Now that spring has sprung and we are enjoying outdoor activities in the warmer weather, we need to remember that hotter temperatures also increase the risk of fleas and ticks who thrive in balmy conditions. So how can we protect our pets, and homes, from these airborne bugs?
Prevent Fleas First
Taking steps to prevent a flea infestation is much less hassle than trying to get rid of them once they take hold. Keep your lawn short, regularly remove litter and debris, and use herbs such as sage, rosemary, catnip, basil and mint around the back door, as the natural oils present in these plants help deter fleas and keep them out of your house.
Most parasites tend to prey on the weak, so feeding your animal a healthy balanced is a great way to ensure they stay fighting fit and insect free. A raw diet is the most natural way to feed your pet and we boast over 20 freezers holding a wide range of raw food options, including 6 brands of complete meals and a wealth of bones, chunks and minces for you to do-it-yourself. We also stock a high quality kibble or wet food is a good alternate, so why not come in store to find out what diet will best suit you and your pet.
In addition to a good diet, you can add a couple of natural supplements to boost your pet’s chances of not playing host to fleas and ticks. Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to water or food creates an acidic coat and balanced alkalinity in the gut to naturally repel any nasties. Alternately you can sprinkle a small amount of garlic powder on your pet’s meal – remember that garlic is dangerous to animals in large quantities, but ¼ small clove per 5kg of animal is safe and beneficial to overall well-being. The potent punch of garlic exudes through your pet’s skin and makes her coat unpleasant to fleas and ticks who will opt for a sweeter smelling host.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural mineral which breaks down flea larvae and dries them out before they can grow into adults. You can add human grade DE to your pet’s food, or spread it in your garden on favourite spots where you think fleas might be harbouring.
If you want to be a little more proactive, we stock a natural flea repellent spot on for both cats and dogs which provide protection without the usual nasty chemicals.
Alternately you could invest in a Tickless ultrasonic tick and flea repeller. The small gadget simply attaches to your pet’s collar and works by emitting a series of ultrasound impulses designed to disturb the flying insects, preventing them from settling on your pet. This harmless option does not disturb humans or animals and lasts for 9-12 months.
Regularly check for fleas using a flea comb, which has fine teeth designed to flush them out, and rinse the comb in a solution of water and ACV between each brush to keep it clean. Check your dog thoroughly after walks in woodland areas for ticks – if you find one, ensure you use a tick twister in a spiral motion to remove the whole insect.
If you are unfortunate enough to get fleas despite your best efforts to prevent them, you must treat your pet, her bedding and all areas in the house she regularly visits. You can easily treat your animal and bedding with a sprinkling of diatomaceous earth to kill the fleas, but remember to apply the powder outside and cover your mouth so you don’t inhale it, as it can irritate the lungs. It is also important to wash all bedding, including yours, in a natural flea detergent, and hoover all materials thoroughly to disturb the eggs. Remember that a flea’s full life cycle can be several months, so it’s important to maintain a good routine of hygiene throughout the summer to keep on top of any infestation.
For all these remedies and lots of other natural supplements to keep your pet in tip top condition, read our more in-depth article on natural flea and worm treatments here or visit either store and chat to a member of staff.
Written by: Lucy Ellis
Photos: Scratching Dog by Beatrice Murch; Lucy Ellis