In Anticipation of Flea Season

I’m trying to get ahead of the fleas this year, and hopefully avoid using a spot treatment. I’m currently experimenting with a combo of:

  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Powdered Neem
  • Yarrow

Here’s a pic:

I over-bought. This very well could be a 10-year supply. I'm not sure.
I over-bought. This very well could be a 10-year supply. I’m not sure.

I bought a fancy stainless steel shaker with a mesh top. I am all excited about this.

I do hope it works. It should.

Everything in it repels pests, including fleas and ticks.

I really don’t like the idea of dosing my dogs with chemicals since I’ve worked so hard to boost their health in a natural way.

I shook a little down the spine of each dog, and worked it into their coats. They’re not crazy about it. I don’t know if I used enough or too much. Their fur now feels like my hair does when I use that nasty dry shampoo. But it doesn’t stink–at least it doesn’t to me. I hope it smells positively putrid to fleas & ticks.

We’ll have to see how it goes. It’s currently a balmy 28 degrees out, so we’re not likely to encounter any fleas this week. But maybe it’ll keep them at bay when the weather warms up and they start rolling in the grass.

I’ll keep you posted.

pugs & kisses,

Pumpkin seeds — Nature’s Vermifuge

So, this bout of diarrhea was apparently due to worms, which were apparently caused by the aforementioned fleas.

Fighting fleas sans application of, or filling my dogs with, chemical pesticides presents a challenge, and is a topic for another day.

So back to the worms. How much good would it do to dry up the runny poo if I didn’t get rid of the worms?

Here’s you some vocabulary words to toss out at your next cocktail party (b/c the topic of intestinal parasites comes up over a glass of wine all the time):

Anthelmintic

Vermifuge

Both are terms for herbs that destroy and expel worms and parasites from the intestines.

Some examples include Aloe, chaparral, cloves, wormwood, garlic, pomegranate (the white rind), rue, and black walnut hull.

I had some garlic, but I’m still a little uneasy about how much to use given the prolific warnings that abound on the Internet about feeding garlic to dogs. I didn’t want to dive into that without additional guidance, so I kept looking (because I didn’t have any of the rest of that list either. Surprise, surprise).

Turns out, pumpkin seeds are anthelmintic. And guess who has two thumbs and a massive stash of dry roasted, ground pumpkin seeds from all that treat-making back in the fall? This kid!

I knew there was a reason I was holding onto all that in my fridge. I needed it for deworming!

WOOT!

I researched side effects and found none. So I just added a little sprinkle to their meals twice each day for 5 days.

And it worked.

No more worms.

BOOM!

Every time I find a way to stay out of the doctor’s office through something as simple as a pumpkin seed, my heart grows three sizes.

Word to the wise: Anytime you adopt an herbal regimen designed to address a specific ailment (like deworming) as part of your routine, you risk reducing the herb’s effectiveness for that ailment over time. So it’s best to treat the ailment until the body heals, and then discontinue usage. So I will not be adding pumpkin seeds to their food as a matter of course. But I will keep my stash in a cool, dry place until needed again.

Lovin’ this way of life!

pugs & kisses,

I’ll Scratch Your Back…

pugs, dogs, flea prevention, chemical-free, holistic, all natural

Y’all. It has been crazy around here since before Thanksgiving. I bet you thought I had quit this blog.

NEVER!

We traveled for Thanksgiving, and then I caught the flu and have been down for the count for DAYS.

(Yes, I got the vaccine. Shut up and mind your own bees wax. The shot doesn’t work this year.)

Anyhoo, during my convalescence sur la sofa chez moi, I finally realized why my dogs have been …

scratching...

I thought it was perhaps an allergy to cottage cheese, or something else I was feeding. But I’ve not introduced anything new for a long while. They eat on a rotation of things I know they love.

Still, the scratching was bugging us.

thump, thump, thump, thump, thump (that’s the sound of a scratching foot hitting the floor, FYI).

I gave them a lovely herbal bath with rosemary, lavender, and chamomile, to no avail.

scratch a little here, scratch a little there

Turns out they’ve got        !!! FLEAS !!!

Dammit!

