Parasite prevention and treatment is an unfortunate but unavoidable part of pet ownership. Parasites are small creatures that live either on or in your pet and feed off his or her blood and the nutrients that it contains. In mild cases, the symptoms and effects of a parasitic infection may be quite mild but in others, particularly those which are severe or left untreated, the consequences can lead to life-long ill health or even prove fatal.
In addition to draining your pet of the goodness she needs to remain healthy, many parasites are also carriers of diseases, some of which can also affect the humans in your home should they also become unwitting hosts. Many of these can have a profound effect on the health and happiness of your furriest family member.
The good news is that many parasite problems can be completely avoided with the use of preventative medications, and if your pet is unlucky enough to be affected, there are plenty of highly effective treatments available. Fleas and ticks are just two types of parasites that you can both prevent and treat.
Are flea and tick solutions safe?
Keeping your furbaby safe from harm is undoubtedly one of your biggest priorities, and many owners find that they feel concerned about giving their pet medications and ointments designed to kill parasites. After all, if a product is harmful to one living thing, even a flea or tick, then surely it must contain some substances that could be harmful to your pet, right?
The fact is that there are many different products on the market that can both treat fleas and ticks and prevent your pet from contracting them in the first place. Many of these contain slightly different blends of chemicals in order to either repel or kill fleas, and naturally some are more hazardous than others.
In addition to being safe for your pet, you also need to ensure that any treatments you use are also harmless should you or another member of the family come into contact with them. A classic example of this is spot-on treatments which are dropped onto an area on your pet’s back and left to spread across her body using her natural oils. However, if these products contain harsh chemicals and you or someone else in your family should come into direct contact with them, you may find that you have a reaction to it.
Ultimately, some flea and tick solutions are widely considered to be safer than others. Here is our guide to the best non-toxic flea and tick solutions for pets.
Make a natural flea repellent spray
Flea repellents don’t have to contain a load of harsh chemicals. Instead, you can make a natural repellent just by adding six or seven drops of essential oils to water and shaking well. Oils to use include citronella, tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint. Pop the solution into a spray bottle and apply a liberal coat to your dog’s coat every other day. However, this cannot be used on cats as they are highly sensitive to essential oils.
If you would prefer to buy a flea and tick preventative solution that contains 100% natural ingredients, then consider something like Dr. GreenPet’s products.
Stick to a fastidious grooming routine
Regular grooming gives you the perfect opportunity to check your pet for fleas and ticks and help ensure her coat remains as healthy as possible. There are plenty of completely natural pet shampoos that you can use when you bathe your pet, some which kills fleas and others which simply prevent them. Check out Vet’s Best Flea Itch Relief Shampoo, Natural Chemistry De Flea Pet Shampoo and the Natural Chemistry product range. Alternatively, ask our vet for a recommendation.
Natural flea and tick collars
Many people automatically assume that flea collars are all packed full of chemical pesticides. However, there are some natural flea collars such as the Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Tag and the Natural Research People Herbal Collar.
Biological control for your outdoors
Many fleas are bought in to your home from outside, jumping onto your pet when she strolls through the neighborhood or through your yard. However, you can treat your immediate outdoor environment with something called a nematode, which is a tiny worm that can help eradicate flea larvae. Nematodes can be applied using a law sprayer, and in around 24 hours approximately 90% of flea larvae present in your backyard will be destroyed.
Nematodes are poison-free and have no effect on anything but flea larvae, making them very safe for humans and other animals that may enter your garden.
Alternatively, you might like to consider a range of products called Wondercide Wondercide is a natural flea controller that is toxin-free. There are options for treating fleas and ticks outdoors and inside your home.
If you would like further recommendations on safe flea and tick solutions, our veterinarians in East Nashville would be delighted to help. Please contact our Mobley Veterinary Clinic team today.