natural Pawz because it did not fit our mission. I am very happy to let everyone know that I finally found a natural flea and tick (and mosquito) solution that comes in a topical form or as a collar. The natural product line is called Alzoo and is new to Natural Pawz, but has been used in Europe for a long time. The solution contains geraniol, citronella oil and cinnamon oil. I have tested it for the last six months on my cats and dogs. My one dog that is allergic to everything did not have an adverse reaction to the product, and my cat didn’t mind it at all (Harold, the cat, is not a fan of any flea prevention products).
Treating your Home
Powders and Sprays
For killing fleas once they are on your pet, use a food-grade diatomaceous earth powder or natural flea spray in your home. Vacuuming and washing the hard floors often – daily during the height of flea season – is the least toxic way to control fleas. This will remove most of the adults, and some eggs and larvae. Vacuum some diatomaceous earth powder into the vacuum bag to kill any fleas in the bag or remove the bag and discard it in a sealed plastic bag after use.
Boric acid products work in a similar fashion to the diatomaceous earth by dehydrating the fleas. When applied correctly, they offer protection for up to a year or more as they remain deep in the carpet fibers.
Treating the Yard
Rake up any leaves and keep the grass cut. Watering can help drown the larvae as well. A majority of the fleas and larvae will be within 50 feet of your companion’s favorite spot to rest, so focus on those areas.
Even if you have never had an issue with flea, ticks or mosquitos, an ounce of prevention is key. For the month of April, Natural Pawz has many of our flea products on sale and look forward to helping you find the right solution for you and your fur friends.