Fleas! Boo!

Discussion in 'Holistic Care' started by marikaNbicuit, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Help! My poor Biscuit is having the worst case with fleas right now. We also have two cats who are getting them now! I believe in holistic treatment for my animals. I really dislike the idea of using the frontline plus all the vets push, especially after all I have read about what it can do to your pet. So, after alot of research I found information about Cedar Oil. Particularly a brand called Nature's Defender has been coming up and I am thinking of trying it as a natural way to get rid of its fleas. It claims to get rid of fleas, ticks, mosquitos, bed bugs, mites, and others. There is also Neem oil I have been reading about too. Has anyone ever used this, or Cedar Oil/neem oil for flea prevention before? Has anyone found a holistic way to treat fleas after they have already infested their dog? I have also read about flea powder and using a flea brush, any input would be wonderful!

    Also, there is one other thing I have been thinking about, heartworm preventative. My mother's dog began having seizures right after she started it, and that is one of the many side effects of giving it to your dog. From what I have read it isn't a preventative at all, what is happening is that you are administering small amounts of the poison into your dog to kill the worm. I know the vet said my dog would die if I do not give this to him (which I feel is a scare tactic, though I do realize heartworm is very serious or I would not be considering administering it to my pup), but I do know people who have made the decision not to, and use other means of keeping mosquitos off their pups. Anyone want to chime in on this subject too? Biscuit and I thank you for all your help! :itch3:
  2. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Can't comment one way or another as to the effectiveness; I've never tried them and don't know anyone who has. Sorry. Does sound interesting though.

    I've used flea combs, but that isn't a 100% effective method. Brewer's yeast and garlic some report are effective to help as a preventive. Diaotamaceous (sp?) earth (FOOD grade) helps both on the animal and in the environment.

    OK -- heartworm preventative is not one I would slide or look for other methods. The only potential alternative I know of is black walnut. What breed of dog does your mother have and what kind of preventative was it given? You are in a sense accurate in your understanding of how heartworm preventative works, it is "retroactive." It does not stop your dog from becoming "infected", what it does is kill the microfilaria in the bloodstream before they can get to the heart and develop into mature worms. With my third of the year heartworm positive dog here in a crate next to me undergoing treatment and the trauma I went through with my first heartworm positive dog during treatment only to lose it, it just isn't worth the risk to me. One of the heartworm positive dogs from earlier this summer was symptomatic of the issues heartworms can cause and had heart damage. His temperament and personality were wonderful, such a trusting soul ... boy did I worry and bite nails until he was finally clear. It does kill - slow and painful. Treatment is very hard on the dog. In the scheme of picking one's poison's, then heartworm preventative is one that I'll pick any day.

  3. Thank you so much for your information on the heartworm positive dogs you have seen. My mother's dog is a husky/shepherd mix. The vet did say that the heartworm medicine might have caused her seizures. I have been wondering how common heartworm is found in dogs, and your response somewhat gave me that information. I have never heard of black walnut before and will give it a look. I am now thinking of giving Biscuit heartworm preventative only in mosquito season, as I have heard recommended before. However, I am still slightly hesitant to give it to Biscuit, and am thinking about possible mosquito repellants and diet. I am going to continue researching and thinking about this important decision.

    Also, I bought some Neem oil for Biscuit today and am going to bathe him tomorrow, so I will see if it will kill off his fleas and how effective it is! Hopefully it works!
  4. Liam's Mommy

    Liam's Mommy Senior Member

    I understand your theory of wanting to use natural remedies on your pup but I urge you to think about everything and the reason that you are choosing this method. If you are doing it because of "potential" side effects like seizures that a vet mentioned, I personally think you are putting the dog at risk for more harm than the medications. Some natural remedies are just as dangerous or carry the same potential side effects. I see that you mentioned Frontline but have you looked into the other versions available or had an appointment with a holistic vet that practices the way you believe?

    In my world that would be like not taking a blood pressure medicine because it can cause a cough or seizures. There are worse conditions that these pests cause. We just recently had Liam diagnosed with worms due to fleas (he was not on medication at the time). Also, don't forget about dogs who develop allergies to fleas and have horrible skin conditions.

    I just plead that if you are going to go the natural holistic way that you find a holistic vet so you can reference them.

    Just my opinion and 2 cents.
  5. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Some dogs have a MDR1 mutation and cannot tolerate heartworm preventatives with ivermectin. Collies (all types), Shelties, Australian Shepherds are among breeds that the mutation is commonly found in and there are others, plus mixes of those breeds. It is possible that might have been a reason for the reaction and seizure. I believe there is now a DNA marker for some of the more at risk breeds.

    I'm in the south and here heartworm preventative is a year round necessity.

  6. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Liam's Mom brought up an important point -- just because something is "natural or holistic" doesn't mean it isn't made up of chemicals. ;)

    Pyrmethin - one good example.

