In California, spring is a time when nature blossoms. The wildflowers are out in full bloom and many baby critters are born. The downside of all this for those of us with pets are the pests.
If you’re around any kind of grass – and who isn’t? – well, of course, there’s fleas.
In the wilderness areas, you’ll have to watch out for those ticks.
If you’re around standing water, you’ll more than likely get mosquitoes – which might be of concern because of the risk of heartworm. Of course, monthly heartworm preventatives, which are routinely prescribed at your typical vet’s office – along with the cocktail of flea and tick killers – shouldn’t be taken lightly.
So what are you supposed to do? Fortunately, there are a few natural options definitely worth trying:
Pool owners may be familiar with DE as a pool filter. While the fossilized remains of sea and freshwater algae-like organisms that now make up the powdery white substance used in pool filtration systems are also used as natural pest control, it’s important to note that the quality is different. Only food-grade DE should be used for pest control for your pets. When food-grade diatomaceous earth is used, you have a healthy little alternative to chemical flea and tick control products. While food-grade DE is safe for humans and pets, the microscopic glass-like fragments kill a variety of insects, including ticks and fleas. The DE can be applied directly onto your pet’s coat when a flea infestation is suspected; though you don’t want to apply it directly too frequently as the DE can be drying (which is how it helps kill pests). Consider a conditioning bath to prevent skin dry-out. Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled around the house, on bedding and outside. When using inside, leave it there for a few days before vacuuming.
Lemon Skin Tonic
Veterinarian Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn recommends an easy DIY lemon tonic. Just take a whole lemon, sliced thinly, and place it into a pint of nearly boiled water. Turn off the heat and let it all steep overnight. The following day you can use a sponge or spray bottle to put it on your pet as a natural flea-killer and all-around parasite repellent. It’s also very soothing to the skin, brightens up the hair and acts as a natural deodorizer. (Note: Combined with sun exposure, the lemon tonic may lighten hair of darker coats. But it’s probably a small price to pay if it can naturally keep the fleas away!)
Essential oils have many potential benefits and uses for humans and animals. Of course, they are strong and you don’t just want to grab them and start applying them without doing your homework. Quality is extremely important and knowledge on what your dog or cat – cats are particularly sensitive to essential oils – may do well on. So do your research! If you’re looking for an easy place to start, check out this lavender-lemon eucalyptus blend by Daisy Paw to repel mosquitos, ticks and other bugs. The company even sells collar attachments that you can easily apply the oil into. This blend is for dogs only and not to be used on cats.