Dog Care 101 Tip #212: Holistic Flea and Tick Prevention
Many pet owners gravitate towards name-brand flea and tick treatments and we don’t blame them! While effective and endorsed by many veterinarians, there are comparable alternatives without the nasty chemicals commonly found in these spot-treatments. BestBullySticks encourages owners to go the holistic route and use all-natural flea and tick prevention products to deter fleas and ticks this coming season.
Dangers of Chemical-Based Treatments
Spot treatment “medications” contain a wide variety of pesticides — including but not limited to pyriproxyfen, methoprene, permethrin, fipronil and imidacloprid — and are directly linked to serious health effects in laboratory tests. In 2008 there were over 44,000 reported cases of adverse reactions to these types of treatments.
Since these are pesticides, their distribution and use is controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In a study conducted by the EPA, it was determined current guidelines and regulations used to determine toxicity for these medications were inadequate. Besides the toxic “active” ingredients listed, manufacturers are not required to disclose “inactive” ingredients leaving us in the dark about what we’re actually giving to our pets.
Because of the adverse reactions and questionable content of these treatments, BestBullySticks chooses to endorse holistic pet-care products. There are many ways pet owners can achieve the same results without having to turn to harsh unhealthy treatments. Let’s take a quick peek at these common pests and how we can prevent them!
Unfortunately there is no vaccination for fleas. However, outbreaks may be prevented by adopting proper hygiene regimens. Keeping your pet’s living quarters and your home clean helps reduce flea eggs by up to 50%. It’s as simple as dusting and vacuuming! Consider trying NaturVet’s No Flea Carpet Crystals — a great pesticide-free pet flea treatment option safe to use around pets!
Flea infestations only begin with itching — left unchecked, it may lead to broken skin, hair loss and even bald spots due to the extreme irritation. If symptoms are severe, contact your veterinarian immediately!
Ticks are another common pest for pets. Not only do these nasty critters cause discomfort and itching, they’re known carriers of Lyme disease.
Caused by a bacteria from the genus Borrelia, contracting Lyme disease is much easier between the months of May and August. These months are the high points of tick season. Here’s a list of early warning symptoms:
Difficulty walking or moving, joint inflammation
Swelling of the lymph nodes close to the tick bite
Lack of appetite and fever
Talk with your veterinarian to find out more about the prevention of this serious disease — there are even vaccines available. And as always, if you think your pet may have Lyme disease, contact your veterinarian right away!
While effective, conventional flea and tick treatment options are nonetheless toxic. Instead of taking the easy route and exposing your pet — as well as yourself — to something potentially hazardous, take the time to explore the holistic alternatives below:
“Parasite Dust” - Formulated from the neem tree and containing azadirachtin — a natural insecticidal and antifeedant — as well as other natural repellants, these products are applied along the backbone and combed through your pet’s coat. Parasite Dust is a great way to put the power of nature to work for you pet!
Flea Away for Dogs and Cats - Conveniently packed into chewable tablets, Flea Away is an all natural product that will help guard your pet from fleas and ticks. The combination of yeast and other essential nutrients make this product a great nutritional supplement in addition to it’s medicinal benefits!
Yeast & Garlic - These two natural ingredients are a great addition to your pet’s meals and will help curb flea problems. Yeast works by rendering your pet’s blood less palatable to fleas by ever so slightly increasing its acidity. Garlic is toxic to cats and should only be administered to dogs in small doses. Check out our recent post on The Truth About Garlic. If you are interested in using garlic and yeast as a preventative flea medication, be sure to contact your veterinarian first!
“Thump the Thymus” - According to psychologist Dr. John Diamond, the thymus — whose name is based on the Greek word “thymos” meaning “spiritedness” — is stimulated by being tapped effectively waking up T-cells and helping to boost your pet’s immune system and physical energy. Using your thumb and a couple of fingers, tap the area (located beneath the sternum and between the front legs) half a dozen times daily.
Whichever treatment option you choose, be sure and watch out for any abrupt changes in the behavior of your pet. Constant itching is a potential sign of fleas and potentially ticks. If you think your pet is suffering an allergic reaction, attempt to identify the source and promptly remove it to limit exposure.