Spring is in the air… and so are the fleas and ticks, oh boy! They are actually parasites that survive on other living creatures while depleting their nutrients. If you live in a warm climate, flea season is year round. Even in freezing conditions, they follow your pet into the warmth of your home. If the scratching keeps you up at night, imagine your pets torture. Prevention is key and there are many options, even homemade herbal treatments. We are comparing the different options.
As a groomer, when informing a client of a flea infestation on their pet, I would hear the utter shock in my clients voices. It is a major “first alarm alert” in the grooming shop anytime a dog or cat with fleas was being checked in. The pet is taken immediately to the tub for quick elimination so there is no chance of an infestation throughout the pet salon. Monthly extermination in pet grooming salons should be a must. Preventing fleas is much easier that treating a infestation. Its best to have different levels of protection, such as being proactive with their treatment as well as their environment.
So as it gets warmer, the flowers are blooming and the fleas and ticks are multiplying. There are 200 different species of fleas, the most common being the cat flea. The effects of exposure to these little pests can range from skin irritation and allergic reactions to Lyme Disease from ticks, which can cause lameness, joint swelling and kidney complications in dogs.
Nowadays, fleas and ticks are stronger than ever. The more affordable options such as topical shampoos, drops and dips are quickly becoming ineffective due to mutations in fleas and ticks. These methods can also be harmful to your pets skin and health since the main ingredients are harsh chemicals.
The following are two of the more common and more effective treatments opposed to topical treatments that are available…
Seresto Bayer Flea and Tick Collar, approximately $80 for 8 mo. – Pros: no prescription needed from your vet, easy and conveniently kills fleas, ticks and lice. Cons: less effective when exposed to water, so if your dog swims or gets groomed often, it should be removed and in some cases have resulted in skin irritation and hair loss.
Nexguard Chewables, approximately $70 for 3 mo. – Pros: 1 chew per month actively kills fleas and ticks, can be used on puppies over 8 weeks, very palatable and low incident of vomiting. Cons: a prescription is needed from your veterinarian, cannot be given to cats, has to be chewed and not swallowed whole, cannot be given to pregnant or lactating female dogs.
Personally, I have used Nexguard chewables in the past and found that it worked great for both my little guy and big guy. I chose it because my big lab swam almost everyday in the summertime and my veterinarian at the time did not require appointment.
My big Lab ultimately passed away from a stomach tumor that was not visible. One day, he started vomiting a black liquid and I took him to the vet immediately who informed me that the tumor had burst and was septic. It was completely unexpected, since earlier that day he was in the backyard running around and playing with his jolly ball. We will never know what exactly caused it, but I will be more careful choosing food and treatments with my future pets.
Now, as a more educated pet parent and being concerned with eliminating harsh pesticides and chemicals from my pets, I have researched different holistic herbal alternatives. Which is much less expensive AND can be used by the whole family.
For a quick topical solution we now use: Citronella, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, and neem which are all great essential oils for getting rid of fleas. Just add 10 to 20 drops to a spray bottle filled with water and spray on your pet’s coat, taking care to avoid their eyes.
For a preventative, internal solution: Our Doggone Green Superfood Blends contain Pumpkin seeds with the amino acid cucurbitin, which works to paralyze and eliminate parasites from our dogs digestive tract. Whats better than a natural remedy for parasites and worms!? You can also feed the seeds whole or grind them up and add to their food. Besides being safe for deworming, Pumpkin seeds also prove to be a quality protein, amino acids and many nutrients.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, nor a certified canine nutritionist. I am just a self educated concerned pet parent sharing my experiences and I want the best for my companions as well as yours.