Fleas, yuck. I will not shy away from the truth: I hate them. I absolutely hate them. Cordelia has had them in the past and it has sometimes felt impossible to kill these little guys. I even had them once. Yup, that is right, I had them. It wasn’t for lack of hygiene, lest you think I never bathe. Nope, and it wasn’t Cordelia either (we had her checked). Do you want to know what it was? Squirrels nesting in our walls. Turns out those cute fuzzy tree-huggers are also dirty vermin. I haven’t felt quite the same towards squirrels since I found out they were responsible for the bites (over 70) around my middle.
But we aren’t here to talk about me, not really. Instead lets talk about fleas and our pets and how to prevent them meeting. Prevention is the name of the game, in my opinion. Yes, you can wait until they are riddled with the nasty little mites and slather chemicals on them, killing the fleas and doing god-knows-what to your pet, but why? Wouldn’t it be better if they never ever got them in the first place? Impossible you say? Maybe, but maybe not…
The key to flea prevention is health. The healthier the animal the less likely the fleas will choose it as a host. You see, fleas don’t want to work too hard. The healthier the pet, the thicker the skin, the harder it is to get at that nice, warm blood.
Start by feeding the best food you can. In my humble opinion that would be, oh-so-bio-appropriate, raw food (NPP, Primal, Pepperdogz, Stella & Chewy’s, NV, RadCat, home prepared). Next would be some sort of dehydrated raw, which many people find easier to handle and great for traveling (honest kitchen, Ziwi Peak, NV, Sojos). Of course, a great option too, if you can’t do raw, is to do a home prepared, cooked diet. If that can’t be done, canned foods, which contain moisture, would be my fourth choice (Tripett, NV Instinct, Evanger’s, Evo) . Lastly, kibble, preferably a grain-free for most breeds, and always avoid corn, wheat and soy (Orijen/Acana, TOTW, NV Instinct/Prairie, Innova/Evo/California Natural) . Any time I make a food recommendation you can assume I mean foods that contain human grade, not pet-grade ingredients.
Once you have a good base, it’s time to add some supplements. The supplements I suggest will help with flea prevention by boosting the overall health of your animal, which is a wonderful thing in and of itself. Let’s start with digestive enzymes, especially if you have a pet who is getting older (6+), doesn’t eat raw (which comes with built-in digestive enzymes), and/or has had antibiotics. Salmon oil is a fantastic supplement, by boosting the immune system it will make your pet healthier, with a shiny, flake-free coat. My final supplemental suggestion is a specific product called Bodyguard . This product is meant to fill in any gaps in your pet’s diet, giving them what they need for optimum health (and the sulfur makes them taste bad to parasites, don’t worry though, your pet won’t walk around smelling like a rotten egg).
When grooming your pet, you should always be on the lookout for fleas. If you do get an infestation, the sooner you catch it, the easier it will be to eliminate it. Take the time (daily during flea season or if you suspect something) to use a flea comb on your pet. Also, bath time is a great opportunity to look for little fleas, as they jump for dry land. Personally, I like to drown them when I find them. As I said, I hate them. There are some great natural flea shampoos and sprays that can be wonderful, not only if your pet gets fleas, but also for prevention. I have often used the spray as I would use insect repellent on myself. These items do not kill fleas, but they do make your pet less of a tasty morsel.
Lastly, treat your environment. If prevention is the name of the game, a clean and tidy house is essential. Vacuum rugs and furniture, wash your pet’s beds, blankets, et cetera, as often as you feel is necessary to keep things clean. And if fleas still find their way in, you can still avoid the chemical junk (and have the last laugh)! In the past I have used only natural products and have had a lot of success. I have used this boric acid treatment, which has worked like a charm. I sprinkle it on carpets, under couch cushions, everywhere I can. After working it into the surface, I leave it to dry out all those nasty flea eggs and then I vacuum like it’s going out of style. This would also be the time to wash everything in the house that you can, including your pet. Although I have never experienced this personally, people often run into the issue of outdoor pets bringing in fleas from the outside, thankfully there are also also great products for the yard. It might not be a bad idea to use this product regardless of flea issues, if you have outdoor pets.
I know it may sound complicated, but it really doesn’t have to be. It also can be a lot cheaper than taking your pet to the vet all the time and paying for the topical treatments. For me, the most important thing is that I am adding to the health of my pet, instead of jeopardizing her health by applying toxic chemicals which sink into her skin. Cordelia is proof that a healthy pet is the best defense!