Using therapeutic grade essential oils and oil-infused products, as well as other wholistic therapies for health and healthy living
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Ticks and Flees Safe Protection
Posted at http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/natural-flea-and-tick-control.aspx?e_cid=20121010_PetsNL_YRP_1
"How the Amazon Rainforest Provides a Centuries-Old Natural Formula Against Ticks, Fleas, and Mosquitoes"
Avoid Using Risky Chemical Pesticides on Your Dog or Cat with My Natural Protection System
A question I see pop up all the time on the Healthy Pets discussion forum, and one I hear a lot in my practice as well is, 'What's the best way to protect my pet from nasty pests like fleas and ticks?'
When it comes to the four-legged members of your family, finding a safe and effective pest deterrent is vital for their comfort and your peace-of-mind as well.
The dilemma most people face, me included, is how to successfully control pests without putting toxic chemicals all over your precious pet, your home and your yard.
Until now, a safe, practical and effective solution simply did not exist.
Recently, though, I discovered another option for both cats and dogs that not only controls pests very effectively, but just as important, it's natural, non-toxic, and requires no prescription.
But first, a little background.
Why I'm Against Using Harsh Chemicals on Pets
As a proactive Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who is also trained in homeopathy and acupuncture, I consider it one of my missions to help educate people on the advantages of natural animal care. My goal for your pets is to keep them in glowing good health rather than be forced to treat them for disease.
Every day in my practice I see dogs and cats suffering from the side effects of drugs or other toxic chemicals they've been given. Even worse, many of these poor animals still suffer from the condition the drugs were supposed to cure.
Applying harsh toxic chemicals to rid your dog or cat of annoying pests shouldn't be your only option. But for many of you, it has been.
In April of last year, the EPA issued an advisory about "spot-on" chemical pesticide products. These are products applied to the neck or back of dogs and cats as a flea and tick preventive.
The advisory was issued due to a significant increase in reported adverse reactions – everything from mild skin irritation to seizures and death. In 2008, over 44,000 reactions presumed to be tied to spot-on products were reported by pet owners, veterinarians, and other animal caretakers.
And the 44,000 reported incidents in 2008 was a significant jump from the 28,000 the prior year, and included 600 deaths.
In my opinion, the risks of these products are simply too great to warrant their routine (monthly) use. I encourage dog and cat owners to avoid these pesticides in favor of safer, more natural alternatives.
Coming up, I'll provide you an effective recommendation for a non-toxic, natural flea and tick deterrent that can help you avoid all this.
But first, here are more details on...
What the EPA Pet Spot-on Incident Report Revealed
Due to the EPA's concern over the number of incidents reported from spot-on use in 2008, they issued a report in 2010 that revealed the following...
Most adverse reactions were seen in dogs weighing between 10 and 20 pounds.
Reactions in mixed breed dogs were most commonly reported, however, the Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Miniature Poodle, Pomeranian, Dachshund, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, and Bichon Frise seem particularly at risk.
Products containing the chemicals cyphenothrin and permethrin were especially problematic for small breed dogs. Cyphenothrin is found in spot-on repellents from many companies, sold both over the counter and through veterinarians.
Most incidents occurred in dogs under three years old, likely at their first exposure to a spot-on product.
Adverse reactions for both dogs and cats were primarily skin, GI tract, and nervous system related. Skin reactions included redness, itching, hair loss, sores and ulcers. Spot-on products found to cause these types of reactions included a major market leader.
Gastrointestinal symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, and salivation. Spot-on repellents found to cause some levels of these symptoms included another major market leader, whose products have been sold by the millions at big box pet stores across the country.
Reported nervous system symptoms included lethargy, nervousness, ataxia (movement problems), tremors, and seizure.
A number of serious adverse reactions in cats were the result of the cat either being treated with a product intended for dogs, or through exposure to a treated dog.
Inert ingredients in spot-on products were generally assumed to contribute to toxicity.
Dosage ranges were considered to be too wide in some cases and product labeling was identified by the EPA as needing revamp in many instances.
The EPA's Companion Animal Studies guidelines are insufficient to predict the toxicity of spot-on products.
I'm sure you understand now why I avoid recommending any of these chemically-laden spot-on pesticides for your pets.