I had been using the Earth Animal Flea & Tick Program for a couple of months. I had sung its praises on this blog. However, neither Truman nor Pearl could tolerate the full recommended dose–by “tolerate”, I mean that they puke it up on my bed at 2am when I dump a full teaspoon in their food–so I dialed it back to about half in hopes of building up their tolerance for it over time.

That approach has apparently resulted in a mild infestation.

Sweet! So stoked.

My immediate response was to flea bomb the house. But I decided instead to use flea spray on the rugs, sofa & dog beds, and then wash everything on my bed. (All while recovering from the flu. It’s been fun, yo.)

Then, I drove to the vet for Capstar. Capstar is a one dose treatment for a current flea infestation that will kill any adult fleas on your dog. It’s what the kennel will give your dog if she shows up at daycare with fleas.

It’ll kill fleas, alright. It can also make your dog lethargic, vomit, and refuse to eat. (See http://www.drugs.com/pro/capstar.html).

After taking the Capstar yesterday afternoon, we’ve had all of the above. Truman refused most of his dinner. Pearl ate hers, but puked it up on my feet at 5am. They’ve both been lethargic, and both refused to eat dinner tonight.

Fun times! We love poison! …not

My vet’s office suggested I follow up with Bravecto, a quarterly, oral flea and tick treatment that is new to the market. At $53 per dose, it supposedly lasts 90 days. The pill is the size of a quarter. I can smell the pesticide through the packaging.

I’m not going to give it to them. I can’t stand the thought. Plus, time release things like that, in my prior experience, do not work over time.

So, we are on a new quest to find something that will repel fleas, ticks & mosquitos that is not a chemical pesticide, that has a lasting effect, and that is not the herbal internal supplement that makes them puke or alternately doesn’t repel fleas.

Tall order.

Challenge accepted!

I’ll let you know what we discover.

In the meantime, thank God we’re in the off-season.

pugs & kisses,

Flea Flicker

herbal supplement for all natural dog health

I watch college football in the Fall. I enjoy it. Roll Tide.

It is not my life. I know the rules, more or less. I know who some of the players are, I know the rankings (generally), and I can recognize a few formations.

I wouldn’t know a “flea flicker” if the ball hit me in the face.

But I have a couple in my house — (you knew that joke was coming).

When I was at the court house last week filing my paperwork to form my company, the clerk who was helping me asked what I did about fleas, ticks & heart worm prevention. She didn’t like giving her dogs chemicals, and neither do I.

Excellent question, madam clerk! Let me see what I can learn!

My book suggests that a healthier dog that regularly receives the proper nutrients will be naturally more resistant to pests. But at this early stage in the game, I’m not willing to risk an infestation and end up spewing a chemical fog into my house just based on dietary hopes.

At least not yet.

Citronella, lemongrass, and catnip are all known for their mosquito repellent qualities. I’ve read of herbal shampoos that contain lemongrass. I might give that a whirl and let you know how it goes.

But for day-to-day avoidance, I need a better defense against an unrelenting O-line of hungry bugs. I searched the shelves of a new, all natural pet supply store that just opened in Homewood. The Whole Dog Market (also in Atlanta) offers a variety of natural supplements (among other wonderful things).

They recommended Earth Animal’s “All Natural Flea & Tick Program,” which is a daily herbal powder supplement.

Contents: Alfalfa, Garlic, Spirulina, Kelp, Papaya, Neem, Nettles, and Hawthorne.

Wait. Garlic? Aren’t we supposed to NOT give garlic to dogs?

Excessive and prolonged ingestion of garlic and onions can cause Heinz-body anemia in dogs, which is potentially life-threatening, and which is why they’re on the WNTF (what not to feed) list. But garlic is also good for the heart. And the small amount in this powder doesn’t concern me.

Kelp and other seaweeds sooth and cleanse the digestive tract, and improve glandular function.

Neem is a natural pesticide.

Nettle contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, beta carotene, and vitamins A, B-complex, C & D. (Damn! Get ME some!)

But all of this together, according to the claims on the container, make your dog unattractive to fleas, ticks & mosquitos. I’m much more comfortable with an ingredient list I can pronounce and am familiar with.

They each get half a teaspoon a day, mixed with their morning yogurt, and do not seem to mind.

I’ve not seen any fleas. I’ll let you know if I do.

pugs & kisses,