It’s finally becoming summer in Chicagoland. We’ve waited all winter for some sun and fun outside with our pets. Unfortunately, with the nice weather also come fleas, ticks and mosquitoes that bother our pets and make our skin crawl. Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to toxic pesticides to keep your pets bug free all season. It may seem like a daunting task but I assure you it is not. Besides, who wants to put toxins on our cats and dogs that we care so much about? Personally, I do not feel comfortable using any type of product with warning labels on it saying to “Keep out of reach of Children” “Do Not Allow Pet to Sleep in Bed” or even “wash hands after applying.” How is a product like this considered “safe?” For me, I am not willing to put my pets at risk. Also, many of the various flea & tick products on the market are absorbed into our pets’ bloodstream and are present for at least 4 weeks, sometimes even longer. So where to start?
- “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness”- this couldn’t be more true when it comes to preventing fleas. Simple vacuuming can keep a flea infestation at bay. Be sure to vacuum at least once a week or as often as once a day in peak flea season which is mid to late summer. Pay attention to places where your pets lay or sleep. Wash pet bedding frequently and be sure to throw away your vacuum bag in a sealed, outside garbage minimally once a week.
- The same notion of cleanliness goes for our dogs too. If you do find a flea(s) on your pup, don’t panic! A simple shampoo can help immensely. Fleas hate water and cannot swim. No need for flea shampoos filled with toxins. A gentle, soothing shampoo like Buddy Wash with Lavender & Mint will do the trick. Bugs don’t enjoy the smell of Lavender either, which is an added perk.
- A Flea Comb, is a great tool to have on hand once the weather gets warm. The fine teeth on the comb allow fleas and ticks to be discovered and killed quickly. If you find a flea, just dip the comb in a dish of soapy water to kill it. A quick daily comb can keep you on top of any potential fleas before they get out of hand. Pets usually enjoy the extra attention and combing.
- A Tick Key is another tool that insures proper removal of any ticks that may have hitched a ride on our pets. Proper and timely removal of ticks ensures they are not on our pets long enough to transmit disease. Studies have shown that infected Deer ticks begin to transmit Lyme disease 36-48 hours after attachment.
- As for your pet there are safer alternatives to topical preventatives which contain pesticides and toxins. Products such as Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Spray are safe for both cats and dogs and can be sprayed on your pets as often as needed without worry of toxins on the skin or in the bloodstream. This product is made from peppermint oil and clove oil extract.
Now onto the outside because that’s where the fun happens!
- In your yard and around your home A Good Offense is the Best Defense. What I mean by this is that by knowing what environments fleas and tick thrive in, you can make your yard and home as inhospitable to them as possible. Fleas like damp, warm weather. Mow your lawn short and allow it to dry out during the heat of summer. Fleas are most often found in moist, shaded areas such as under decks, porches and stands of trees. Mosquitoes like warmth and standing water, so after a rain, be sure you do not have any containers that may be holding stagnant water.
- A good, all natural yard spray made from peppermint oil and clove extract like Vet’s Best can keep fleas, ticks and mosquitoes away. This is an easy to use product that gets wide coverage of yards with the help of your garden hose.
Diatomaceous earth is an all natural powder made from fossilized diatoms. Instead of poisoning fleas and ticks, it actually cuts their exoskeleton (their hard outer shell) and sucks the water out their bodies, without water they die. You can use a sprinkle of diatomaceous earth along doorways, under decks, or anywhere bugs are seen. It also works well for ants, roaches and other pests. Be sure to use “food grade” diatomaceous earth as it can also be used for pool filters and there is a “pool grade” that you do not want.
- There are quite a few plants that naturally repel fleas and ticks, including, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, sage, catnip and mint, so think about adding some of these to your garden.
These are just a few of the many natural ways to keep your pets flea and tick free without compromising their health by using toxins on them or in your yard. All of us at Wet Nose are dedicated to the health and happiness of your pets. If you have any questions about natural flea and tick prevention, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Written by ~ Ellen (Management Team)