I realize many people like to use spot-ons because they are convenient and effective. But as far as I'm concerned, there's just too much evidence of potential unhealthy consequences for your pets.
Plus, as I've seen over and over again in my practice, pets still get fleas and ticks even when owners use some of the harshest spot-ons. It's also not out of the question that pests may be building up their resistance to some of these chemicals as well.
That's why I strongly believe in using a more natural pest repellent formula combined with a regimen of daily grooming and nose-to-tail body checks of your favorite furry friend.
And speaking of body checks ...
There is one thing I cannot stress enough. No matter what pest control solution you use, you must examine your pet daily, particularly for ticks. Even if you're applying some of the harshest chemical solutions on the market (which I don't recommend), your pets can still wind up with little blood suckers embedded in their coat and skin.
I realize this is not what most pet owners want to hear ... but I've seen it all too often in my practice regardless of what repellent is used.
With all this in mind, let's get into more details on some of these common pests, how they can affect your dog or cat, and my recommendations on the best natural protection system for your pets.
Be On the Lookout for Annoying Fleas
Blown-up cat flea full of blood from its latest feeding. Actual length of flea is only about 2mm (.079 inches).
When it comes to fleas, the 'cat flea' is the most common... representing about 85% to 95% of all household fleas found in North America.
But despite its name, the cat flea can infest both cats and dogs, and humans. Other fleas include what are called the 'human flea' and the 'dog flea.'
Outdoors, fleas tend to hide themselves underneath leaf piles, decks, or porches. Inside, they like to burrow into any available dark place such as cracks in flooring, crevices, and even underneath furniture cushions.
Even though fleas can live in colder climates, they're most often found where temperatures range from 65° F to 80° F and where there's high humidity (75-85%).
If you live in a warm, damp climate, you'll especially have to be on the lookout for fleas landing on your pets and you. I have more coming up on natural ways to protect your pets from fleas and other pests as well.
How Ticks Get Attached to Your Dog or Cat
Probably number one on my list of disgusting and bothersome pests affecting dogs and cats are ticks.
So, what exactly are ticks?
The bottom line ... ticks are external parasites that require blood from their host (your cat or dog, or even YOU), to sustain life. Ticks generally live in wooded areas, bushes, undergrowth, meadows, and clearings. But they can also be found anywhere there is grass.
A pair of ticks affixed to the skin of a dog causing the surrounding skin irritation.
Ticks attach and embed themselves to their host in areas where the skin is thin.
They insert their rostrums (tube-like structures covered with backward-pointing spikes) into the skin and secrete saliva substances which allow them to anchor tightly to your dog or cat.
Ticks come in various types and sizes. And some are so tiny they can very difficult to see.
Remember those body checks I mentioned earlier? I highly recommend you examine your pets on a daily basis and take the proper action to remove ticks.
And because I don't want your pets to suffer needlessly, I've put together a natural protection system for you.
More on this system coming up, but I can tell you one of the most important aspects of my solution is examining your pet every day and taking action. The only good news with ticks (if there really is any), is they generally have to be attached to your pet for at least 24 hours before they start becoming a real issue.
But remember, ticks can move from your pets to you ... Who wants to deal with that?
How Fleas and Ticks Pick Your Pet
To understand how to best prevent these pests from attacking your dog or cat, we need to look at how they detect their victims. Without a detection system, these bugs have a hard time finding a suitable host to latch onto.
Fleas and ticks have several mechanisms they use to detect their hosts ...
Molecular detection or non-specific chemo-receptors (chemical sense)
Sense the temperature gradient around the host (thermoreception)
Detect air movement
Perceive moisture (hygroreception)
Perceive light energy (photoreception)
By far, one of the most important detection mechanisms is odor (olfaction). Fleas and ticks have olfactory receptor neurons narrowly tuned to specific odors they innately search for. Their simple olfactory systems consist of about 20 sensilla located on their first pair of legs.
If this simple odor detection system senses something other than what it's been tuned for, the fleas and ticks will reject the host.
And this is the premise behind many of the flea and tick repellents on the market today. They mask the specific odors on your pet that pests are searching for in the environment. If the formula is effective, fleas and ticks cannot smell, taste, or even identify the host they're looking for. So, they simply ignore your dog or cat.
