In some parts of our country, the weather is starting to really warm up. Living on a special needs dog sanctuary, warmer weather means something more than pretty flowers getting ready to bloom. It means that those little insect pests are about to visit, too! It is time to go to work–beating those fleas and ticks before they settle in!
Just this week alone, I’ve had to fill up the bird feeders twice–with hulless seed, of course! (A few years ago, I learned the importance of buying seed that can’t grow when it falls on the lawn–after growing about a million-zillion sunflowers, from the seeds that the birds dropped as they fed. I kid you not!)
Listening to the birds singing every morning this week (I adore that time of the day), woke me out of my winter slumber. Spring is just about here and pretty soon, fleas and ticks will all be hatching or coming out of hiding, ready to latch on to any warm-blooded animal.
Many people think that using the monthly spot-on treatments are an easy, effective solution to getting rid of/preventing fleas and ticks on their pets, and so did I. That is, until I rescued an animal (Poppy) that ran as fast as he could–and hid–whenever he smelled the chemical concoction when I opened a spot-on treatment. That made me stop and think. Animals are really smart. If he was upset about that stuff I was about to put on his skin, maybe I should investigate ‘why’ and look for a safer solution.
I thought that I would share what I do to beat fleas and ticks naturally–and organically. (Remember, I am not a vet!)
These are the liquids that you place on the animal’s skin, between the shoulder blades, or all the way down their back. (FYI, they don’t feel so great if you get the liquid on your own hand–and there are health warnings about what to do if that happens–to you!)
Looking into it, you’ll find that animals still being exposed to these products, are having reactions from the allergic to sick tummies to seizures–and even death. I had to ask myself, is getting rid of fleas, or keeping them under control with these treatments worth the life of my animals? I had to find a better solution.
Beat Fleas and Ticks Naturally and Organically
I did a lot of research, and tried a lot of products, before I came up with a couple of different alternatives that I use regularly on my animals at the Rescue Ranch.
1. Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) mixed with Organic Cinnamon is my regular Go-To: Mixed together at a ratio of 2/3 to 1/3, the DE pierces the shells of the insects and they eventually dehydrate and die (sorry). The cinnamon, is not only is a natural repellant, but it makes your animals, and your house, smell oh-so-good.
Just make sure that you DO NOT get this very fine powder in anyone’s eyes or noses–yours or your animals! It is easily made airborne, so sprinkle it very close to your animal’s fur (I apply my pre-mixed powder at the back door, while holding their collar. I take a handful and apply it directly onto their fur–I let it pour out slowly from the gap made between my thumb and pointer finger curled into a circle–along their back, from just above the collar to the tail–and then let them run right outside and shake. This method will disseminate it throughout their fur, but it will also keep them from inhaling the cloud of dust that will form when they do shake! Repeat this once a week and/or after they take a bath (get wet) and have dried off. (Note: Use several handfuls if you have a big animal–less for a smaller one.)
(Tip: You can apply the powder while the animal/s are standing in, say a plastic baby pool, and collect the fallen powder to reuse or, as I do, leave it on the tile floor entry for them to run back through when they come in, lightly coating their feet and toes!)
2. Make up a spray of water and essential oils like cedar, cinnamon, even citronella (a great repellant for mosquitoes). The same safety issues apply–this will sting if they get it in their eyes or yours! (I use a small drop of soap, too, in the spray bottle to help the oil and the water mix together.) This can be used to spray bedding as well, just let it dry before the animal sits on it again.
3. Depending on your pet type, research the supplements that you can add to their food to start the bug-repelling from the inside, out. Check out garlic, brewer’s yeast, or vitamins and foods that will help build up their bodies from the inside and repel the bugs but you’ll probably need something else, too.
4. Check with your vet/do your research to make sure that your pet can be exposed to any essential oil or spice or supplement, etc. that you want to use. Test them, too, by exposing them to a tiny bit first, too–whether it be a skin test for oils or a little bit of an ‘edible’ to make sure that they don’t have an allergic reaction.
(Every animal can have a different reaction and every type of animal is different. Ask your vet, regardless, what you should have in your pet first aid kit for allergic reactions and always know where that kit is–or have several around the house or farm. You just never know when you may need it.)
A Few More Tips
Remember, when giving your animal a bath, put a little bit (10-20 drops) of one or several therapeutic essential oil/s in the water and swirl around with a few drops of soap (remember to help the oil mix with the water) before putting your animal in the water. This will kill the bugs that are smart enough to jump off of your animal but fall into the water. Otherwise they will hit the water and jump again, inhabiting your bathroom or laundry room until the next warm-blooded animal wanders by.
I also add a little bit of cinnamon oil into their conditioner to help repel pests. (I always soap up around the collar area first–and quickly–using the oiled water and shampoo, to stop the fleas from rushing to the animal’s head–which is hard to wash and de-flea!) I do around the tail area next, since this can be a heavily infested area and the longer the solution sits, the more pests will drop off.
I also treat the house and Rescue Ranch with DE and cinnamon by making sure it is in all crevices, under mattresses, furniture, basically anywhere a flea or tick could hide. Vacuum it up once a week (or every other if need be) with a vacuum that can handle fine dust and has a good HEPA filter or the fine powder will ruin your machine. If you don’t have one, slowly sweep it up so you don’t create a “cloud” of the DE/cinnamon dust that will hurt your eyes and make you–and your pets–cough and sneeze.
IF you treat your abode and the animals, you must treat their outdoor area as well–otherwise they will just bring the pests in again! I use the better organic DE with Bentonite (and cinnamon) for the animals and indoors and a food-grade, less expensive, just plain DE for outside. Remember, if it gets wet, you must reapply. This goes for outside, too.
You do have to treat your animal’s ear–but that’s a story for another time (dealing with ears is complicated). So ask your vet, what is the best way to make sure there are no fleas or ticks or eggs in their ears. Maybe a drop of mineral oil or a flush or some other solution that you can make up would work. Just know that they hide…everywhere!
Finally, do NOT use the DE for swimming pools. It is NOT the same thing.
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
“Remember, the more people we can reach, the more animals we can help!”
Please Share this Post. Thank you!