We want to take a minute to address every pet owner's worst nightmare...FLEAS!!!
I don't know if there's anything I hate worse than fleas....oh yes, 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. And unfortunately we really didn't have a winter this year. While the most difficult months are usually August and September and October when the moisture and heat index are the highest. We usually 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 and Bravecto. 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. Give your pet a break from the preventatives. If you have to use a topical such as Activyl, 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
4. 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.
5. 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!
6. 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, 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.