Pin It
Favorite

No flea zone: chemical-free flea control 

Given enough time, most Louisiana pet owners know the itchy, infuriating, ankle-slapping hell of a bad flea problem. The blood-sucking bugs love Southern heat and humidity.

  Though topical medications such as Advantage, Revolution and Cheristin are the first line of defense against fleas, pet owners can incorporate more natural methods in their ongoing flea control strategy and to help pets recover from an outbreak. Below, find tips about chemical-free flea recovery.

Choose your weapons wisely. Though all-natural flea treatment might work in other environments, VetNaturally veterinarian Ashley Geoghegan (known professionally as Dr. G) cautions that a fully chemical-free strategy isn't effective in Louisiana.

  "There are lots of natural remedies you can use (for prevention), but if you're actually having a flea problem in the home ... they're harder to get control of," she says. "And you have to use Western medicine for those cases." A topical flea treatment can protect your pet from uncomfortable and even dangerous consequences of flea infestation, such as anemia.

  After applying medication, you can move on to natural methods to dampen infestations and prevent recurrence. Substitute an intensive cleaning regimen for sprays and bug bombs. Wash bedding and pet bedding regularly — organic detergent is fine; use the washer's hottest water setting. Vacuum daily to remove fleas and flea eggs from the carpet. Use a narrow-toothed flea comb on your pet.

Try essential oils. As part of an overall prevention strategy, Geoghegan suggests experimenting with essential oils with flea-repelling smells, such as lavender or peppermint.

  Essential oils can be toxic in high doses, so exercise caution when introducing them to the home. Try putting a few drops on your pet's breakaway collar or in a diffuser, but pay close attention to your pet's reaction.

  "Pets have a way stronger nose than we do," she says. "Everyone has sat next to the lady on the airplane with too much perfume ... that's the equivalent of putting scents [around] a pet that they don't like."

  If your pet shows signs of scent aversion, like refusing to enter a room with an essential oil diffuser, discontinue use. Also, make sure you're buying high-quality oils that are properly sealed and labeled with official designations such as "organic," rather than vague terms such as "natural" or "medical-grade."

Fight itching with a host of natural treatments. As your pet recovers from a case of fleas, you may notice ongoing itching.

  "If [pets] have a severe allergy to it, they can have an associated scratching ... up to three weeks past the last flea bite," says veterinarian Michelle Jobert of Well Adjusted Pet.

  To help soothe itching, flea allergy dermatitis and associated skin problems like bacteria and yeast infections, Jobert suggests an oral solution of apple cider vinegar at a dose of one tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight. If a picky cat won't cooperate with an oral dosage, pet owners can mix a dilute solution of one part vinegar to two parts water as a topical spray to calm itchy skin.

  For a dry coat or skin flakiness in the wake of a flea infestation, Jobert recommends an oral dose of coconut oil. The maximum dosage is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight, but pet owners should start at a quarter or half that dosage to prevent stomach upset and loose stools.

  Geoghegan adds that dry kibble can cause inflammation and dehydration, which can make pets more reactive to the effects of flea and mosquito bites. Switching to wet food may make your pet more comfortable. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, offered by both vets, may address a tendency toward itchiness and skin problems.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Pin It
Favorite
Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in New Orleans Pets

More by Kat Stromquist

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation