It's that time of year to talk about the super pests we all have to deal with here in the south..FLEAS!!!
I don't know if there's anything I hate worse than fleas....well, other than the
chemicals used to treat them!
Being a holistic practice we aim to use natural, chemical free choices first. However, this may not be the most effective path when we are dealing with Fleas! All sorts of natural flea repellents tout excellent control, yet when we put them to the test here in Alabama, we still see FLEAS!
Unfortunately, we have a very big realization to face; these pests are not only prevalent in our area but it seems Alabama has
its very own strain of "Super"fleas.
Flea season is usually dependent on the type of winter we have and can vary in length. The most difficult months are usually August and September when the moisture and heat index are the highest. Therefore, we recommend treating the environment regularly as early as April/May while saving the preventatives for the summer/fall.
In this email we will outline a few things we have found will help you treat fleas
effectively while reducing harmful side effects.
1. Just say no to Trifexis, Bravecto and Nexguard. We can't say enough horrible things about these chemicals, they are extremely toxic, they have long term side effects and have resulted in numerous deaths.
2. Treat the environment. After returning from Colorado and being disappointed in the Alabama flea battle I approached several pioneer holistic
veterinarians and this was the number one recommendation, TREAT THE ENVIRONMENT. If fleas are seen, treat every two weeks initially, this will break the flea/egg cycle. If no fleas are seen, treating on a monthly basis should be effective.
- Our preference, of course, is using natural options- Wondercide is just one of many companies that have great products for the outside environment.
- There are also many holistic/ clean living sprays that can be used indoors on
bedding, rugs, carpets, etc.
- A light dusting of diatomaceous earth under couch cushions, rugs, etc. will help prevent flea nesting. Fleas prefer moisture and shade.
- Cedar chips can be used around shaded places in the yard, under the porch or deck.
- Professional treatments with companies like Orkin or DIY using chemicals such as Bayer Advanced.
3. Beneficial nematodes - Now I'm a big fan of worms. I've had a worm composting farm for
many years. However, I have not had enough to distribute over the lawn. But we have found out that you can order these from online companies and scatter or even spray them over your lawn. Ours are on order.
A healthy, balanced lawn should contain many beneficial nematodes but unfortunately lawn care chemicals, pesticides, etc, kill off the natural colonies of worms. By replenishing the worms, you will not only be reducing the fleas in your yard but you will be balancing the
ecosystem! This is a two for one!!! Check out Gardens Alive website and some are even sold on Amazon. I would love it if all our clients applied this method. We would all be working together to better this beautiful place we call home!!!
4. Give your pet a break from the preventatives. If you have to use a topical such as Frontline, Advantage II, Advantix, or an oral such as Comfortis, then move to a monthly cycle that
alternates with your heartworm prevention.
- Heartguard is given on the 1st of the month, while flea preventative is given or applied on the 15th of the month. This allows the liver to recover after each chemical.
Alternate oral and topical treatments
- Advantage II on July 15th, Comfortis on August 15th
(Many people report that their flea preventative begins loosing its efficacy so they need stronger chemicals. While it may seem
that the fleas are becoming resistant, that is usually not the case. The use of chemicals can cause an imbalance known as liver blood deficiency and this imbalance perpetuates an environment for fleas. So we find that these flea preventatives can actually make flea infestation worse over time.) Apply these chemicals smarter, not harder.
5. Nourish the liver before and after treatment to improve its ability to detox the noxious
chemicals. We have many liver supplements that we recommend before and after treatment - Liver GI detox, Livton Complex, LivCo, etc. If you have a high anxiety dog, you may need liver happy or subdue liver fire after administration of the chemicals.
6. Flea (Seresto) and tick (Preventic) collars can deter pests. These chemicals still get on the fur (therefore can still get in the bloodstream and pets may ingest through licking,
grooming, etc. ) and still heat up the liver. However, these can be taken on and off, so if you live in a wooded area these are great!
7. Use multimodal holistic therapies. We have found several products to be effective when combined. We have been using the "Only Natural Pets" Easy Defense flea tag and the Sonic flea tag bathing weekly in a neem based shampoo, and spraying the environment with an essential oil spray while using
an essential oil blend for mid-week touch ups. We also recommend flea combing regularly to check for fleas and ticks.
This route takes a little more work but if living chemical free is important to you, this approach can be very effective.
We have been very pleased with Dr. Melissa Shelton's essential oil combination, AWAY. This can be diluted in a spray bottle with distilled water and used before going outside or on
8. Noni Fruit Leather. We don't have a lot of experience with this yet but there are many claims of pet parents who say if they feed this Hawaiian fruit regularly to their pet, fleas do not seem to be attracted them. Since it is not harmful, this may be worth a try. I am doing my best to get Poncho to eat this -it doesn't taste great, and yes, I had to try it. You can order this online. 1 package lasts approximately 1
9. Homeopathic flea nosode - This formula is designed to reduce the body's natural immune response to fleas. This will help pets with severe FAD (Flea Allergy Dermatitis.) It is a topical treatment. I am currently treating Poncho with this topical to lessen his reaction to flea bites. Although, we pray we don't have any!!!
We are always looking and researching new ideas for you guys to protect your pets from fleas
naturally. We want all of you to live a Happy, Healthy, Flea Free LIFE!!!!