Natural Flea/Tick/Heartworm Preventative

23 Aug

Good morning and happy Thursday! Today I want to talk a little bit about natural alternatives for your pets… and for you.

I’ve always been a bit of a natural freak – I try not to use medication unless I absolutely have to, and before I do that I always try an herbal remedy to two. I try to research as much as I can about things that I put into my body… and that same rule applies to my dog.
So, when I began reading about flea and heart worm medication, I came to the startling discovery that they were basically poison (granted, they are a small dose of poison, but this adds up when you re-dose each month). Think about it, these ‘preventatives’ are ultimately treating our pets for parasites even when they don’t have them yet. Kind of a ”better safe than sorry” mentality… but is it really safe when some of the side effects of long-term use include a weakened immune system, kidney failure, or seizures (to name a few).
You can draw your own conclusions for your pet, but I don’t want to put my dog at risk when there are other options out there that I am more comfortable with. And, I was somewhat surprised to read that a lot of the ‘hype’ is fueled by fear tactics that are somewhat irrational.. You can read more about this topic here, here and here.
Anyway, the prevention method that our family has chosen is a simple mist made up of Tea Tree, Geranium and Lavender oils. Over a year ago, I went to our natural foods store and picked up a large spray bottle and the oils, and excitedly returned home and mixed it all together. Here I am today, still using those same oils and the bottles are not even close to being empty… so this it both healthy and cheap – who can beat that?
I think that prevention should begin with making animals undesirable to these parasites, rather than treating them each month when they aren’t ‘sick’. These oils deter mosquito’s, fleas and even ticks from biting in the first place — and without these parasites, the worry for infestations diminishes.
Added bonus: it smells really nice, and you can use it on yourself rather than that nasty smelling, sticky bug spray you find in the store. I take a huge bottle with me every time I go camping, and this stuff worksssss!
In case you’re interested, here is the recipe that I use:
Fill a 1 liter sized bottle with water and add…
4 drops tea tree oil
4 drops geranium
4 drops lavender (which also has a calming effect, great for hyper dogs!)
Shake well, and apply before dogs (or any pet really) go outside and again upon returning inside. You can also purchase a natural supplement, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.
*Added note: It’s still a good idea to get your pups checked out for heart worms when they’re at the vet for their checkups, keep them on a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. The healthier your dog is, the easier it is for their body to fight off the heart worms in the first place.
(my adorable monster!)

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