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Fleas and Ticks in Dogs – Natural Remedies

Australian Shepherd Puppy. Fall Season

Here at BarkinBISTRO we love everything to be as natural as possible and are constantly being asked by our clients, “Why does our conventional vet insist on monthly flea and tick treatments when our dog does not have fleas or ticks”! We thought that was a great question and in this article, we will give you as much information as we can on the pros and cons of conventional flea and tick treatments.

Like every dog or cat owner, the last thing you want to deal with is pesky fleas and ticks in your home. The sad reality is that if we own a dog or cat, the chances of picking up ticks are pretty high, especially if you live near woods where deer are prevalent and nasty brown hoppers as fleas near rabbit burrows or where hedgehogs have been, not to even mention foxes who seem to carry everything.

Before we delve into this subject, we never hear of foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits or deer dying from tick or flea infestations. Is this because it is not reported or simply because they manage to live with parasites? After all, they have a strong immune system which is more than likely because they eat a ‘species-appropriate’ diet. It’s a big subject here guys.

It would be so convenient if we could just give our pup a chew, tablet or ‘spot-on treatment’ every month or so to prevent fleas, ticks and worms this is the advice from a conventional vet, but sadly these treatments have a dark side and in this article, we will share all we know so that you can make an informed choice for your furry friend.

Can flea and tick treatments harm children?

The answer to this question is YES. We do not wish to scare anyone regarding this question. Still, there are studies to suggest that children who cuddle their pets, having been treated with flea and worm treatments can have an effect on children and neurological issues have been seen, plus ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and ASD (autism spectrum disorder). There are also recommendations that products should not be used by pregnant mothers.

What are the ingredients in Bravecto?

The active ingredient in Bravecto is fluralaner and when used as a ‘spot-on’ treatment is absorbed into the skin and the bloodstream. This ingredient then kills the tick’s nervous system. The oral tablets have the same effect.

There are studies and several websites you can look at, one being www.isbravectosafe.com with great information and sadly it is tough to find the correct amount of dogs and cats affected by this poison.

As an example, the leaflet that most folk don’t read, states these precautions for use in animals:

  • Care should be taken to avoid contact with the eyes of the animal.  Do not use it on skin lesions.
  • Do not wash or allow the dog to become immersed in water or swim in water courses within 3 days after treatment.
  • In the absence of available data, this veterinary medicinal treatment should not be used in puppies less than 8 weeks old and or dogs weighing less than 2kg.
  • This product should not be administered at intervals shorter than 8 weeks as the safety at shorter intervals has not been tested.

Special precautions to be taken by the person administering the veterinary medicinal product to animals:

  • Contact with the product should be avoided and disposable gloves obtained with this product at the point of sale must be worn when handling the product for the following reasons:
  • Hypersensitivity reactions have been reported in a small number of people, which can potentially be serious.
  • Keep the product in the original packaging until use in order to prevent children from getting access to the product. Avoid contact with skin, mouth and or eye. Do not contact the application site until it is no longer noticeable. Read the package leaflet for full user safety information.

In our opinion, here at BarkinBISTRO, any product that gives these warnings should NOT be put anywhere near our beloved pets. Still, sadly this information is not given by conventional vets.  Please don’t think we are anti-vet, quite the reverse, but vets are not given the training at University to educate them on the toxic chemicals put on most of our pets, let alone food. Sadly Big Pharma own a great deal of veterinary practices and in our opinion, that comes at a price – the health and well-being of our pets.

What about flea and tick collars?

We could be thinking that collars are safer than oral or ‘spot-on treatments but again, the chemicals put into flea and tick collars can be really harmful.  Serious effects on the nervous system resulting in neurological problems are often seen. These chemicals leave a residue on your pup’s hair that can remain for weeks and can also be potentially dangerous for children touching them, plus other pets in the household.

Seresto collars

These collars are made of plastic and are impregnated with the active ingredients imidacloprid and flumethrin.  

Imidacloprid also acts on the flea’s and tick’s nervous systems, like other products and flumethrin is thought to repel and kill ticks.  If you look at these products, you should be aware of the warning given.

“DO NOT LET CHILDREN PLAY WITH THIS COLLAR OR REFLECTORS; KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.”

We can put it on our pets, but we shouldn’t let our children touch it – a little frightening folks.

What are the symptoms of flea and tick collar poisoning in dogs and cats?

Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Body weakness
  • Loss of bodily movement
  • Low or high temperature
  • Depression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Incontinence
  • Low blood pressure
  • Obstruction of the intestines due to paralysis
  • Pupils dilated
  • Gastric dilation
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excess salivation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures

There are also cases of skin irritation, loss of hair and eye problems.

What are the active ingredients in Frontline and Frontline Plus?

The active ingredients in Frontline Plus for Dogs are Fipronil 9.8%, (S)-methoprene 8.8% with 81.4% inactive ingredients. The active ingredients in Frontline Plus for Cats are Fipronil 9.8%, (S)-methoprene 11.8% with 78.4% inactive ingredients.

It is worth noting here folks that Fipronil is banned from use on food in the EU because it is associated with kidney, liver and thyroid problems in humans!  However, it seems to be acceptable to use this on our beloved family pet members.

Is Fipronil cancerous?

The research is hard to find and the only information we managed to find was that “Fipronil is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and these findings are considered to apply only to rats.

In our opinion, this is NOT something to take a risk with for your furry friends.

Are flea and tick treatments harmful to the environment?

We found this article published earlier this year which is certainly worth a read and highlights how vets are now being questioned on the amounts of flea and worm treatments they give and how polluted our rivers are becoming, harming wildlife.

Natural remedies for fleas and ticks 

There are many natural products on the market that work well and are completely safe to use link to Holistic Hound product on your website here. Below is a quick and easy recipe if you want to try it too.

What you need:

  • 1 organic lemon
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of ACV (with The Mother)
  • 1 pint of filtered water
  • 1 sprig of lavender

How to make it:

  • Chop the lemon into chunks
  • Place the lemon, rosemary and lavender into a pan with the filtered water
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15/20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely and add the ACV
  • Strain the liquid through muslin into a spray bottle
  • Refrigerate (lasts 2-4 weeks)

This is an everyday flea treatment that is lightly scented and very effective. Spray your pup before walking or going outside. Spray onto their neck, tummy and tail, avoiding contact with eyes.

When coming back from a walk, try using a damp tea towel sprayed with ACV or a few squirts of the recipe above and rub your pup all over – often ticks and fleas come to the surface of the skin and can be removed quickly!

Conclusion

As with all the articles we write, it is highly recommended that you do your research into the products you may be using and ask your holistic vet for help and advice too.

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