Fleas, ticks and worms – routinely ‘controlled’ by chemicals, but is there a natural way to prevent your dog getting them in the first place?
There’s no doubt these pests are more prevalent in the summer months but we don’t reach for the chemicals anymore and new veterinary thinking is backing up our natural approach.
When we had Bruno and Frankie things were very different. We never once questioned the prescribing of spot on the dog flea treatment, chemical collars for ticks and tablets for worms. They had fleas once and ticks routinely climbed on them, especially Frankie. They never had worm related health issues.
By the time we got George we had discovered Dorwest Herbs and dried rabbit ears with fur on. We wanted to do things more naturally with him, and Winnie when she came along, and in 5 years we have chemically treated our two for fleas just once. Recently on holiday George caught a squirrel, I noticed a few docile fleas on him at the vets – we were there because the squirrel had bitten him! So, the vet prescribed a spot on the dog for each – Winnie had none and by the time we left the vets neither did George. But, because we were in a luxury glamping tent we split the treatment between the two, so half the normal dose.
In a recent episode of A Dogs Life podcast (link below) Anna was talking to three vets – please have a listen - interestingly all three vets agreed that a better way to deal with the issue is to ONLY treat a dog for fleas, ticks and worms IF they have them.
They all agree that a healthy gut is paramount to overall immune health. If a dog is healthy, why would you treat with insecticides?
In Denmark a vet can’t even prescribe a wormer without checking that the dog has worms. Yet how many of us have routinely given 3 monthly worming tablets?
So, how do we go about natural prevention?
- We give our two a daily tablet of Garlic and Fenugreek by Dorwest Herbs – garlic is a natural repellent to fleas, in 5 years George has had just 3, docile fleas on him – after the holiday squirrel episode – we have had two other occasions where he got too close to a squirrel but both times no fleas showed up when he was showered.
- I have read that a 50/50 mix of Apple cider vinegar and water sprayed on your dog before heading out can repel fleas too – again I guess the smell is not welcoming!
- The Garlic and Fenugreek seems to repel ticks for us too, in 5 years we have found just one shrivelled up tick on Winnie. The last time we used a tick fork was on Frankie and she has been gone for 5 years.
- A mixture of 2 tablespoons of almond oil with Rose Geranium Oil – dab 2-3 drops on your dogs neck area before you head out or on a bandana or fabric collar.
- Citrus repellent – Cut a lemon in quarters put in a pint jar and cover with boiling water. Let it cool and steep over night. Put in a spray bottle then give your dog a spritz behind the ears, around the head, avoiding eyes, in the armpits and around the tail.
These tips were found on the Dogs Naturally website – link below.
- Support your dogs immune system with a healthy balanced diet giving them a good chance to fight off worms that get into the gut.
- Bone Broth promotes a healthy gut and is known to boost immune systems
- Once again garlic is mentioned as a natural deterrent to worms among many other things, including herbs such as parsley that can be cooked down, solids strained and freeze the liquid – give as an ice treat in summer.
- Some fruit and veg are thought to make your dogs digestive tract less welcoming to worms, including carrots and squash, both facilitating the healthy movement of food through the gut.
- Air dried rabbit ears with fur on – the fur drags out worms IF they are in the gut. George and Winnie enjoy these 2-3 times a week, you will see if they have worms when picking up the poo! Then you will need to seek advice from the vets.
If your dog is showing signs of worms which include, diarrhoea or vomiting, tummy pain, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, mucus covered poo, blood in poo, coughing please see a vet – all of these symptoms would be a worry to us and you too, I’m sure.
The main message I get from all the reading I have done is this – keep your dog healthy on the inside and they stay healthy on the outside and the old ways of routine prevention treatment for our dogs for fleas, ticks and worms is not only damaging to them, but the environment too – as discussed in the podcast with Anna.
And remember – I am not an expert, but as a dog owner my priority is their health and wellbeing, I want ours to live a healthy and happy life for as long as possible. I hope this has given you some food for thought but please do your own research and talk to your vet so you can make informed choices for your dog.
Please have a listen to Anna’s podcast here are the links:
A Dog's Life with Anna Webb Episode 112 A Visit from the Vets - well worth a listen if you are interested in a more natural approach to the health of your dog.
Dogs Naturally Magazine Find The Best Natural Dewormer For Dogs
The Healthy Pet Club Ticks and Dogs
Dogs Naturally Magazine The Safest Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs