Pest Control for your pet –The Current Paradigm
Almost all pet owners are familiar with at least a few of the many chemical based pet pest control options available including various ingestible medications, topical preparations, injectible medications or some combination of the aforementioned. Most flea, tick, and / or heartworm preventatives, either for the pet itself or for its environment, whether purchased from your vet or your local pet supply store contain poisons, and even their correct use can result in allergies as well as neurological and chronic health problems that in the most serious cases can prove fatal. Another concern that arises is that certain preparations may be safe for your dog but may seriously sicken other pets that come into contact with a treated dog; cats, for example, can be sickened to the point of death if they ingest even the smallest amount of one of the most popular topical flea/tick preparations available for dogs whether they contact and ingest the poison directly from the dog or from any shared environment in which the dog leaves residual flea/tick control medication. With the myriad chemicals in our pets’ environment these days it’s not surprising that incidences of cancer, in particular, and numerous other diseases are affecting pets in increasingly larger numbers. It is precisely because harmful chemicals are found in most commercial flea and tick products that holistic veterinarians and natural pet professionals suggest using all natural pest prevention products. Not only are natural pest control methods effective they also result in healthier animals that are able to fend off parasites on their own and to fight off other ailments as well.
To prevent heartworm, for example, most veterinarians will recommend giving a daily or monthly pill, a topical application or an injection. Ironically the ‘preventative’ you are giving is the same medication used in the treatment of the disease, albeit at a lower dosage; when the medication is administered monthly the toxins may accumulate and increase the health risk to internal organs. Such treatments for heartworm are toxic to the body as they contain chemical insecticide. These toxins, even when from seemingly natural sources, affect the body and its organs and may result in illness. It is far better both to have a healthy pet whose body is naturally repellent to mosquitoes and that has an immune system strong enough to protect itself by killing off invasive bacteria, viruses and parasites even if bitten by an affected mosquito, and to use a natural repellent when necessary to minimize the likelihood of your pet being bitten by mosquitoes which are the primary vector by which animals are infected with heartworm. Moreover there are natural herbal anti-parasite preparations to help the animal combat internal parasites should the need arise.
Side effects listed for heartworm and flea preventative drugs include: vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and weakness. These treatments weaken your pet’s immune system, which recognizes the chemicals as poison and subsequently works to expel them from the body. The body works hard to eliminate the toxins and major organs like the liver, kidneys and skin are taxed and may even be injured thereby compromising the overall health of an animal by weakening the ability of an animal to fight off viral and bacterial diseases. The following table indicates the major chemical pest control agents are their associated toxicities.
Keeping your pet parasite free, whether it’s heartworms or other parasites, requires ensuring your pet’s overall health and wellness and that starts with a good quality pet food. If you haven’t read *The Truth About Pet Food” , please visit our website at www.creaturecomfort.ca to learn more about what goes into most commercial foods. You can’t keep parasites away when you’re feeding them “food” that’s made from corn (commonly used to replace meat as a protein), by-products, contaminated ingredients, rancid grease, chemical preservatives, and diseased tissue. A quality pet food biologically supports strong, healthy pets with proper nutrition contributing to healthy organ function, and a strong immune system which resists infection, illness and parasites and pests.
Flea Control and Heartworm protection are, perhaps, the 2 major pest control treatment regimens that most pet lovers will follow. As a consequence it is the toxic effect of these traditional treatments that affect most animals. The carrier of heartworms are mosquitoes. For dogs, and sometimes cats, mosquitoes can cause life-threatening problems because they transmit heartworms if they, themselves, are carrying . Heartworms are parasites that enter the bloodstream as larvae and migrate to the heart. Six months after reaching the heart the larvae turn into adults, and that’s when problems begin. Full-grown heartworms eventually fill the heart, blocking flow of blood to the lungs and doing damage to the heart. By the time you see symptoms, they’ve already done damage to the heart.
Mosquitoes still bite animals on heartworm pills. The key is to get the blood of the pet in a healthy enough condition that the mosquitoes won’t want it. Mosquitoes are a parasite. Herbs, oils and supplements that have anti-parasitic properties will repel and discourage not only mosquitoes, but fleas, ticks and internal parasites as well.
Herbs such as Black Walnut, Garlic, Sage Leaf, Fennel Seed, Papaya Leaf, and Wormwood are examples of what can be used to formulate an effective preventative and/or as part of a treatment program. Essential Oils used for natural repellency and prevention include Tea Tree Oil, Rosemary Oil, Sage Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Peppermint Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Citronella Oil, Pine Needle Oil & Neem.
Heartworm prevention requires a multi-faceted approach which includes not exposing your dog to mosquitoes as much as possible. This is one of the many reasons why we do not recommend leaving dogs outside full time – they have increased exposure and are thus at much higher risk. To provide as much protection as possible from mosquitoes, use cedar mulch in gardens or areas around your house that your dog will spend time when outdoors and make sure there is no standing water for the mosquitoes to breed. Prior to going outdoors and again upon returning after play or “business,” your dog can be misted with an essential oil spray. Nice and safe with no worries of toxic chemicals on the skin.
Our Herbal Preventative Program consists of these products:
Miracle Mist Natural Pest Repellant, available here, is one alternative option to use before venturing into the great outdoors. We also recommend Halo Herbal Dip for pets which can be used in shampoo, in a spray bottle, and also to saturate your pet’s collar/harness or bandana with for use as an herbal pest repellant worn all the time during high risk seasons.
Parasite Cleanse Much research has been done lately regarding parasites and how they affect health. This research lists many herbal products that have been shown to be helpful. NaturPet products help in the fight against parasites. This Cleanse routine is recommended as a 10-24 day cleanse twice per year, approx 6 months apart.
Naturpet Worm-Ex Used to remove intestinal parasites. It will help dislodge parasites from tissues and pass them out of the system. This is also a wonderful formula for fleas, lice and controlling fevers. Wormwood, Malefern, American wormseed, Fennel, Papaya, Sage. Dosage is for ten days. May be repeated every 2 months depending on the animals environment.
Naturpet Black Walnut Black Walnut is used as an astringent because it is rich in tannin, a toning substance. Black Walnut is famous for it’s cleansing properties and has been used for centuries to treat parasites. During the first week of each month [for 7 days]: Black Walnut Extract sprinkled over food, daily or given orally.
Ingredients: Black Walnut Hulls (Green Hulls) (Juglans nigra) 1000 mg Other Ingredients: Magnesium stearate (vegetable), silicon dioxide (powdered silica), kosher gelatin, and water.
Lax-Ex: (Gentle Laxative) Effective laxative for relief of constipation, for use as a hairball remedy, or to assist with parasite cleanse routines. Gently stimulates muscles in the digestive tract without griping or discomfort. Composition: Licorice root, Cascara, Oregon grape, Ginger, Raspberry leaves, Lobelia, Turkey rhubarb.
During the first week of each month [for 7 days]: Black Walnut Extract sprinkled over food, daily or given orally
Another thing to consider is if you are in a climate area that has a winter and a period of time where there are no mosquitoes. Vets generally now tell you to use heartworm medication ALL YEAR LONG-something we strongly disagree with. Though pest repellants are not necessary in winter months, we do recommend the Parasite Cleanse program twice per year to keep pets healthy and free of internal parasites. Please use wisdom and common sense in deciding whether the natural approach is for you and your pet family. Since the herbal way is less expensive than the drugs, this also allows more financial freedom to choose to make the investment to have your dog tested annually as well.
Remember: An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure and saves you money as well.
Did you know……. Titre Testing is a simple blood test that we highly recommend IN PLACE OF immunizations to verify your pet’s immunity levels. Why inject them with unnecessary immunizations that may be harmful and often are unnecessary.
Have you heard of Diatomaceous Earth?
There is a simple, safe, natural, effective and inexpensive choice that controls insects by physical, not chemical, means. It’s non-toxic, it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t cause cancer, and it’s available at health food stores and various hardware or co-op type stores as well. This miracle substance is called diatomaceous earth. The reason it’s not widely known is unfortunately quite a usual one: though it can solve a ton of problems, it’s not going to make anybody any money.
Diatomaceous earth is a fine white powder, made from the ground up fossilized remains of diatoms, a kind of sea algae. The edges of each grain of powder are so sharp that they make tiny cuts in the hard exoskeleton of any insect upon contact, causing the insect to dehydrate and die within a matter of hours. Since the action is physical, insects don’t build up a resistance.
For fleas on pets pour some of the powder into your hands and rub it all over your dog or cat or gerbil or even birds (it works great for those microscopic red mites that attack the legs of pet birds). Some of the powder will fall off where the animal sleeps, killing fleas in the bedding. You might want to repeat this a few times, two or three days apart, until all fleas are gone. And again in a few weeks in case new eggs have hatched that survived the original powdering.
For bedbugs, dust the bed frame and the mattress, under the bed and around the bed, including cracks in the floor and where the wall meets the floor. You can also dust the carpet and vacuum it all up a few days later when the job is done.