The problem is some of the most effective products in repelling fleas and ticks contain harsh chemicals ... many of them toxins. And that's why I don't recommend their use.
But I do realize people still need an effective way to protect their pets from nasty pests. That's why I put together what I believe to be one of the safest and most natural protection systems I know of.
Think Fido is Safe from Mosquitoes? Think Again ...
Despite what many folks believe, it's very important to realize mosquitoes can also be just as bothersome for your pets as other pests.
So, why take any chances when there are some simple things you can do to help avoid mosquitoes?
To cut down on the mosquito population around your home and on your pet, here are some simple tips to help reduce exposure to these flying pests:
Eliminate as much standing water as possible around your home and yard
Clean your rain gutters out on a regular basis
Aerate ornamental ponds and decorative water gardens
Keep your pets indoors during early morning and early evening hours when mosquitoes are thickest
Avoid wet marshes and thick wooded areas
As hard as you try to avoid them, you still may have to deal with mosquitoes. That's where my natural protection system comes in.
But first, let's talk about some other common sense things you can do to keep pests from bugging your pet ...
Take Charge with a Total Pet Protection Program
To truly keep your dog or cat safe from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other annoying critters, a repellent – the one I recommend or any other – is only one part of a total program of protection.
There are several other things I recommend you adopt as part of a successful pest control program ...
Feed your pet a balanced, species-appropriate diet — Parasites are drawn to the weakest hosts they can find. Feeding high quality food to dogs and cats improves their health and strengthens their immune system. So creating a balanced, nutritionally sound diet is the first place to start. In fact, I wrote a book called Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Cats and Dogs. If interested, you can check it out through this link.
Give frequent baths — Bathing your pet with a natural, non-toxic pet shampoo will not only help keep pests away, it will also make it convenient for you to check your pet from head to tail. Cats usually don't like baths, but they pretty much keep themselves clean with grooming. If your kitty doesn't mind a bath, then by all means give her one regularly. This is especially true if your cat spends time outdoors.
Grooming and brushing — Regular brushing or combing (with a flea comb if fleas are the problem) will help you find pests on your pet's fur and skin. Plus, it makes their coat look fantastic and it can provide a great bonding experience. Despite what many people believe, lots of cats love to be gently brushed or combed.
Tidy up your indoor environment — There are many ways pests can find their way into your home. They fly in, crawl in or ride in on pets and people. Keeping your floors, drapes and furniture clean and vacuumed will help prevent fleas and ticks from anchoring themselves in cracks and crevices. Change out your vacuum bag frequently as pests can survive the trip through the hose. And finally, keep your pet's bedding as clean as possible.
Examine your outdoor environment — Since tick, flea, and mosquito infestations start outdoors, take the time to inspect the area around your house and take action where you can. For example, ticks and fleas thrive in bushes and undergrowth. Keep your grass cut and leaves raked to limit the places around your home where pests can hide and breed.
Visit your vet regularly — Your holistic vet can be a great partner in keeping your dog or cat in optimum health, which will reduce the likelihood your pet will be an attractive host for pests.
Remember to use these suggestions as part of an overall program to control pests that invade your pet's environment. There's no foolproof way to insure your dog or cat is never bothered by another pest, but with these precautions in place, the problem – if you have one -- will be minimized.
And now on to more weapons for your war on pests ...
My Criteria for the Ultimate Pest Repellent
Since you know my strong feelings about avoiding any sort of chemical-based pest preventive, I guess it's about time I let you in on my recommendation.
Let's start with my checklist for what I would consider the ultimate flea, tick, and mosquito deterrent and removal package ...
Must not contain any synthetic chemicals
Does not produce toxic effects when pets lick their skin
Contains all natural ingredients formulated by nature – I prefer natural, safe oils and pure water.
Is available without a prescription and safe for daily use
Has a pleasant odor but is designed to create an undesirable scent to pests' sensory systems
Is clean, with non-sticky ingredients that work effectively to repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and pesky flies – Some competitive products don't include deterrents for mosquitoes and flies.
