Fleas & Ticks

Our latest blog post by Anna Shaw

With the longer days and the warmer weather creeping in, that dreaded time of year is also almost upon us again, yes we are talking about flea and ticks!

What is a flea?

A flea is a tiny, often brown in colour parasite that lives on the body of their host feeding from their blood. Although flightless they can jump up to 50 times their body size and hop from host to host where they will attach themselves to your pets fur with their claws.
The gory pest doesn’t stop there, they can lay their eggs within 48hrs of their first blood meal and these eggs can then hatch anywhere between two to ten days depending on conditions such as heat and season and before you know it you are overrun.
As you can imagine, these awful little pests can not only cause your dog or cat itching, discomfort, anaemia in extreme cases and for many, allergies from the flea bites themselves. They are also a pain to rid them and their eggs from the environment your pet lives in.

The Dreaded Tick

A tick is also a very small blood sucking parasite which attaches itself to your dog or cat. Although not able to jump or fly, the tick often attaches itself to your pet when they brush against the area a tick is holding on to which is often long grassy or woody areas. Ticks then make a microscopic hole in your pets skin where they will then bury their head and then suck on their blood until removed or they simply fall off. These nasty little creatures need blood to survive. A single tick bite can also cause lymes disease so needs to be dealt with swiftly but more about that later.

Is Chemical Prevention better?

Whilst we have all seen the vet plans for chemical monthly flea and tick medications available, or advertisements for flea and tick products from larger pet store chains, which can be either be ingested or applied topically, I have always been a big believer in the many natural remedies available especially when you read papers with scientific backings not only about the way we are polluting our streams and rivers with these products, but also the damage we are doing to our pets with them.
Certain brands of prescription only and shop brought flea and tick medications have long been associated with skin irritation, breathing difficulties, weakness, seizures and stomach upsets to name but a few and with so many natural products proven to work on the market, is there really a need to run the risk of poisoning your pet?
Chemical treatments such as these above contain pesticides and neurotoxins which will poison, paralyse and kill fleas and ticks when they bite. We are advised when applying or giving them to our pets to immediately wash our hands and to seek medical advice if we accidentally ingest these products due to their poisonous nature yet these are the very treatments we give to our pets to prevent an infestation which may never happen, we are to put it simply “poisoning our pets just in case”!
Prevention is better than cure!
As mentioned there are many natural products available to help avoid and deter those pesky critters but did you know that with fleas and tick being parasites, they are said to be most attracted to those who are weakest or those who aren’t in tip top condition, so ensuring that your pet has a healthy balanced diet and over all good gut health is paramount first and foremost.
Some of the natural products we provide work from the inside out and are available in both powder and tincture form, they contain no hidden chemicals or nasties, such as
Herbal Dog Co Natural Flea & Tick Blend, Proflax Keep Off Me powder or tincture and also Hedgerow Hounds Natures Bounty which all contain a carefully selected blend of herbs to not only support skin and gut health but to also to help deter external parasites.
If you would prefer to use a natural topical treatment instead of an internal supplement or as well as, then Herbal Dog Co All Natural Flea & Tick Spot On maybe for you or even Herbal Pet Supplies No More Bites which contains nothing but Aqueous, Quassia Bark, Bitter Apple Extract , Lemongrass and Lavender the latter can be applied to the back of your pets neck once a week and also can also be used on your pets bedding and around the home.
Heading off on a walk and wanting extra protection? A simple spritz of Herbal Dog Co Natural Flea Protect Spray may be what you are after then. Once again it’s not only packed full of natural products that won’t harm the environment around you but can also be used around the house for added protection.
Pushing all supplements, spritz and sprays aside, it’s always best to check your pet once or twice a week for fleas and ticks, in the hotter part of the season then daily checks with a flea comb for if you can and for ticks you can either check your dog over after you have been for walks in areas they are prevalent in or just try to avoid those areas as best as you.

Help my pet has fleas!

Firstly please don’t panic or worry, it can happen to the best of us especially in the extreme heat and at this point it’s good to remember that even a chemically treated dog can suffer an infestation and you most certainly aren’t alone!
The first thing to do would be to wash your dog in a natural Flea shampoo which is designed to help rid your pet of fleas whilst still being gentle on their skin then to go over them with a flea comb twice a day for the next ten days minimum and to use a product such as Herbal Pet Supplies No More Bites which can be diluted down as per their guidelines and used daily on both your pet and around your home for seven to ten days (three weeks if you can just to be sure you have broken the cycle).
If you have a steamer then it would also help to steam everything daily from skirting boards to sofas, curtains and carpets (remember a flea can jump up to 50 times its body size).
Warriorbullz Diatomaceous Earth can also be used in instances such as these so long as you use them in a well ventilated area. Diatomaceous Earth suffocates all fleas and bugs that stand in its way just be careful not to breath it in yourself. You can apply this to your pets fur preferably whilst outside and then simply wash them off thoroughly.
Once you are confident you have rid all fleas then you can go back to your usual routine.

Help my pet has a Tick (or two)

Once again please do not panic, these horrid little creatures aren’t going anywhere fast.
Firstly check your pet all over just to ensure that there are only the one or two then before removing I would strongly recommend just contacting a holistic vet to advise on any homeopathic remedies that can be used at the time such as Ledum Palustre (also known as just Ledum). This is for any puncture wound, sting or bite and is said to help to with Lymes disease which is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by ticks. Thankfully the number of affected ticks in the UK are very low but it’s still very much a concern and one that should be taken seriously as Lymes disease or Borreliosis as it’s also known as is said to cause swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and loss of appetite along with a high fever among other symptoms.
If you would rather or are a seasoned professional then a tick remover and Ingenious Probiotics Dermo (wound) Care is a must! Simply remove the tick making sure you have removed the whole thing head included and then use only the Dermo Care Spray on the area where the skin has been broken.
If you would like any information or advice on anything mentioned in this blog then please feel free to drop us a call to discuss further.