Spring is here and so are fleas and ticks. Protecting your pet naturally from fleas and ticks is not only possible but also very important.
Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pets and fleas are also the source of a much more serious problem, Bartonella (Cat Scratch Disease). Bartonella can cause serious illness no only in cats but it can also affect dogs and you and your family. Bartonella can cause oral diseases, respiratory diseases, eye problems, intestinal diseases, and many other things. If you’d like more information on Bartonella the National Veterinary Laboratory has the best information. If you would like to have your cat or dog tested give us a call at Marmalade & Mobile Vet (856-375-1314) and we can schedule an appointment for an examination and testing.
Ticks can also transmit serious diseases to cats and dogs. Lyme disease is the best known tick-borne disease here in the northeast USA but there are many other diseases that are caused by ticks. Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis (carried by the deer tick) most commonly cause dogs to develop lameness, fevers, anorexia, and lethargy. The lone star tick and dog ticks carry diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, and Babesia that can affect your dog’s platelets and red blood cells causing problems including anemia and abnormal bleeding. If you’d like more information about ticks, tick identification ,and tick-borne diseases Scalibor has a nice interactive website.
There are so many natural flea and tick preventions out there in the market and I can’t personally comment on the ones I haven’t used. The products that I’m mentioning here in this post are only the ones that I have personally used and found to be effective. If anybody has a product that they love that I didn’t mention please feel free to post in in the comments section.
Cedar Oil from the Cedar Oil Store is the main product that I use for my dogs when it comes to tick control. My experience has been that fleas are much easier to prevent than ticks and my best success with tick control has been with cedar oil. I live in what I call “tick central” because I have a lot of tress, shrubs, wild grasses, a stream, etc … . This is what I do to in the war against ticks. Once a week during peak tick season (spring and fall) I mix up a solution that I make from the Nature’s Defender Vet’s Choice concentrate (2 oz. of concentrate to a gallon of water) and “dip” my dogs. I sponge it over my dog’s entire body, being careful to avoid the eyes. This dip procedure helps to repel the ticks for up to a week and it can be especially useful for dogs that have a long coat and are difficult to spray. For my daily regimen I use the Dr. Ben’s Paws & Claws treatment or the AromaDog Flea Flicker to kill any ticks that might have made it past my “dip” procedure. If you don’t live in a high tick area you might be able to skip the “dip” step and only use the once a day sprays. The AromaDog Flea Flicker is an awesome product, especially for small short haired dogs. I also really like Buck mountain’s Herbal Gold Parasite Dust. The parasite dust uses Neem and diatom flour which can be sprinkled on your pet’s back and combed in against the grain of the fur. The only reason I don’t use Flea Flicker or Parasite Dust as my primary products is because I have 4 mastiffs and 1 Chihuahua so the large spray bottle for the cedar oil is more convenient.
For cats there are two products that I recommend. The first is the Ectopamine spot on which is convenient because it lasts for 3-4 weeks (the Ectopamine also comes in a spray that can be used for dogs). The other product I like is AromaCat’s Scat! No Fleas Please.
One of the most important things to remember with any parasite control program is that a high quality diet is very important. When you feed your pet with high quality ingredients they will be healthier and less attractive to parasites like fleas and ticks. Foods that are rich in B-vitamins like sea vegetables help to make your pet less likely to pick up parasites. Small amounts of garlic (I don’t recommend using garlic for cats as their red blood cells are much more sensitive to potential toxicity) in the diet can also help to deter fleas and ticks. The two supplements that I love for adding into my pet’s food are Animal Essential’s Green Alternative and Wholistic Pet’s Wholistic Sea Blend with Garlic. Never feed a food that has by-products, artificial preservatives, food colorings, animal digest, propylene glycol, or grains that aren’t whole grains. Home prepared diets are a wonderful option. You can use the recipes in a book like Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats or if you are short on time you can have somebody like Loreen at the K-9 Pet Chef cook for you. And if you feed kibble, support a local natural pet food store like Daminger’s Natural Pet Foods.
peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~