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Dog and Cat Flea Problems

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Fleas — this word alone conjures an image of ruthless, blood sucking parasites and in many ways, this description is correct. Fleas are members of what I call the M.N.W.R.U. (Mother Nature's Waste Reduction Union). Unfortunately, fleas never go on strike and unfortunately they fully understand their job description.

A flea's job description in nature is to suck the blood from animals and they are more naturally found on dead carcasses. Unfortunately, fleas don't realize that our animals are alive. However, because so many pets are not as healthy as they should or could be, fleas may become attracted to a pet's body. We must try and get your pet to optimal health because otherwise to fleas, your pet's skin may be similar to that of a dead carcass.

Realizing that fleas are only trying to do their job, a job which in Nature's scheme of things is very important, we can begin to help minimize the numbers of fleas that hop on to our pets and maximize the number of fleas that hop off.

To help fleas hop off our pets, one should try to minimize the amount of toxins that enter your companion and maximize the toxins that leave.

In my opinion, the idea of chemical flea sprays, flea baths, flea collars and so on is ludicrous. These products form the basic arsenal to attack and kill fleas at the moment. I realize fleas can be a problem and one wants to eliminate them as of yesterday, but to what degree is one willing to accomplish this? Are we willing to poison our pets?

Your pet's skin is not immune to chemicals or poisons. It is important that we, the guardians of pets, become more educated. The arsenal used to rid pets of fleas should be sound common sense, natural products and wholesome food.

Fleas like some bacteria and other parasites can build resistance to the chemical means of getting rid of them. In fact, the fleas usually come back stronger and more resistant after the use of chemicals. In addition, chemicals attack your pet's own natural defense systems and poisons harm organs like the liver and kidneys.

I often wonder how some veterinarians can suggest chemical flea products when the labels state do not expose to your skin. If it's not safe to touch our skin, then what are we doing applying them to our pets?!?

Modern technology may create synthetic solutions to get rid of the spiny, strong legged flea, but what are the long term consequences?

We wonder why so many pets suffer from auto immune disease, allergies, cancer and other maladies that are now considered normal.

The people that use chemical products are probably also the people that will tell you that using leeches to draw blood is a crazy idea. Something is definitely wrong in my opinion with chemicals.

Some may say that chemicals are okay because the LD50 value is low thus making the product safe. Well, the LD50 value is used to describe the Lethal Dose required to kill 50 rats out of 100. The way I look at it is 50 dead rats is 50 too many, regardless of how weak the poison.

In addition, one must ask how long do these poisons remain before they break down and become neutralized. Some weak poisons may stay around for a long time which in turn can make them more lethal over the long term.

For immediate relief, some vets may suggest cortisone or they may suggest your pet be put on a program. Now I'm no expert on these products, but cortisone can cause vitamin A and C deficiencies; mineral deficiencies and can harm both the liver and kidneys.

Many vets will say they are safe for use, but once again I always ask myself, how many dogs and cats have autoimmune disorder, kidney or liver problems? The answer is way too many.


So What's A Natural Solution?

Well, let's begin with feeding wholesome homemade food. This will help minimize the toxins that enter your pet's body and maximize the the toxins that leave. This in turn helps create normal and healthy skin. Immediately this helps to create the environment of a healthy animal, not a dead one. Fleas don't like this and begin looking for a new toxic environment.

Now don't expect wholesome homemade food to get rid of every flea and don't expect it to work over night. There are many factors that get involved in determining whether or not there will be a flea problem including, but not limited to, the area in which you live, the climate, time of year and so on.

The good news is that people who feed wholesome homemade food tend to experience fewer fleas and sometimes no fleas as their companions begin their journey on the road of health. The reality is, a flea or two is not a problem. Fleas naturally exist. But a flea infestation, now that's a problem. A flea infestation indicates an unhealthy body but as your pet gets healthier while eating a wholesome homemade diet, then the flea infestation naturally begins to go away.

If you have ever read books like Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats you will notice that for skin problems like fleas, ringworm, mange, ticks to name a few, it is suggested that people should ensure their companion is getting enough of the mineral called sulphur. Sulphur helps with skin problems.

Garlic is said to repel fleas, and it does, but not because of its odour. It does so because it has a high sulphur content. Equally important to ensuring that your companion gets enough sulphur, one needs to ensure your companion can utilize the sulphur. You can be feeding foods high in sulphur, but if your pets can't utilize the sulphur, then the sulphur is useless. The best way, in my opinion, to ensure your companion is utilizing nutrients of all kinds is to feed wholesome, natural foods with good supplements — the key word again is balance.

It's worth noting that it is reported that garlic is said to be toxic to pets in larger doses. This is true of any vegetable that is a member of the onion family. As a result, I personally do not use garlic in my pet's diet. Even though garlic may be safe in lower doses, I simply prefer to not take the chance.