For cockroaches in the kitchen, dust the floor and the cupboards, corners and cracks, under the sink, behind the stove. Even sprinkle some in the garbage can. For ants, same idea, but include window and door sills.
For silverfish, sprinkle some in the tub or shower overnight.
For slugs and snails in your flowerbeds or vegetable garden, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around your plants and even on them. (Though still manually remove the beasties first, as diatomaceous earth is not selective, and will also kill the crickets that chirp so beautifully and the ladybugs that eat unwanted aphids. Reapply after rain.)
If you’ve got an infestation of houseflies, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the windows or counters where they hang out. Mosquitoes too; if you can get them to land in it, problem solved. And I see no reason why it shouldn’t work on head lice, should your child come home inflicted. Just rub some into the scalp and repeat as needed.
So if you ever find yourself with creepy crawly pest problems, don’t panic, and especially don’t resort to unnecessary toxic chemicals. A little white miracle powder called diatomaceous earth will do the trick.
click here for Parasite Control Products
Over 2,000 species and subspecies of fleas are known throughout the world.
Fleas are a wingless species with a streamlined body to permit running on the skin between hairs.
Breaking the flea cycle by following a 3-Step program helps control the flea population in your environment.
The most troublesome type of flea to dogs is actually the Cat Flea. The female Cat Flea may produce up to 50 eggs a day and 2,000 eggs in a lifetime.
Fleas can transmit tapeworms and can cause severe skin irritation in pets.
Dog fleas can cause flea-bitten anemia, flea-bite dermatitis, and tapeworm infestations.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis is the most common skin disorder of dogs and a major cause of skin disease in cats.
Some pets eat 50 to 90 percent of the fleas off of their body. This is one of the leading causes of tapeworm in pets.
Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult.
Insect growth regulators, such as S-Methoprene, help prevent flea egg development.
Female fleas start producing eggs within 24 to 48 hours after taking their first blood meal and can lay up to 40 to 50 eggs per day.
In just 30 days, 10 female fleas can produce under ideal conditions 90,000 eggs.
A female flea ingests an average of 15 times her body weight in blood daily
Up to 5,000 fleas may live on a dog at one time without treatment.
A flea can jump as high as 13 inches.
Up to 95 percent of pre-adult fleas and ticks are found in places your pets hang out.
Females lay eggs in their hair coat and fall off into the pet’s environment.
Flea larvae can be found indoors in floor cracks & crevices, along baseboard, under rugs, and in furniture or beds. Outdoors, flea larvae live in soil (moist sand boxes, dirt crawlspace under the house, under shrubs, etc.) or wherever the pet may rest or sleep.
Optimum conditions for flea larvae are 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit with shaded and high humidity. For this reason, treating the home is an important step in flea control.
Ticks are wingless, blood sucking arachnids more closely related to spiders, mites, and scorpions than insects.
More than 825 species exist.
Ticks are usually found in brushy, woody, and tall grass areas – avoiding those areas or keeping grass well mowed, and trees and bushes well trimmed may aid reducing the local tick population. Treating the outdoor environment with approved products is an important step for tick control.
Ticks have harpoon-like barbs on their mouths to attach to the host for feeding and a sticky secretion to help them hold on to the host
Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to both pets and humans by the bite of infected deer ticks, affects more than 16,000 Americans each year.
Ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which strikes 300 to 400 Americans a year.
Some species of ticks lay about 100 eggs at a time; others lay 3,000 to 6,000 per batch.
Worldwide some 2,500 species have been identified; 160 species in the United States alone.
These flying bloodsucking insects attack birds, mammals, and humans.
The females of the species are the blood feeders. Their bite causes irritation and blood loss.
Malaria, West Nile virus, and numerous other diseases and virus can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm and other diseases to dogs and cats by biting infected animals, and then passing it on to another animal.
Heartworms can grow more than 12 inches long and can be fatal to cats and dogs.
Mosquitoes can also carry the West Nile virus that can be transmitted to humans and other animals.
One female may lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and may average 1,000 to 3,000 offspring during her life span.
Mosquito eggs laid in standing water or on soil that periodically floods. Eggs will hatch in water within a few hours to a few days depending on the local conditions.
Mosquito eggs can lay dormant for up to 6months until the right environmental conditions occur.
When used as directed approved sprays and topicals for dogs and cats can provide relief from mosquitoes by repelling them before they bite.
Do not use DEET based products that are designed for humans on animals.