Blood Sucking Monsters

Natural Flea & Tick Remedies That Work Wonders

No, not the Pug, I’m talking about fleas and ticks. Here in Southern California fleas can be year-round invaders. Although the dog days of summer days are over, your pup may still be wearing more than just a cute collar and bandana. Right now, no matter where you live, chances are these blood sucking monsters are just waiting to spread like wildfire on your pet.

Fleas suck! -Pun intended! Unlike bees that pollinate our planet and keep us alive, or ants who are brilliant little armies of team players, capable of. carrying an entire picnic a GA-ZILLION times their own size and body weight on their tiny backs, what purpose do fleas and ticks serve anyway?

The first few years we had Raisin I tried, honest to God, every flea prevention product on the market. It started with OTC products whose effectiveness diminished after each passing month. Following that I tried all the RX brands my vet had in her arsenal and again, I had to apply harsh chemicals more and more frequently for them to work. I tried relentlessly cleaning, scrubbing, and vacuuming my home. I tried flea foggers, flea baths and flea combs on Raisin and still, nothing worked. I even called a non-toxic exterminator with a perfect track record and a money-back guarantee to get rid of these invaders. Guess who was the first customer to receive a FULL-REFUND!

What started out as a few fleas soon turned into a terrible infestation of fleas, spiders, and eventually termites. I was frustrated and out of ideas. The final straw was when I came face-to-face with cockroaches as big as my size 6 foot. I then broke down called an exterminator. Three days and several thousand dollars later, I was finally PEST FREE and never had another flea problem.

When I rescued Olive she was on Revolution, a monthly flea and heart-worm preventative I have used successfully in the past. Although Olive doesn’t have fleas, she did get suffer a terrible allergic reaction to a flea bite. I raced a sneezing, coughing, incessantly itching Olive to the vet. Upon examination, the vet discovered red bumps all over her and was convinced it was an allergic reaction to a flea bite. I couldn’t see how that was possible as she was on flea prevention. The vet explained that even with protection, fleas can jump on and bite a pet before dying. If a pet is allergic, that’s all it takes.

After Olive’s incident, I am extremely diligent about washing her and keeping fleas away. I have discovered some excellent natural alternatives to products containing harsh chemicals. I currently apply organic coconut oil, to Olive’s coat. It acts as both a great moisturizer and flea repellent. I also make sure to bathe her following adventures where she may have been exposed to fleas. I also am SO happy I replaced all my carpets with tile flooring and knock-on-wood, haven’t had another issue.

Believe me, it’s much easier keeping fleas away in the first place than getting rid of a flea infestation. My advice is get rid of those pests and then hopefully you can lighten up on the heavy, toxic arsenal and use some natural remedies to keep fleas at bay.

That being said, a story has been blowing up on social media about a beautiful dog whose fur was burned to the flesh apparently from trying an organic, all-natural, non-toxic flea repellent. The heated arguments and firing off of hateful comments between friends/followers is nearly as horrible as the wounds the poor dog suffered. (OK, not really!) But it definitely serves as a reminder why I stay away from anything but puppies and ice cream on social media.

This does bring up a good point: It certainly doesn’t have to be a harsh, toxic chemical for your pet to have a horrific reaction. Just like a human who can’t touch a strawberry or a peanut. -Be it an unsalted raw one or a Reese’s cup, pets too can have adverse reactions or even die from wholesome, organic products if they happen to be allergic. Before trying ANY product or food, I urge YOU to first research it. Check out the company, the ingredients, where it’s produced. Talk to trusted vets and pet parents and always test it out with a very small amount first.

Case and point, I went to a very exclusive event with Olive. The swag-bag was filled with a plethora of expensive, top-of-the-line pet products. One of the samples was an amazing, organic, all-natural, human-grade pet food with rave reviews. It’s sold for top dollar in the finest specialty pet boutiques and I was excited to give it a try. That evening I gave Olive a small sample with her dinner. She proceeded to vomit all night and had me running a dehydrated, deathly sick dog to the vet first thing the next morning.

So while natural products are usually preferred, even those can have disastrous outcomes if your pet has the rare allergy. Also fleas, ticks and other parasites may be resistant to some natural, less intense repellents and your pet won’t be protected. Hopefully you can try a few of these tips and find a perfect, less toxic balance. And, as always, a clean healthy pet with a strong immune system will naturally repel more parasites than a sickly one. That starts and finishes with a nutritious, balanced diet 😃.

Every flea season I consult with frustrated pet parents looking for flea repellent shampoos. I always advise against strong, harsh, shampoos loaded with chemicals. Any soap and water will kill and remove fleas. For heavy infestations, here’s a recipe for a gentle, non-toxic, flea repelling shampoo you can make at home. I use this on my shelter/rescue dogs who typically come in poor shape infested with fleas. Again, always sample a small amount first to check for adverse reactions.

​Slice 1/2 lemon and add to 1 Cup boiling water. Stir for 5 minutes then remove from heat, steep and cool. Remove lemon parts, drain juice into large canning jar or bottle.

​Add 2/3 Cup Dr Bronner’s Purecastle Soap

Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 TBS organic coconut oil

15 drops pure organic lavender oil

Mix together and WASH your PUP!

In addition, here are some great recommendations for healthy flea-tick control:
*Remember, there is simply no chemical based pest control pill, dip, solution, shampoo, or collar that is without the potential for side effects. Just because a compound is applied to or worn on your pet’s fur doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. Remember: what goes on your pet goes in your pet, by absorption through the skin or ingestion during grooming.

  • If You Must Use a Chemical Pest Preventive, Here Are Some Tips for Reducing the Risk to Your Pet
  1. Be very careful to follow dosing directions on the label, and if your pet is at the low end of a dosage range, step down to the next lowest dosage. Be extremely cautious with small dogs, especially if you own one of the breeds reported to be at high risk for adverse reactions. And do not under any circumstances apply dog product to your cat or vice-versa.
  2. Monitor your pet for adverse reactions after you apply a chemical product — especially when using one for the first time.
  3. Since your pet’s liver will be on over-drive due to the flood of chemicals that make it into their bloodstream, it can be very beneficial to give your dog or cat a milk thistle or chlorella supplement to help detoxify their liver. These will regenerate liver cells. You will need to consult a holistic/integrated vet for correct dosage. I typically do a course for seven days following a flea treatment.
  4. Don’t depend exclusively on harsh chemical treatments. Try rotating in natural preventives containing: lavender, peppermint, geranium, lemongrass, cedar-wood and/or citronella. These are all natural parasite deterrents. Many pet stores carry natural products with these blends. I like which is sold at PetSmart. An every other month rotation works well for many pet owners. In many parts of the country owners find they can successfully control ticks with 2 doses a year: one in the spring and one in the late summer. Natural products

Hopefully with just a few simple tips, going forward, blood-sucking monsters will not be a bother and your pet can manage on safer, natural remedies! Pugs and Kisses!

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