Are you prepared to defend against these critters?
I think it's great that there seems to be more interest in using repellents that are non-toxic. Yet I have seen many natural repellents that do not work which understandably causes frustration and leads to people going back to the chemical products.
If you are determined to be rid of toxic products for good keep reading!
When you are able to avoid using toxic repellents you will avoid all the negative health consequences that are associated with these products. Another issue is that the parasites are developing a resistance to many of the poisonous products that have been used against them. When the toxic products don't work effectively and successive treatments are given, it's the pet that ends up suffering for it. The long term solution to parasite prevention lies in achieving true health. While you are working your way towards that goal you can rely upon the power of plants to assist you.
But before we even think about a repellent to apply to our pets and ourselves I want to first go over what OTHER steps we can take to minimize these annoying critters!
The first and best prevention is to achieve a state of vibrant health including a robust immune system. Why? Because parasites are attracted to hosts that have high amounts of toxins built up in their bodies.
Parasites thrive when they team up with a toxic host.
Do you have any thoughts on why that is?
What would you say if I told you that parasites offer their toxic hosts a very valuable benefit?
Internal (and possibly external) parasites are able to take on some of the hosts toxic load unto themselves. They do in fact help their host to detox. Nature is truly amazing!
But when parasites die they release neurotoxins, heavy metals, viruses, and other toxins. Supporting detoxification pathways while working on eliminating parasites is advised.
Providing a wholesome fresh diet, minimizing exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, minimizing stress and getting a moderate amount of exercise are the fundamentals of building great health. When our pets are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle parasites will be less interested in them. Because our environment is sadly quite toxic, regular detoxification is very much needed for most pets (and their humans) to maintain great health.
While we are addressing these fundamentals, and perhaps making changes to improve our pet's lifestyle so that they will be naturally unattractive to parasites we can employ some other strategies to keep the critters at bay.
Help for the home and yard
There are several ways to discourage fleas and ticks from taking up residence in both our indoor and outdoor spaces. Ticks prefer woodlands and area's with tall grass. Make sure to keep your grass trimmed short and prune back shrubs around walkways. Do not leave piles of leaves, sticks or pulled up weeds laying around. Keeping the grass nice and short will also reduce the numbers of mosquito's. Of course we all know to get rid of any standing water when possible as well.
Fleas prefer warm, shady and humid spots. Only a small percentage of the total flea population will be on the animal at any given time, so to successfully eradicate them from your space you will need to address the whole population. Vacuuming, washing bedding often and dusting diatomaceous earth in corners, along baseboards, on carpets and on cloth surfaces will go a long way to stopping the flea life cycle. There are also non-toxic flea "traps" that involve a pan with soapy water to catch and drown the fleas with some type of light source to attract them (lamp, night light, candle, etc).
Another option when you have fleas in outdoor area's is to apply nematodes to the soil. Nematodes are microscopic worms that love to dine on fleas. Bonus - they also like to chow down on cut worms, Japanese beetle larvae, weevils and more, plus they are not harmful to mammals or plants! You can find them at garden stores or order online.
For larger properties, you might look into getting some guinea fowl, chickens or ducks (they all like to eat ticks!).
Make your outdoor spaces uninviting to pests by growing plants that they dislike such as:
Sweet grass, Marigold, Citronella, Lavender, Catmint, Catnip, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Geranium, Peppermint, Garlic and Lemonbalm.
Lastly, you can treat your outdoor spaces with a non-toxic repellent. Two that I personally like are Cedarcide and Mosquito Barrier.
Ticks take between 12 and 24 hours to start feeding, so checking your pet regularly is very effective to prevent the transmission of tick born disease. Use a fine-tooth tick comb to groom your pet, with extra attention given to the undersides of the body and tail, the head and behind the ears. You can use the same process to brush fleas out of the coat.
There are both oral and topical substances that can provide some sensory camouflage, masking you or your pet's scent that these pesky critters find attractive.
Ingesting garlic orally (daily moderate amounts of raw garlic are safe for dogs) and apple cider vinegar can be of benefit.
Homeopathic remedies can also be used orally for prevention. I do recommend Mozi-Q, I have found it helps to minimize the number of mosquito bites.
Though I have not personally used them, I have heard a lot of very good feedback about Ambertick collars. I would gladly try them if they came in a large enough neck size for my crew!
You can also make your own natural spray repellent. One of the benefits of making your own is that you can customize the ingredients to repel specific bugs.
You can use Cedarcide as a base and add in essential oils or you can make it completely from scratch. Since water and oil do not mix, it is advisable to add a natural emulsifier to your repellent. An emulsifying agent is a substance that can bind together two un-mixable liquids such as oil and water. Aloe vera gel and witch hazel are both natural emulsifiers along with helping to support healthy skin.
To make up a 100 ml spray bottle:
Select a variety of essential oils for the particular bugs you want to repel. I like to have about 40 drops of essential oil for every 100 ml's. Then add in 2 tbsp of Aloe vera gel, 2 tbsp of Neem oil, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and fill the bottle to about 2 thirds with witch hazel. Top off with distilled water. Shake well before using.