Needs to be safe to use on pet bedding and does not stain fur
Must include effective and safe ways to remove ticks from pets
That last item on my checklist is one often forgotten. I've seen it too many times in my veterinary practice -- regardless of what preventive repellent is used (chemical or natural), your pet may still attract ticks once in awhile, and you need a safe, effective way to remove them.
Having a solid plan to regularly examine your dog or cat and remove pests on the coat or skin is a key component of my total pet protection solution.
The Natural Formula I Recommend
Even without covered windows and doors, traditional natural insect control created by the indigenous people has been working for centuries.
To my complete delight, I've discovered a safe, natural pest deterrent that fits the bill.
It's called Natural Flea & Tick Defense and meets every single criteria on my checklist.
So, what makes this formula so good? How does it stand out from other natural pest repellents on the market today?
Well, to start with, Natural Flea & Tick Defense has a bit of an exotic story behind it -- it's based on a formula created in the Amazon rainforest.
The indigenous Brazilian people living in the rainforest have always dealt with pests in their environment. The lush forests and tropical climate are perfect breeding grounds for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
Many of the people live in dwellings without doors or windows ... inviting pests to have free access to their homes.
Yet, for centuries, the people have used a natural formula to protect themselves from these pests. How were they able to do this in such a pest-friendly environment?
The people living in the Amazon rainforest were able to protect themselves by formulating a combination of natural oils from their native surroundings ... the same non-toxic oils used to formulate Natural Flea & Tick Defense.
So, to answer the question of why this formula is superior to all the rest... quite simply, it's created from a special formula of 'pet-friendly' Brazilian natural oils ... a formula based on centuries of successful use in one of the most hostile, pest-ridden environments imaginable.
If it works in the Amazon rainforest, it certainly should provide your pet with an excellent safe, natural deterrent for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes . Wouldn't you agree ?
What's In Natural Flea & Tick Defense?
Let's take a closer look at each of the oils and ingredients that make up Natural Flea & Tick Defense.
By the way, you won't find many manufacturers of synthetic, chemical-based pest repellents saying much about the ingredients in their products.
Who wants to hear that mysterious compounds with tongue-twister names like "cyphenothrin," "permethrin," or "diethylmetatoluamide" (DEET) are in the pesticide you're about to put on your pet? I certainly don't. Do you?
Here are the natural Brazilian oils and ingredients found in Natural Flea & Tick Defense spray ...
Lemongrass oil –When formulated into a spray for pets, promotes a shiny, healthy coat , and helps repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
Cinnamon oil – A versatile essential oil widely used in the household. It is an effective environmentally-friendly ingredient that helps deter mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other pests from attacking your dog or cat.
Sesame oil – A rich, almost odorless oil derived from tiny sesame seeds. When combined with other essential oils it helps protect against pests and promotes the health of your pet's skin and coat.
Castor oil – Castor oil has been used for years by veterinarians. When combined with other oils, helps to repel a variety of pests.
Purified water – Only the purest water is used to help blend and properly balance the unique formula of essential oils.
There's one very important point I want to make about these ingredients ... it's not the individual elements that make Natural Flea & Tick Defense so effective, it's the expert blending and balancing of the Brazilian oils with the pure water. This is what distinguishes a natural effective product from just a natural ingredient.
You need to be very careful when selecting a natural pest preventive for your pet. If too much of any one ingredient is not blended properly, your pet's skin could become irritated.
The types of oils and correct percentages of oils blended together are not only important for assuring efficacy, but also safety -- especially for cats .
Results from a 2006 study did show how the Natural Flea & Tick Defense formulation was well tolerated by cats. This is a very important distinction for this product. I've seen my share of kitties in my practice that were injured through the improper use of an essential oil their owner thought couldn't possibly harm them.
You can trust that Natural Flea & Tick Defense is formulated to be safe and effective. I would never recommend it otherwise.
Safely Removing Ticks Should Be Part of Your Total Pet Protection Program
The Tick Stick takes advantage of a tick's rostrum morphology to easily
twist the tick out of your pet.
I want to emphasize again that examining your pet's body regularly must be part of your total pest preventive plan.
All pest repellents (both chemical and natural) are only deterrents and your pet will still get bugged by bugs on occasion. Certainly, keeping your pet clean with frequent baths and brushing is part of a regular examination program.
