Most of us are conscious these days of the long term effects of chemicals on the body. Now geneticists are finding out that chemicals can affect the DNA of the yet to be born, as well as those of us who have been exposed. You would be silly not to be concerned with what is being sprayed around the house. Have you ever considered the effects on humans as well as pets of the flea treatments that we put on the necks of our dogs. I don’t know about you, but my dogs cuddle up to myself and my family. They get on the furniture as they share our lives. Chemicals on the dogs coat are bound to be transferred to myself, family and my home environment.
Over the past year or so we’ve been pondering the dilemma, fleas can be a huge problem for our pets. Our dogs can carry them which will make them scratch , give them skin rashes, and make life uncomfortable for them. They can be carried into the house, Fleas can lay eggs in the carpet and floorings and erupt at hatching time to cause problems for the pet owners as well.
Here are some tips that might help:
Fleas in the house and in animals bedding.
It’s a catch 22. If a situation calls for the use of chemicals, it really should be as an absolute last resort. In these circumstances the chemicals used should be as natural as possible.
Vacuming and cleaning are very good deterrents and quite often this is all you need to do to keep them at bay, however when a house is empty for several weeks, i.e when you are on vacation somewhere, fleas can multiply and lay thousands of eggs , which will stay dormant till vibrations caused by the footsteps of the returning family cause a mass hatching.
To kill fleas in the house use diatomaceous earth. Wikipedia Article To quote from the article “Diatomite is also used as an insecticide, due to its physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick’s law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat slugs. However, since slugs inhabit humid environments, efficacy is very low. It is sometimes mixed with an attractant or other additives to increase its effectiveness. Medical-grade diatomite is sometimes used to de-worm both animals and humans. It is most commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and eventually eliminate a cockroach infestation. This material has wide application for insect control in grain storage”
Another product that can be used is powdered borax.
For wood floors that will resist a little oil, first wash the floor with hot water with a little “dollop” of kerosene. This will help get rid of some of the fleas, then vacum and if needed use the diatomaceous earth or borax after that.
On the dogs.
Diatomaceous earth. can be used on the dogs as well, make sure you are using a mask or something to filter dust. It is not as if the product is dangerous, however it may not be the best thing to breathe in.
There are lots of natural shampoos and preparations that kill fleas. Be careful to get a product that does not strip out the natural oils and is not harsh on the dogs skin. We have developed our own soap and dry coat spray, both of which are completely natural and handmade, for use on our own dogs…one of which has very sensitive skin having suffered from many allergies. See our All Natural Soap and Coat Care Spray
This is the biggest factor in flea control.
You can’t fix a dogs diet to stop fleas overnight, however if the dog has fleas now, you can see results in 45 days and the results will improve over time. Unfortunately not all of the people reading this will adopt it as it involves a little more work and a bit of a change in thinking about what you are putting into the dogs body.
This posts length prevents a really serious in depth look at the diet, however I will mention some basics to get you going. If you would like more information on any particular topic, and you contact me, I will look at the subject for a follow up article.
Brewers Yeast and Garlic.
These products, added to the diet will help keep fleas away. There is a view that because garlic is a member of the onion family, it is potentially dangerous to dogs. Members of the onion family contain a chemical called allum, which can cause anemia. It is unlikely that garlic given in small amounts will cause this problem. In my opinion, the advantages of feeding a small amount of garlic far outweigh a small risk of anemia.
Diatomaceous Earth in the diet.
Mixed with food: 1 tablespoon per day for dogs over 25kg , 1 teaspoon per day for small dogs and puppies. Rub powder at full strength into the coat for fleas and sprinkle on bedding.
Raw Food Diet.
We have been feeding a raw diet to our dogs for a few years now and would never contemplate feeding kibble again. We started because we had a very sick puppy that had severe allergies. The raw diet helped with the problems associated with the allergies (again in my opinion) but the real benefit came from not feeding all the chemicals that were in the kibble. (a very expensive one). People often say to me that the dried food is all natural, well if it is all natural how come it never deteriorates and will last virtually forever on the shelf. Natural or not there is way too much filler!
Raw diets come in many varieties.
We follow an adaptation of the BARF diet. which comprises a basis of raw meaty bones and a variety of muscle meat, offal, pulped vegetables fruit, yogurt eggs and a few supplements such as brewers yeast and kelp powder.
Other people have had success with feeding a completely carnivorous diet.
What has all this to do with fleas?
A dog that has eliminated grains from the diet and is being fed a natural diet will have a much higher resistance to internal and external parasites such as worms and fleas.
I have spent a fair bit of time trying to find out if it is true that wolves do not get fleas and ticks. From everything I have read. I believe that they have a higher resistance but are not immune.
To summarise, flea and parasite control is a multi-prong attack involving treatment of the environment and changing the diet.
What do I do? We live in a flea prone area. We get a lot of inquiries in how to eradicate the problem. We do not have a problem here at home. We rarely see a flea. All we do is keep the environment as clean as possible, feed an exclusively raw diet, eliminate grains, and add garlic and brewers yeast.
Remember: Fleas are most prevalent in summer but are around all year. Don’t drop the routine in winter. In fact If you are expecting a big flea season, you need to supplement for about a month prior as it takes this long before any real effects can be detected.
I hope this article was of interest. I would appreciate the feedback in the comment area of this post.