Please only use 100% pure essential oils with pets! If you require guidance you can receive that here.
(Use caution with Neem oil in pregnant or nursing animals, or on male animals that are actively breeding as it has the potential to affect fertility in larger doses). Keep in mind that virtually all substances have the potential to cause some toxic reactions, it's all dependent on the dose and how they are used.
Using a multi pronged approach for keeping parasites at bay will set you up for success and allow you to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Now go and enjoy the outdoors!
You may not have heard of this particular holistic modality before, but you are going to want to!
Pet owners can learn this technique and perform it on their pet right from the comfort of their home. I'm a big advocate for empowering pet owners to take an active role in the health of their animals.
Have you ever had that helpless feeling in the pit of your stomach that can arise when a health concern develops with your pet and you feel that there's nothing you can do to assist them? You are anxious to get your animal into the vet's office for help. Now what if you had some tools in your tool box that you could safely use to assist your pet right away - at home? That would be pretty great huh?
Essential Point Therapy is such a tool! It combines the use of therapeutic essential oils and acupuncture to create a powerhouse therapy that anyone can learn.
Essential (essential oils) + Point (acupuncture point) = Therapeutic results!
I believe that nutrition is the foundation of health. It's a phrase that is used frequently, but what does it really mean? To me it means that without a solid foundation of appropriate nutrition, health will not be achieved. There are millions of chemical reactions that support the health of the body which are not able to occur unless the animal is ingesting the required nutrients for these reactions to take place.
The food our pets eat is broken down in the digestive system. This breaking down process is accomplished by acids, enzymes and microbes. Protein for example is broken down into individual amino acids. Once the food is broken down into nutrients, these are able to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. From there the nutrients can be transported where ever they are needed in the body through the blood. Blood delivers water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose, oxygen, salts, hormones and proteins to all the cells in the body.
Contrary to popular belief, a recent study has confirmed that dogs do in fact create Amylase in their saliva.
Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch during the digestion process. It has long been thought that dogs did not create ANY amylase in their saliva, only in the pancreas. Previous studies failed to detect amylase in canine saliva.
A lack of amylase in canine saliva has been used to support the notion that dogs are carnivores, not omnivores. So what is the relevance of this finding that dogs DO create amylase in their saliva? Does this mean dogs are actually omnivores?
Not so fast...keep in mind that what happens in the dog's mouth is just one small part of the whole digestion process. To understand what a dog's dietary needs are, the entire digestive process should be understood.
No one can deny that the cost of Veterinary Care is rising. Medications and procedures can be quite taxing on the wallet.
One of the wonderful benefits of raising your dog using the principles of Naturopathy is that many health problems are prevented, keeping your spending on medical care to a minimum.
Natural modalities are also generally lower in cost than conventional treatments.
Years ago I was faced with the possibility of a huge medical bill for one of my dogs. We ended up at a specialist due to hind limb paralysis. This was a young dog with no history of trauma. The paralysis developed over about 24 hours.
The belief in the healing power of nature is one of the core principles of Naturopathy.
This healing power is an inherent, self-organizing, ordered healing process of ALL living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health. There are natural laws surrounding life, health and disease. These laws involve living in harmony with nature and recognizing the wisdom of the body to heal itself.
The role of naturopathic practitioners is to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of both a healthy internal and external environment.
As medical systems, allopathy and naturopathy have opposing principles and use very different approaches. Just like you can’t be both a liberal and a conservative due to the conflicting standpoints, you similarly cannot subscribe to the principles of both allopathy and naturopathy. The core of your beliefs will place you in one camp or the other.
Conventional or allopathic medicine is the dominant medical model that most of us will be familiar with both in human and animal care. Conventional medicine primarily relies on pharmacological drugs and surgery to suppress symptoms that manifest from disease processes.
The basic principle of allopathy is to oppose the symptom or disease. "The term 'allopathy' was invented by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, he joined the words allos 'opposite' and pathos 'suffering' as a reference to harsh medical practices of his era which included bleeding, purging, vomiting and the administration of highly toxic drugs. The treatment of opposites simply means finding the symptom, for example incessant itching, then drugs are used to disrupt the disease process that is resulting in the itching. The original cause of the itching has not been addressed, but the symptom has been suppressed, offering symptomatic relief to the animal.
To get a clearer picture of Naturopathy let’s take a look at the six fundamental principles which are the foundation of this modality:
Making your own remedies to support your pets and your own health is an empowering experience.
Why would you want to take the time to make a healing salve? I can't say why YOU would want to you, but I can sure share with you why I choose to!
Why not give it a try?
Anyone who has been reading my blog or Facebook page can see that I am an advocate for raising animals naturally. I have reached this standpoint because of many personal experiences and much questioning, research, evaluation and critical thinking. There are certainly many benefits to feeding raw, skipping the antibiotics, chemical flea preventatives and vaccines. But what is so important to understand is WHY these choices make such a difference in the health of our animals.
So what I want to delve into today is how we perceive the means by which our pet's maintain their health and also identify the mechanisms that allow them to regain their health after illness. The truth of the matter is possibly quite different than what you currently believe.
Author - Jennifer Lee
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