What’s Happenin’ Boomers?
Summer. Who doesn’t love it?
The days are long and the sun is high. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy nature. We’re hiking, biking, running, camping, and just kickin’ back. Many of us share this time with our pets, especially our dogs. My dogs and I head for the hills to get our exercise and “recharging time”. Being in Nature renews the spirit and calms the mind. Well for me anyway. For the dogs it’s run through the sagebrush and juniper, sniff this, pee on that, oh boy, a rabbit! When we’re finished they are worn out and me too, in a good way.
All this fun does have its hazards though, ticks carry bacteria that causes Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which causes among other things, joint pain, swelling in the legs and face, and neurological symptoms such as stupor and seizures. Treatment is costly and some dogs may never recover.
We are SO lucky here in The Rockies to not have a flea problem. It seems the winters are too cold and summers too hot and dry, fleas like warm and humid. I understand they can be a real pain to get rid of, so prevention is paramount. The typical spot-on, sprays, and collars use insect neurotoxins deemed generally safe for dogs to kill adult fleas, for eggs and larvae there is a different chemical. Then the environment must be treated as well, bedding, carpets, furniture, even the yard.
You may have heard of products made from Permethrin, and thought it is made from Chrysanthemums. Pyrethrin is, but Permethrin is a synthetic compound that is also a neurotoxin and can be toxic to small dog and even in small amounts can be deadly to cats. Never ever use flea products for dogs on cats! Learn more here.
So what is “generally safe” anyway?
Well, the Pesticide Action Network North America has identified Permethrin as a suspected endocrine disruptor and a likely carcinogen. I do not consider that safe! So why not take a more natural approach? You knew I was getting to that, right? For fleas Only Natural Pet offers some great products for treating pets, home, and yard. In addition they have some very informative articles.
Essential Oils are another very safe choice. Cedar wood is a natural insect deterrent and is used in the stuffing of many pet beds. To use Cedarwood Essential Oil, put 10 to 12 drops in a 8 ounce spray bottle with distilled water, and spray your dogs bed and your dog. Geranium Essential Oil is more effective at repelling insect pests than Citronella. To use; drop two drops on your cats or small dogs fabric collar. Drop 3 to 4 on your larger dogs fabric collar. Geranium can also be made into a spray, 5 to 6 drops in a 4 ounce spray bottle of distilled water and used on you. When using, breath deeply. Essential oils are not toxic and in fact have lots of great benefits when used topically and aromatically.
So here’s to a summer without fleas and ticks, or chiggers for that matter.