One of the most common problems people have with their pets are fleas. Those pesky little parasites seem to be everywhere, and they can cause some serious problems if not taken care of. But did you know that some of the very things that you use to treat the flea problem on your pet can do more harm in the long run?
The chemicals we use to treat fleas act as poisons. They’re strong enough to kill fleas, but whether or not they have long-term effects on your pets is still unknown. However, we do know that employees of companies that manufacture these chemicals are required to wear protective clothing and use respirators. Also, the product labels warn against skin contact, yet the directions often tell you to put such a product on your pet’s skin. If the chemicals are potentially dangerous to humans, it’s a safe bet that they are probably not the most healthy option for your pet.
Has your veterinarian prescribed prednisone or another drug for your flea-bitten pet? These drugs might help to relieve the itching and inflammation that are associated with flea bites and allergies, but did you know they also suppress your pet’s immune system? They also have possible long-term side effects, such as liver and thyroid damage, hypertension, heart attack, obesity, and water retention.
But before you begin to panic, there are some healthy and helpful alternatives to help your pet become flea-free:
First of all, you should take steps to strengthen your pet’s immune system. Eliminating any and all food allergen’s from your beloved pet’s diet is a must. Supplement the diet with probiotics (such as acidophilus), a digestive enzyme supplement (which will help carry nutrients throughout the body and break down and remove waste that may lead to allergies), and an essential fatty acid (which has been proven to make your pet less attractive to fleas). Adding herbal supplements to your pet’s food and water can help too. A pinch of garlic powder mixed in your pet’s food helps to repel fleas, as will apple cider vinegar in your pet’s water. A low-alcohol tincture of Dandelion Root or Red Clover helps to support the immune system and will help to eliminate wastes. If your pet suffers from severe flea bite allergies (often categorized by inflamed, itchy skin), licorice can help to relieve the problem, as it works as an anti-inflammatory.
Bathing your pet with a mild, herbal pet shampoo can help to bring relief to your pet and will remove fleas and body wastes from the skin. Be sure to only use a shampoo meant for pets. Shampoo for humans is often too harsh for your pet and could contain allergens that worsen a pet’s allergic condition- and don’t shampoo too often! Doing this can cause dryness and irritation. For severe flea allergies, aloe is a perfect choice. A mixture of one part aloe juice to four parts water, poured over your pet’s coat will soothe your pet and can help to relieve itching.
We often think that fleas live solely on our pets. Wrong! Fleas spend roughly eighty percent of their time in the pet’s environment. Because of this, you should apply herbal products to the environment where your pet is most often (bedding, carpet, furniture, etc.). You should look for products that contain extracts or oils of such things as eucalyptus, juniper, cedar, citronella, or citrus oil (which often contains something known as d-Limonine, which can kill fleas).
Fleas are a common worry for any pet owner, but with the right treatment, both you and your pet can rest easy – and flea-free!