Safe ways to keep fleas at bay this season

Spring is just around the corner and if you have pets who venture outdoors, it is time to start thinking about flea and tick prevention. Until recently, that meant purchasing a chemical flea/tick preventative from your veterinarian. But, just as the over-use of antibiotics has led to strains of bacteria that are resistant to many of the antibiotics in the medical arsenal, the persistent use of pesticides has created fleas that are immune to the effects of nearly every chemical (spot-on treatment) on the market. What can you do? Fortunately, there are many new, safer, natural alternatives.

Here are some steps that you can take to keep your pet and your home flea-free in the coming spring and summer months:

  • Add a garlic based supplement to your pet's food each day to change the odor and taste of your pet’s blood chemistry from sweet to bitter. This makes your pet’s skin less appealing to flying pests but the odor is mild enough to go undetected by people.

  • Add liquid herbal drops to your pet's food each day that are specifically designed to deter fleas and ticks.
  • There are many organic, herbal bug sprays on the market now. Just spritz your pet before heading out the door to repel bugs.

  • Natural flea collars made with essential oils such as citronella and cedarwood deter bugs and are a safe alternative to old-fashioned chemical collars.

  • Topical flea control drops made of essential oils are a safer alternative to the chemical treatments that contain toxins.

  • Flea and tick tags are chemical-free, safe and a good alternative for pets who are super-sensitive, even to natural essential oils. Simply attach them to your pet’s collar.

  • Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms that can be sprayed onto your lawn using a garden hose. They destroy flea larvae and other pests that live beneath the soil.

  • To head off a potential infestation before it starts, the daily use of a flea comb is essential. If you do find fleas on your pet, there are natural alternatives to eliminate them such as food grade diatomaceous earth and natural flea shampoos.

You can find most of the products mentioned above at your local holistic pet store. There are several in the area and they offer helpful advice on the use of their products. When using natural alternatives to chemical products, it may be most effective to combine several of the options listed above for maximum protection.

Flea-bite dermatitis is the most common allergy in dogs and cats. It can be very painful for your pet and difficult for you to determine the cause of your pet’s itchiness and other symptoms. If your pet is exhibiting signs of allergies, it is imperative to determine the cause. Otherwise, you will continue to treat the symptoms indefinitely and they will very likely intensify. 

To learn more about pet allergies, a FREE seminar will be offered at Unity Spiritual Center, 23855 Detroit Road, on April 10 from 6-7 p.m., titled “Allergies: 3 Common Mistakes Dog & Cat Owners Make That Can Lead to Itchy Skin, Dull Coat and Infections for their Pet.” The seminar is hosted by Beyond the Bag Pet Nutrition & Wellness, a local business based in Bay Village that offers nutrition and holistic education for pet parents. To register for the free seminar, email Walk-ins are welcome but space is not guaranteed. Registration is recommended.

Shiela Buchanan

Sheila Buchanan is a resident of Bay Village and co-founder of Beyond the Bag Pet Nutrition & Wellness. She lives with her two cats, two dogs, two childen and husband.

Sheila is also a certified Shamanic Reiki Practitioner and offers hands on treatments to both people and pets to help balance and promote healing on all levels.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:32 AM, 04.01.2014