If I were to write a list of dis-eases in pets caused by bugs … well the list would be long. Not reinventing the wheel > click HERE for a nice thorough list and it prints on nineteen (19) pages! There’s many more dis-eases … have you noticed some people and pets change behaviors around the full moon? Parasites tend to be more active at that time!
Some icky bugs may be more than visually displeasing. “Vector-borne diseases are those transmitted by fleas or ticks (among other parasites) that infest dogs and cats. They can affect pets and people. Ticks can transmit a large number of “vectorborne” diseases in North America including ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia” (CAPC). It seems that vector-borne diseases are becoming more common and sadly at times fatal.
How does a tiny well-hidden bug cause this much trouble? It’s easy to blame the pest. What’s the root cause that allowed this much turmoil in a mammal’s body? “[…] pathogen is not the direct cause, only a symptom of an imbalance […]”, (Engel, 2003). What does that mean!? It’s so simple, keep it simple! A weak immune system attracts pests and parasites. The imbalance is a reminder of the laws of nature.
Let’s pick at a large veterinary profit segment – heartworm. How do you feel thinking of Heartworm? Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! Actually, Don’t! Once you gain an understanding of the immune system, the fear tactics become obvious. With fear mongering, it’s been forgotten that a perfect storm is needed for this common parasite to infect a dog.
There are two events that need to happen for this parasite to have its successful devastation:
A mosquito becomes infected by biting an infected dog. An infected dog must be at an infection stage 1 (L1). It normally takes 14 days for the larvae to mature to stage 3 (L3). It’s a short window to bite the infected dog!
A dog can harbor the parasite. A male and a female is needed. The larvae will live in the skin. For two weeks, the temperature must be above 50f to 55f. A drop-in temperature will cause the loss of the perfect host - the dog.
Picture retrieved from the Advice for Dog Owners website for illustration purpose only.
Read the highlighted words on this snippet below from of a veterinary’s website page. Modern medicine teaches us that all heartworm parasitic stages are bypassed, and we should run to get treatment for our pets?
What’s so wrong with treatments to eradicate the pests? Per the FDA “Flea and tick products for pets are regulated by either FDA or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” Wait, WHAT!? EPA … why is the EPA involved in a health related treatment? Read the warning label on the products you apply on your pets. They are pesticides to eradicate pests. It will affect the health of your pets, kids, and others who come in contact with the pesticide.
Click HERE for the Frontline Material Safety Data Sheet. After reading it, does any of it sound ok with you when thinking of your pets or your kids cuddling your pets?
What options do we have to keep our pets free of pests? Trust Nature! Fight Nature with Nature. A few ground rules in our home is to keep our environment clean with no toxic substances. No toxic cleaning products, air fresheners, etc … and we incorporate natural stuff. It smells much better than the conventional store-bought bottles. Also, our lungs are in much better shape. Mammals are built with detox and eliminative organs. Want to or not, humans and our pets detox everyday – we are built this way to stay alive … it’s important to keep those organs clean so they can do their job. Applying pesticides to eradicate life may take care of the visual symptom (the pests) but will leave a damaged terrain, primed for deep rooted chronic issues. Pests prefer a weak host. A weak host provides them with an environment they can thrive in without being killed off by the host’s immune system. “The presence of fleas (and/or parasites) should be viewed as an indicator of an animal’s overall, general health,” (Thomason, n.d.). A species appropriate diet provides the foundation for health and an opportunity to thrive instead of surviving. It’s been observed that there was an increase in fleas with the introduction of kibble.
Natural selection doesn’t discriminate. Survival of the fittest is an outdated saying. “[…] only the individuals most suited to their environment have survived to breed,” (Engel, 2003). Animals in the wild can seek opportunities to survive. Our pets, in domestic settings, I mean … in captivity … depend on us! Caution to pet owners! […] a Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association report listed numerous instances of tea tree oil toxicity in dogs and cats from 10 years of incident data from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center database, (Becker, 2014). Pet owners should be vigilant when using essential oils around cats and pregnant animals.
Herbs, essential oils and other natural tools can assist to deter pests and keep your companions safe. They can also help boost the immune system to ward off pests and help detox as well.
One of my favorite around the house is Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It is safe in and on mammals and “[…] a deadly insecticide for fleas, ticks, mites, bedbugs, chiggers, and other insects. DE works by making microscopic cuts in the exoskeleton of the insect as they pass through the powder; and the absorbing their bodily fluids, killing them,” (Bardot, 2012). Take care and keep away from your pets’ eyes and from their respiratory airways. The fine dust may cause major irritation.
Essential oils have gained popularity in use recently. Use a trusted brand, try to filter through marketing. I tested a few brands and found one I can inhale without coughing and within reason my cats do not react … ok I don’t go and spray tea tree all over … I usually keep windows open and use safe oils for a short period at a time. There are many combinations to create pest repellants – have fun! Dogs Naturally Magazine provides an example of combining 20 drops of Geranium oil with two tablespoons of almond oil and put a few drops on the dog’s collar. I also like to spray oils around the outside play area. You can experiment with some of your own combinations. Ideas to play with are Cedarwood, Eucalyptus Radiata, Geranium, Idaho Tansy, Lavender, Lemongrass, Thyme, Rosemary, the list is endless. Always use with care on animal species and size.
Catnip! Not just for cats … I use it a lot. The benefits I see … spiders don’t like it, yeah for me! Happy cats and no spiders. Hint: I use organic catnip, two keywords here: organic and catnip. Organic does make a difference!
Brush your companions. Simple acts of care will go a long way. Bonding and an opportunity to watch out for pests. Look at pest hideout areas such as paws, ears, the genital area. It’s a good idea to keep the outside area around homes clean, low trimmed grass and brushes.
All of the above are great to implement, but most important is the first line of defense. How strong is the immune system? A good immune system should ward off external and internal pests. Species appropriate nutrition is the foundation to a strong immune system!
Need more motivation to use nature to retain your home clean and your pets healthy? "Selection will not have favored those individuals that waited until they were sick before paying attention to their health,” (Engel, 2003).
Nature is simple. Contact me for a consultation. I’ll teach you about species appropriate nutrition and more ideas to keep your companions and environment happy. Your pet(s) depend on you, you are their best advocates. You owe it to them - to provide them with the best foundation to a healthy life!
P.S. I love life! Important message about holistic practitioners being killed off > Click Here
“Don't believe what I post research what I post,”
Chantal L Regan
Certified Animal Naturopath
Student of Animal Acupressure
Mind Animal Spirit LLC
Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is for educational purpose only and is not intended to replace medical care or to diagnose. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.
AKC. Dog Parasites. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/flea-tick/parasites/
CAPC. Fleas, Ticks & Your Pet. http://www.petsandparasites.org/resources/fleas-ticks-your-pet
Advice For Dog Owners. Lifecycle of Heartworm Part 2. http://www.heartwormtreatment-fordogs.com/lifecycle-of-heartworm-part-2/
FDA. Safe Use of Flea and Tick Products in Pets. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm169831.htm
Engel. (2003). wild health lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Thomason. (n.d.) Fleas and Ticks, The Wholistic Truth. Retrieved October 23, 2016 from https://www.thewholedog.org/artfleas.html
Dogs Naturally Magazine. (2010). Ticks: Natural Prevention and Care. Retrieved October 25, 2016 from http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ticks-natural-prevention/
Bardot. (2012). Safely destroy fleas on pets - Finally, a non-toxic, natural way to kill fleas, mites, chiggers and other parasitic insects on pets and in the house. Retrieved October 25, 2016 from