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FIGHTING FLEAS NATURALLY

As we all become more aware of the damages being done to our environment, our pets, and ourselves by the prolonged use of pesticides, more and more people are looking for safe, natural ways of solving their flea problems.

The fact is, the laws of nature dictate that what nature creates, nature controls, making natural methods of pest control far more effective and lasting than mankind’s “quick fix” poisons. It is important to realize, however, that there is no “silver bullet” whether natural or chemical that will eliminate your problems, and if it claims to, beware. Nothing you can drop on, spray on, strap on, or wash on your pet will magically keep the fleas off of him without long term repercussions. The war on fleas can only be won safely by fighting on three battlegrounds: in your pet, on your pet, and in your pet’s environment.

“In your pet?” What does that mean? It means that what you feed your pet makes a difference as to how attractive he is to fleas in the first place. Why? Because according to the laws of nature, fleas have a job to do. They are a parasite, and it is the job of the parasite to eliminate the weak and minimally healthy from the gene pool and the food chain. Alive does not necessarily mean healthy. Although commercial foods may keep your pet alive, maximum health doesn’t generally come from by-products, chemical preservatives, 4D (dead, diseased, dying, and disabled) meats, peanut hulls, artificial coloring, and other waste materials from the human food and cosmetic industry which are routinely used in most commercial pet foods. Read labels! Find natural foods using no chemical preservatives, no by-products, chelated minerals, whole grains, etc. Many of these are available locally. Remember too that natural does not mean hypo-allergenic, and if your pet has skin problems you need to be much more selective in your label reading. That’s another whole topic. If your pet has skin problems of any type, call, we’ll help.

As for on your pet, it is important to realize that pets in Florida need to be bathed very frequently. At the very least monthly, but in general every week or every other week. There are many good, natural products on the market. A number of essential herbal oils provide repellant properties, aid in relieving itching and skin irritation, and conditioning for shiny, soft coats. Fifteen such oils make up the product Critter Oil® which can be mixed with common household items to produce shampoo, spray, and other items.

The frequency and thoroughness of bathing your pet is probably the most important factor in killing fleas. This is especially true when using natural products which, unlike poisons, kill fleas by breaking down the waxy, ecto (exterior) skeleton. In other words, they literally Clean Them To Death! If your natural shampoo didn’t work, it is probably because you failed to get your pet clean clear down to the skin and his own body oils acted as a shield for his fleas. To eliminate this problem, bathe your pet several times, and allow the last shampoo to sit on him for ten minutes or more.

The final battleground is your pet’s environment. This includes both your house and your yard. If you don’t treat both thoroughly and routinely, you will never win the war. There are far too many natural treatments to mention here, but one of the best is Diatomaceous Earth; the bleached form of this can be found as Pure DE Filter Powder in the swimming pool supply department. There is also an ingestible form which is safe enough to eat. In case you’re wondering, it is the ground up casings of small creatures called Diatoms from Great Salt Lake. This product, spread lightly over the yard, takes about three weeks to do a clean out (as does any natural product) but will keep you flea free in a fenced in yard for 6 months to a year! The most fascinating new yard treatment is one which applies small organisms called nematodes to the yard. These in turn eat the flea larvae, thus breaking down the life cycle. Once the larvae are gone, the nematodes themselves die. The manufacturer recommends monthly treatments. For inside your home, it is possible to build a “flea trap” out of common household items that is very effective, or a carpet powder made of Critter Oil®, baking soda, salt, and Borax will keep your home flea free.

It is not possible to write everything in this brief article, but I hope that I have touched upon enough information to make each reader look more closely into natural methods. By using these methods, my personal pets have been flea free for their entire lives and we have not treated the environment for over ten years! Good food and weekly Critter Oil® baths have done it all, and saved us fortunes in vet bills and flea treatment. Mother Nature works for free, and without harm to her children. We need to start now to clean up the earth - it’s the only home we have.

Susan Griffin is a co-owner of The Clip Joint & Naturals for Animals in St. Petersburg. She is a graduate of the New York School of Dog Grooming, Orchard Kennels School of Training, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Ecology & Animal Behavior from Utah State University, and advanced study certificates in Hypnotherapy. As a Holistic Pet Care Specialist, she developed Critter Oil® and other natural pet care products, written “The Healthy Pet Handbook”, and published several articles nationally. She can be contacted by calling 727-327-2356.


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