Flippin’ fleas

Fleas make everyone itch, just saying the name makes you want to scratch.  However there is no reason a healthy dog should be treated with chemical flea treatment when they have no fleas!  We are led to believe that we are bad dog parents if we don’t get our worm and flea treatment done regularly.  But honestly, chemical flea treatments come with horrible side effects and the less dogs are treated with them the better.

Let’s consider for a moment what chemical flea treatment achieves.  Flea drops are designed to kill adult fleas; they are made from neuro-toxic insecticide which is potent enough to kill a flea on its first bite. What’s more, one small spot-on drop stays in the dog’s system for months. Reassuringly the accompanying paperwork tells us that the neuro-toxin only affects insects and can’t make passage to the brain – well that’s a start I guess!  There is a massive lack of research on the safety or otherwise of these flea treatments.  Most tests are short, run on a very limited number of dogs and conducted by the manufacturer themselves.

Let’s think for a moment. Would you put insecticide on your child to prevent them from possibly picking up nits?  Of course not.  So why routinely use insecticide for our dogs? 

 

So you have found a flea, what do you do?

Thankfully there are many natural ways of dealing with the problem that are safe for you and your dog.

  • Diatomaceous Earth is the crushed up remains of tiny sea creatures called diatoms.  The DE sucks all the water out of the flea or its egg, desiccating it.  You can use DE on your pet, by gently rubbing it in as you would do with talc; you can also use it on floors, beds, in fact anywhere your dog hangs out.  Leave it for a couple of days and then hoover.
  • Give your dog a bath.  Fleas hate water.  Always remember to start at the head and work down to avoid the fleas making a dash for higher ground.  No need for any fancy shampoos.  Fleas hate anything citrus.  Cook up a couple of oranges or grapefruit skins for 15 minutes and bathe.
  • Coconut oil.  Yes, plain coconut oil.  After combing the coat with a flea comb, massage in coconut oil, paying special attention to the armpits and the top and sides of the tail.  Coconut oil will suffocate the fleas and their eggs.
  • Flea traps.  These are available from Amazon here.  These little trays capture the fleas as they jump toward the light.

 

Ongoing prevention

  • Get into the habit of using a flea comb once a week.  Concentrate on the top of the tail and keep an eye out for any fleas, or flea debris (black specks that turn red if you pop them in water).
  • Add garlic to your dog’s food.  About ¼ of a clove should do the trick.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, add ½ a teaspoon to your dog’s food.
  • Make up an  Apple Cider Vinegar spray 50% ACV (organic unfiltered is best) and 50% water.  Spray regularly avoiding eyes and any cuts your dog may have.
  • Keep your dog’s immune system in tip top condition by feeding a raw food diet.  Healthy dogs rarely get fleas.   Good diet is the foundation to good health.
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