By the Staff at Petagogy
Hopefully we have seen the last of the Polar Vortex this year, and the temps will start to climb. Despite the brutally cold winter we experienced flea and tick populations are expected to be at least at their normal levels. Although the traditional flea and tick medication is effective, there are many natural alternatives that are less toxic to pets and their families. These alternatives lack the pesticides and chemicals that are in the normally prescribed preventatives.
Simple remedies such as bathing your dog or cat often and giving your pet supplements, including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and B complex vitamins that boost your pet’s immunity and natural ability to repel insects, can help keep your pet flea and tick free. Another great supplement is natural brewer’s yeast, which, given daily, will help repel all types of bugs. Other dietary additions that will boost the ability of your pet to repel bugs include seaweed, fresh garlic (in small quantities), and organic apple cider vinegar. Further, certain scents and oils repel insects naturally including rosemary, lemon, lavender and peppermint. Before you depend on the chemical treatments for your animals and home this flea and tick season, give natural products and remedies a try.
Use a natural dog wash with ingredients and essential oils that repel fleas and ticks. Cloudstar makes both lavender and mint and rosemary and mint scents. Sentry Natural Defense makes a flea and tick shampoo that kills and repels pests without the use of pesticides.
Both Ark Naturals and Sentry Natural Defense make safe and effective flea and tick sprays for both dogs and cats that contain ingredients like geranium, clove and peppermint oil. These sprays will protect your pets from fleas and ticks if sprayed liberally once a week or whenever your pet will be outside or in wooded areas. Sentry Natural Defense also makes a safe monthly topical application made entirely of natural oils and ingredients that will kill and repel fleas and ticks on contact and is safe to use around children and other pets.
An important part of flea prevention is treating the environment your pet lives in. Only adult fleas live on your pet: eggs, larva and pupa are found in the bedding, flooring, and couches and might be living in your yard. Vacuum your carpets and wash bedding often until you are sure the fleas are gone. Putting pet bedding in a hot dryer for 15 or 20 minutes should kill adults, larvae and eggs. Additionally, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insecticide, made from fossilized diatoms, that works by “drying out” insects. It can be used in and around the house to kill fleas and their larvae. Although Diatomaceous Earth is safe for mammals, precautions should be taken when using Diatomaceous Earth, so make sure you do your homework before using it.
To check for fleas, brush through your dog or cat’s hair with a flea comb. Doing this above a white sheet or white paper allows you to see if there are actually fleas. After walks, thoroughly check you pets for ticks. If you find any, use the Tick Key to remove them, which is the easiest and safest way to remove the entire embedded tick.
Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Learn more at www.petagogypgh.com.