  7. Totally agree. Just because something is natural, doesn't mean it cannot be harmful. There are lots of poisons out there that are natural! I have actually just found a holistic vet who I plan to make an appointment with. I am thinking that I will administer Heartworm Preventative in the months that it is needed (here in chicago, there isn't a need in the winter). However, I am trying a natural route with Biscuit's flea problem before I resort to spot on treatments like frontline, which is what the vet told me to use. I also understand that many of these natural "remedies" could be gimmicks, and I do not believe everything I read on the internet! I am also reading alot of holistic books on animal care as well. I agree that some chemicals cannot be avoided, such as certain vaccinations. On the same point, I do not believe in over vaccinating and that there are some natural solutions out there. The reason I am asking is not because I am already self medicating my pet, but simply to get input from other dog owners. I fully intend to make an educated decision, based on conversations with a vet, and research.

    Also, I hate to hear Liam got worms! I hope he feels better. I was very thankful that Biscuit's first round of de-worming took care of any worms for now.
  8. Corgis4me

    Corgis4me Senior Member

    I am assuminig you know that some essential oils that are safe for dogs can be toxic for cats, so please check with your vet on which ones are okay
  9. Yes I do know this, no worries on that front. Believe me, I am not just giving my animals random oils or anything someone says will work on the internet. I am actually reading "Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats." I would not give something to any of my animals without researching and speaking to a vet who shares my point of view. I have had animals in the past that have had some adverse reactions to chemicals, such as sensitive skin and hotspots, and am trying to avoid this.

    However, though I do think constructive criticism is good and that all the questions that have been brought up are important, I was more looking for information if anyone had tried anything that worked besides spot on treatments and pesticides. So far, no one has commented on that. I asked these things as preliminary steps to making decisions, not to act on them or to act before I have spoken to a vet. Just to be clear, I am going to consult a vet, which I felt I had said before. I was only curious if anyone else has had similar thoughts on their animal's health and had actually followed through on them. I felt asking here would get me more real information than reviews on products, because those can be misleading and untrue.
  10. LaRogue

    LaRogue Senior Member

    My dogs have always been on it all year, since I take them south, but up here, vets used to only prescribe it during the warmer months. A few years back, my vet told me the AVMA (?) came out with a recommendation for year round use in Northern areas, also.
  11. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    I know of a corgi in Canada that tested heartworm positive aftr being off the preventative during the winter months. It only takes a couple of abnormally warm days for mosquitoes to make an appearance and only one bite.

  12. Dillydoodle

    Dillydoodle Senior Member

    I live in CT and wont risk it- i not only do heartworm year round but i also do flea and tick year round. I have seen mosquitos in winter time ( i actually got a mosquito bite at my friend's house in february) and I have seen ticks outside in December when there was snow on the ground, so I don't skip treatments.

    I have seen on multiple dog forums the question about finding alternative/holistic approaches to flea and tick and heartworm preventatives.. and have seen many people say what they have tried but not one thing that seems to really work.

    I personally would not risk my dog getting heartworms or bringing fleas or ticks into my home. Around here with all the tick borne diseases and knowing multiple people living with ongoing issues due to them, i just think i would rather be safe than sorry...

  13. alneagle

    alneagle Junior Member

    I don't know how true it is, but I have heard that plain old Dial Soap will kill fleas. Just some information you might want to look into.
  14. ~WelshStump~

    ~WelshStump~ Senior Member

    Neem oil, Google it and its uses. I guess some people use it like flea topicals and dilute it with another oil (never use strait, its super concentrated and it could burn your pet), and simply line it down their pets shoulders. Others mix it in a spray bottle and mist their pets, although may need to be applied more often. Also, you can use it on your garden in the spring too for bad bugs, so its good to buy in bulk (which for these oils is a small amount).

    Also, I just found you can get "Tea tree oil" at Walmart. Mix a few drops in your pets shampoo, and you can also make a spray mist too.
  15. Abbygirl

    Abbygirl Junior Member

    Tea tee oil is very toxic to cats though. Use it on dogs but not the kitties please.
  16. Spunker

    Spunker Junior Member

    if tea tee oil is Toxic to cats, y use it at all?!
  17. Liam's Mommy

    Liam's Mommy Senior Member

    Cause it potentially works and not all people have cats at home. I know humans use it for head lice.
  18. ~WelshStump~

    ~WelshStump~ Senior Member

    Yes, I didn't know that because we are a cat free zone (feral's are quickly evicted by the mean ol' Jinjo monster :search:). One of my favorite Shampoo's I buy for Jinjo is an "oatmeal and tee tree oil" formula and I found it good for his sensitive skin. And head lice? Maybe that's why Walmart decided to start selling it?
  19. P_J

    P_J Senior Member

    Natural Defense doesn't work and makes your dog smell like a rodent cage...
    IMO none of the natural things I've seen at the clinic work. Maybe for a week or two, but I wouldn't want to keep re-applying it multiple times a month.

    Check out Advantage Multi... does heartworm too. It's my favorite.

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