Tuesday, January 29, 2013

fleas... ew.

It is GORGEOUS in Savannah today- 73, sunny and no humidity. Not to bad for January, I'd say. The green and brown anoles are running around and birds are flying everywhere. But with warm weather comes the un-fun side of Savannah warm weather and creatures- fire ants, cockroaches and... fleas. Always fleas.

Fleas are rampant in our area and no one is immune to them. When I was working with that local pet store, not a day went by that a customer didn't come in complaining about "never having fleas before" but now were inundated with the little nasties. And unfortunately by the time you realize that your pet has fleas, your home is almost sure to be filled with eggs and larvae that are not easy to get rid of.

Fleas live in grass and shrubbery (not to mention other cats and dogs) and wait for a living, warm blooded animal to walk by. Although wingless, these buggers can jump, and they will. Fleas feed on blood exclusively  and adult females can eat up to 15 times their weight in blood a day. In less than 21 days, 1 flea can lay over 1000 eggs. And while it only takes 21 days for a flea egg to develop, they can remain encased in their cocoon for up to 350 days to ensure survival. And since their mobile, treating your yard and home one day doesn't mean that it won't have fleas in it the next day.

For these reasons and more, it's essential to control fleas on your pets- and I mean all your pets. Infestations are uncomfortable, irritating and hazardous to the health of a pet- anemia, hot spots and tapeworms are common in dogs with fleas.

So what are you to do, right? If they're everywhere, multiply rapidly and are difficult to kill, what options are available? And what's more, if you want your pets to be as green and healthy as possible, what choices do you have when almost all flea remedies are comprised of harmful chemicals?

Lucky for me (and my babies) I've finally found the trifecta of flea remedies that seems to work almost flawlessly- and no chemicals. They break down like this:
1) Nourish "Don't Bug My Dog" Bar Soap
2) Wondercide Organic Pest Control
3) Springtime Inc. Bug Off Garlic

What's better is all of these products are available online, so I'll link each website to it's respective product.

Nourish "Don't Bug My Dog" bar soap sounds strange, I know. Made in Savannah, it's paraben free, soap free and smells AMAZING! Not only that, it made their fur soft, lasted a lot longer than traditional shampoo and lathered very well. And, it rinsed out easily, which is important for to the owner of a fluffy little corgi. The essential oils they use are natural flea repellents, as well as deodorizers and cleaners. And for $6, it's a steal.

Don't Bug My Dog Soap Ingredients:
Soponified organic coconut oil, rice bran oil, olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter, palma christi oil, jojoba oil, citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender and lemongrass oils and lemongrass herb.

Wondercide is a company out of Austin, Texas that produces natural and organic pest control products based in cedar oil, another natural pest repellent. This stuff isn't exactly cheap (well, not as cheap as the 9.99 flea control outdoor treatments you can get at Lowe's) but it lasts quite a while- Ed and I have been using the same outdoor Lawn and Pet Spray for over a year now, and we use it once a month and after heavy rains. What's even better, the pet spray, Evolv, can be used in your home along baseboards, in cabinets and around door frames to help repel cockroaches (another daily evil of the South). The $80 price tag is definitely worth it, but don't worry- it's almost always on sale.

Wondercide Ingredients:
Cedarwood Oil
And finally, Bug Off Garlic from Cockyesville, Maryland. Garlic has been used for centuries as a natural insect repellent, and the good people at Springtime, Inc. have air dried it to be used as a pet supplement. This stuff is strong and lasts forever. All three of my dogs combined get just more than 1 scoop per day, and the scoop is teeny tiny. Not only does it repel fleas, but also ticks, gnats, mosquitoes and flies. For the $28 price tag, this supplement will last you for months.

I know some of you are wondering about giving your dog garlic- being worried about Heinz Body Anemia, a rare disease that has been linked to garlic and onion intake in dogs. Multiple studies done by the American Veterinary Journal have determined that toxicity is determined by intake- a 100 lb. dog would need to be fed over 4 lbs of raw garlic before reaching a toxicity level that would lead to Heinz Body Anemia. The likelihood of harming your pet with Bug Off Garlic is beyond slim.

Bug Off Garlic Ingredients:
All of these products combined have produced an anti-flea regiment that has been fail safe so far- which is amazing.