Removing most of the pests you occasionally find on your dog or cat is not a big issue except for one ... ticks. Ticks bore into your pet's skin using backward-pointing spikes that can make safely removing them difficult.
If you try to remove a tick by squeezing it and pulling it out, this could cause the tick to secrete more saliva into your pet and pieces of the tick's rostrum could remain embedded in your pet's skin.
Here are some things to avoid when it comes to tick removal (all to help minimize any transmission of their saliva into your pet's bloodstream).
Squeeze the tick
Try to burn the tick
Attempt to kill the tick in other ways or put it to sleep
Pull on the tick to remove it (like with tweezers)
Press down on or try to compress the tick
So, what can you do to safely remove ticks? Keep in mind, it is really important to remove the tick as soon as possible. But a calm, safe approach is the best way to go.
One of the best tools I've come across and highly recommend as part of my natural system for protecting your pet is the Tick Stick.
The Tick Stick is one of the few tools I've found that allows you to actually hold the tick (without compressing it) and remove it by using a twisting, rather than a pulling motion.
Why is the twisting motion so important?
Earlier I mentioned how a tick anchors its rostrum into your pet with backward-facing spikes. So, if you try to pull it out, the spikes work against you locking the tick ever tighter in place.
And if you continue to exert more pulling pressure on the tick, the rostrum could break... potentially leaving tick body parts in your pet's skin.
The twisting motion allowed by the Tick Stick takes advantage of the tick's rostrum structure. As you twist, the spikes bend into the axis of rotation, making it easier to remove the tick.
You should be able to see why I included the Tick Stick as part of my natural system to protect your pets against ticks.
PLEASE! If You Must Use a Harsh Chemical Pest Repellent, Read This Before You Do
In addition to the risks associated with spot-on treatments, I am simply not aware of any chemical-based pest control pill, dip, solution, shampoo, or collar that's without the potential for side effects.
Just because a compound is applied to or worn on your pet's fur doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. Be aware ... what goes on your pet typically ends up in your pet's system.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes feed first on unhealthy animals. So the goal of preventive pest control is to bring your dog or cat to optimal health, which will make them naturally more resilient and less attractive to pests.
If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where you simply can't avoid using a chemical pest preventive, please do your beloved dog or cat a huge favor and follow these tips to reduce the toxic risks to your pet ...
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.
Don't depend exclusively on chemical treatments. Rotate natural preventives with chemical ones.
Monitor your pet for symptoms and adverse reactions (mentioned above in the section on what the EPA spot-on incident report revealed) after you apply a chemical product – especially when using one for the first time.
Consult your holistic vet about natural therapies that can help alleviate your pet's toxic load.
Remember – keeping your dog's or cat's immune system healthy and strong is the best way to help fight off pests.
Protect Your Pets Using this Safe, All-Natural Pest Repellent System
The bottom line here ... if you really want to protect your pets against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without harsh, potentially toxic chemicals, then the natural solution I recommend is Natural Flea & Tick Defense.
And I don't care how effective people claim their chemical and spot-on repellents are, you'll still get the occasional flea and tick. Plus, you could be exposing your pet to dangerous chemicals that end up in their bloodstreams. I've seen it all too often in my veterinary practice.
So, here's a quick summary of the totally natural protection system I recommend you use against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes ...
Make sure your pet's diet is balanced and species-approprirate
Bathe and brush your pet frequently and do regular nose-to-tail body checks
Examine and cleanup your outdoor and indoor environments
Use a natural deterrent formula – Natural Flea & Tick Defense
Use the Tick Stick to safely remove ticks
I like the ingredients in the Tick Defense.
The only thing is, I would only use Young Living lemongrass therapeutic grade essential oil, which I know is not harmful. Sesame and Coconut oils, if I were to use on my dog, I would only use raw and organic - pasteurized oils make the hair greasy.
When I use lemongrass therapeutic grade essential oil by Young Living on my dog, I never have any problems. I use less than a drop.
For more information on using essential oils to protect from insects, read here May our dogs be always well taken care of! Love, Always, Eugeniya Health Essentials LLC. YoungLivingHE.com