Common parasites and pests found in and on dogs include various intestinal parasites, heartworm, fleas, wood ticks and deer ticks. Pet stores and the Veterinary industry thrive on sales of flea and tick prevention and treatment and heartworm preventative. But you do not need to expose your dog to expensive and toxic chemicals to keep them safe and free from parasites and bugs!
The best natural defense against parasitic infection is a healthy immune system. Humans, animals and even plants are able to fight off all manner of harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and insects when our body is functioning properly. This is a much easier goal to accomplish for our pets and our plants than it is for ourselves because pets and plants are completely dependent on us for all of their nutrition, water and exercise. Your dog can’t decide to “skip” the exercise in favor of watching tv. They can’t decide to get Twinkies at the store or to polish off a bag of Doritos while they are doing that tv watching.
Proper nutrition is a key component in a healthy immune system. And research shows that the best nutrition is one as close to nature as possible. Whole foods, unprocessed, no bleaching, no preservatives, etc. It also means that any supplements needed should be naturally derived, from food sources, instead of put together in a lab. What a natural, whole food diet means for your dog is real meat. Dogs are carnivores in the wild, but slightly omnivorous too, so a small amount of vegetable matter is good for them. The best diet for any dog is a raw diet. There are many commercial prepared raw diets that are fully balanced and easy to feed. The next best thing is any diet, canned or dry that is holistic. Holistic means the food will protect the whole body, nourish it and keep all of its systems healthy. Brands that make holistic food include—but are not limited to: Fromm Family Foods, Wellness, Stella and Chewy’s, Instinct, Canidae and many more.
Raw diets by their nature are holistic and prepared brands include: Stella and Chewy’s, Fresh is Best, JJ Fudds and many others.
Once you are feeding your dog complete nutrition make sure they are getting regular exercise as this is also important for a well-behaved and strong immune system.
Since we live in a world full of toxins, pollutants and irritants, unfortunately, diet alone will not always fully protect our pets from all the bugs and parasites out there. So there are a few natural solutions that have been shown to work as well, or better, than toxic chemicals and medications. Remember, we are trying to HELP the immune system do its work and when we cover our dogs in pesticides and feed them pesticides(ivermectin-HW preventative) we are damaging the immune system, which creates the need for MORE chemicals and pesticides and well, you can see the vicious cycle.
So, if we use essential oils and edible things, we actually protect and strengthen that pesky immune system. So, WHAT are these natural wonders?? The best flea, tick and mosquito(cause of heartworms) repellant I have found is a combination of geranium and lavender essential oils. These are both inexpensive essential oils and you only need a few drops of each PER SEASON! I make a big spray bottle of water and add 4-5 drops of each oil. Shake before application and apply! And you don’t have to cover every inch of your dog—get a good few sprays on—rump, neck, maybe belly and the smell will keep bugs away. (You can use this on yourself too to keep mosquitoes away!) Your dog will smell great and the oils are very good for their coat too and will help keep a bit of shine in the fur.
As far as edible things, apple cider vinegar added to their food or drinking water will keep most bugs away. You don’t need much, maybe a tablespoon per feeding for a large dog and a teaspoon or less for small dogs. This may also helps to keep your grass green as it changes the dog’s urine ph.
You can also add garlic to your pet’s food, if you don’t mind their garlic breath! This works for humans too—if you eat a lot of garlic you won’t be bothered by mosquitoes or other insects.
And lastly, to treat internal parasites or ear mites you can feed your dog Diatomaceous Earth. This is a type of edible clay that some humans take to aid digestion but it’s also very effective at eliminating parasites from the intestinal tract. You can also sprinkle this in your dog’s (or cat’s) ears to kill ear mites safely and without medication–and in my experience it works much quicker than topical medications. Sprinkle a little on the fur to kill any mites that have crawled out of the ears. Diatomaceous could also be an effective insect/flea repellant, but it’s chalky and dusty and will make your pets fur feel grungy so I would stick with the essential oils and water.
There are probably other natural remedies and preventions out there so feel free to research on your own too.
*Did you know that a dog with a healthy immune system can “get” heartworm, but shed them before they cause any damage or develop into adult worms? The same goes for intestinal parasites.
*Did you know that heartworm treatment (for a dog with a full blown case of adult worms) kills many dogs? The treatment is so toxic that many dogs don’t live through it. And many, many dogs have been successfully treated for heartworm infection using natural methods—look it up!
*Did you know that the “bio-spot” flea preventatives are powerful pesticides(toxic) that permeate your dogs entire body in order to keep a few fleas off? Did you further know that if your dog is healthy, they might get bitten by fleas, but won’t become hosts to them?
*Did you know that flea prevention and heartworm prevention are a multi-billion dollar business?
Be informed, be aware and ask questions!