Okay, so you've minimized the toxins entering the body by eliminating chemicals, you're feeding wholesome homemade food, sulphur is coming into the body naturally, so — what else can be done?

Well, in addition to minimizing the toxins entering the body, we can help maximize the toxins leaving by introducing some herbs or nutritional supplements that aid the body in detoxifying. Even if your pet doesn't have fleas, it's always a good idea to help purify the blood, aid the kidneys, liver and lymphatic system.

Obviously, constantly washing the bedding and vacuuming your carpets is another good idea that helps with flea problems.

From a herbal standpoint, a good herbal shampoo can be used to help wash off any toxins and clean the skin. I personally do not use shampoos that contain artificial ingredients like propylene glycol.

I also prefer to stay away from products that contain herbs like cedarwood, pennyroyal, citronella, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil.

It is true that many use these herbs, but we must remember that our pets have a sense of smell 1000 times more powerful than ours. Since the above mentioned herbs are strong smelling, they will give your pets a nauseous feeling, migraines and more.

These products may be suitable for humans, but they should be kept away from dogs and cats. If you don't believe me, put some tea tree oil under your dog or cat's nose and watch them turn away!

In addition, these products can irritate the skin and we must always remember that any product that goes onto the skin of our pets should be safe to be licked internally. For example, even if pennyroyal had a soft aroma, we still must remember that this herb is lethal and has been used to induce abortions. Pennyroyal should only be used while under the direct supervision of a master herbalist. It is reported that only 50mg/kg of pennyroyal oil can be lethal.

These products sell quite well because just like with commercial pet foods, it is the human that is buying these products and not the pets. Our pets don't have a choice. They rely on you.


What's The Herbal Flea Alternative For Pets?

In the past, I used to use the ancient herb called erigeron. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find this herb. So this information is provided more for its educational purposes.

Erigeron is a rarely used herb that dates back to Medieval times when the herb was burnt as a smudge stick to clear the air of insects. This herb is still used by native Indians who make a tea from it.

Luckily, erigeron does not overpower your dog or cat's sense of smell. It helps to deter, zap and exterminate fleas naturally because of its aroma. It is soothing and healing to the skin. If licked internally it is said to aid digestion.

I personally have used erigeron flea application on myself when I was hiking to help get rid of the bugs. I've also used erigeron to remove an itch created by my knapsack. I used to always keep it on hand for immediate use on either my pets or myself.

I've also seen erigeron literally make fleas jump off one cat that had a major infestation.

Now I know what you are thinking, you're saying, if this herb is so good, why doesn't everyone use it. Well, the truth is that erigeron is classified as a weed by many. It's common name is Canadian Fleabane and is probably growing in a forest or pasture near you, but because it is a weed, farmers don't grow it.

Erigeron will overtake the land if planted and so farmers fearing the loss of their fields, terminate it. In addition, erigeron can only be harvested for one week out of the year. Truly, erigeron is an interesting herb.

For around the home or yard, I used to suggest a natural product called Greg's Green Earth as it helps to effectively eliminate fleas; however, much like erigeron, this product is no longer available. It was made from calcium based salt covered in natural oils. A product like this will stick to the fleas and then dehydrate them rather than poison them. Clearly a better choice than chemicals you spray in your home. A product like this which is environmentally friendly will not harm your pets, you or your family.


What About Brewer's Yeast?

Although many products contain brewer's yeast, I prefer to stay away from yeast of all kinds. Companies use yeast because they know people expect it in the product. It is highly unlikely that brewer's yeast gets rid of fleas. Some may swear by it, I only swear at it.

Yeast is extremely hard for carnivores to digest. Remember, carnivores have short intestinal tracts in comparison to us humans. Yeast therefore can be stuck in your companion's intestinal tract undigested. As a result of being undigested, some say yeast can trigger allergies in pets.

In addition, yeast is said to cause a calcium deficiency in pets because the calcium to phosphorus ratio found in yeast is out of balance with that of a carnivore's. Some may say yeast is needed for its nutrition, especially the B vitamins, but if you're feeding raw meats, then your pet should be getting all of the B vitamins it needs. Raw meat is an excellent source of B vitamins.

The idea behind using yeast may be okay for humans, but not pets. Most people are aware that vitamin B1, which is found in yeast, may help get rid of bugs on humans. Supposedly, vitamin B1 comes out through your pores and creates an aroma bugs don't like. Well, unfortunately dogs and cats don't sweat except for on their paws. So, if you want to eliminate fleas from the paws of your pets, then maybe yeast isn't so bad. But seriously, you will probably find your pet will do better without yeast.

Just remember, something can be an excellent source for nutrition, but if your body cannot utilize the nutrition, then it isn't such a good source after all.


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