Winning the War on Fleas

You may recall the early terror attacks by pre-season fleas that I battled in the Spring.

Like a dog with a bone, I have been determined to find a healthy, effective solution.

The first layer of my counter-attack was to hire a mosquito service for my yard. Now, I understand that sounds like an extravagance, and I was very hesitant to try it. But on balance, better to dose the yard than to dose the dogs.

Mosquito Squad comes while I’m at work and the dogs are safely inside. After just a few minutes, everyone can go outside, but that’s never an issue because of the timing.

IT WORKS.

Not only has it eliminated mosquitos, but it works on fleas & ticks as well. And the cost is actually about $80 less than a year’s worth of flea, tick & heartworm prevention for 2 dogs. Highly recommend.

Second layer of counter-attack was flea collars. Yep. Good, old fashioned flea collars.

The first one I tried was the Seresto collar. They run about $40 each and last 8 months. The collar contains similar chemicals to many of the topical treatments, but at least it’s not touching the skin in a concentrated form that seeps into the bloodstream. Collars only go on when we go outside, or board at the kennel. Otherwise, they’re on the hook with the leashes. You can’t do that with a topical.

The Seresto worked very well, but Chester (cat) was extremely sensitive to it. He lost the hair on his neck and broke out in a rash.

#garbage.

After that happened, I started to worry about the dogs. They didn’t break out like Chester, but still. Although a better alternative than topical or pills, the collar is permeated with pesticide, and the toxicity concerned me.

THEN, my hero, Dr. Karen Becker, posted an article about the herbal flea collars, spray, and topical that she developed for Dr. Mercola. SOLD!

herbal flea tick remedy
The small collar fits dogs with necks up to 21′.

Each collar contains Geraniol, which is a primary component of citronella oil, and a very effective flea, tick and mosquito repellent. The collars also contain wintergreen oil, which makes them smell like Pepto-Bismal. At $12 each, an extremely reasonable price point. Extremely safe ingredients. And, so far, extremely effective.

Buy it here.

If you live in a highly infested area, like near the woods, you might consider the three-pronged approach of spray, topical and collar. I bought the collars, and have the spray on hand just in case.

I feel much better about NOT forcing my dogs to ingest pesticides (have you smelled a Trifexis?) or to directly apply pesticides on their skin. I know that what I’m doing is much safer, easier on the pocketbook, and it works.

In Alabama, flea season is August – October. Give Dr. Becker’s collar a try.

pugs & kisses,

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SMOOTHIES!!!

Berry smoothie for dogs

You too can make your HOL dog a smoothie that he will LOVE.

Basically, any fruit will do, and the recipe is largely the same except for the fruit. You could drink it yourself, except that the Answers raw, fermented goats milk I use in all of them is not for human consumption b/c it’s not pasteurized. So, here’s you some options to get you started. All recipes are for a 50lb dog. Adjust according to your dog’s size.

SMOOTH AWAY!

Straw-Monkey

  • 1 whole banana, peeled (duh) and broken into pieces
  • 5 strawberries, topped
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • small bunch of fresh mint leaves without the stems
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon or turmeric
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Berry Blitz

  • 2 oz Blueberries
  • 2 oz Raspberries
  • 2 oz Strawberries
  • small bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon or turmeric
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Orange Crush

  • 3-4 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric or cinnamon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk.

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8 oz.

Green Goblin

  • 1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
  • small bunch of mint and basil, stems removed
  • 1 tsp dried kelp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw, local honey
  • 1/2 cup raw, fermented goats milk

WHIRRRR in the blender till smooth. Makes 8oz.

I make an 8oz smoothie every morning and divide it between Pearl and Truman. That is their breakfast. They get their meat meal at night.

The goats milk provides them with protein, as well as probiotics to start their day. The cinnamon or turmeric act as natural anti-inflammatories, as well as digestive aids (among other things–enough to fill their own blog post). The garlic is for flea & tick avoidance. Such a small amount should not bother your dog, but some dogs may be hyper-sensitive to garlic. So try a little and see how your dog reacts. If he doesn’t have a reaction, go with it. If he does, please use your brain and quit giving it to him. The raw, local honey is an antimicrobial, contains wonderful phytonutrients, and helps keep seasonal allergies in check.

Give them a try! Simple as pie!

pugs & kisses,

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,

Herbal Healing for the Liver: Milk Thistle Seed

You have to be careful when using herbs.

I admit they intimidate me. There is so much information about what they do, how to prepare them, what level can produce toxicity, what is safe for internal use, what must only be used externally, what is safe for dogs, but not for cats.

I mean, the mind boggles.

But, I’m taking it little by little.

This is not a race: It’s my journey. (And I’m glad to have a few of you as traveling companions, so thanks for coming along! HOLla!)

I had some recent curiosity about Milk Thistle Seed. I’d never heard of it before beginning my course.

Milk Thistle Seed reputedly reverses liver damage in both people and pets.

Drugs, medications, and chemical pesticides, whether injected, ingested, or applied topically to your pup on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, will damage the liver because as we all know, the liver is a critical filter for the body. And when toxins passes through it (drugs & pesticides don’t have to be fatal to be toxic, let’s not be fools), damage occurs to the cells in the organ.

Further, a highly processed commercial diet will also damage the liver eventually because, as we now all know,  the processing of these convenience foods destroys the molecular structure of the nutrients that may have at one time existed in the product.

Failing to support proper liver function can ultimately claim a life. For reals.

Ok. I get it.

How do you go about healing it when you can’t really see that it’s damaged, and you don’t know the signs of a damaged-but-functioning internal organ?

Frankly, I think we must assume it’s there if we feed dry kibble, apply chemical flea & tick repellent, and dose medications– all of which I’ve done for years. After all, our dogs are very stoic companions, and often by the time they begin to exhibit symptoms, the disease, whatever it may be, is usually fairly advanced.

How do we support the liver properly? For starters, get off the processed foods. Feed a balanced, nutritional raw, whole diet.

Then, supplement with Milk Thistle Seed.

  • It’s a little brown seed that produces a pretty little purple flower.
  • Find you a good herb shop (e.g., the Golden Temple) & they’ll have it on the shelf. 
  • Grind it up or brew an infusion and add to food.
  • How much? I really don’t know.

I have been scooping a quarter teaspoon of seeds into my mortar and grinding them with the pestle until the shell breaks down. They’re pretty small and tough little seeds, so it takes some elbow grease to get them to break up.I’ve not made an infusion yet, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

I divide it between Pearl & Truman and sprinkle on top of the food. We’ve done 4 days on, 4 days off, 4 days on. I’ll continue that rotation for the next few weeks.

I may not be using enough, but I don’t think I’m in danger of overdose. Plus, it is my hope that over time, the cumulative effect of even this small amount will feed and repair the liver.

pugs & kisses,