Dear Labby (FleaBitten & DirtyDog)
Dear Labby, It’s that time of year again when the fleas & ticks come out in full force. Any ideas for safe, natural remedies?
I hear you – nothing worse than coming home from a nice walk and bringing a lot of baggage in the way of fleas & ticks into the house. Luckily, out here where I live in California, they aren’t too bad – I guess the dry air keeps them away. They only come around in the late fall and early spring. Labby usually doesn’t have to do much of anything other than keep the dogs well brushed and pick off the ticks when we see them. But for those of you in other areas of the country I know they can be a real problem. The chemicals found in some remedies can be pretty scary and I understand why you might not want to expose your dog to them.
We did some research and found a few articles that might be helpful. The first one is pretty old, from Mother Earth News from 1985! But the advice is still sound and educational. Frequently we read about diatomaceous earth (DE) as a remedy – it sounds like you would get to roll around in the mud or something, but its actually a powder comprised of microskeletons of deceased diatoms (a type of algae). You just sprinkle the powder on your pets or furniture or carpet, and it causes the fleas to die from dehydration. Gruesome, but effective.
Check out these articles and then look for answers from our readers in the comments section.
- Oldie but a goodie: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/natural-flea-control.aspx?ViewAll=True#axzz2S0BGsZLL
- From Eartheasy, a website devoted to ‘Solutions for sustainable living”: http://eartheasy.com/live_natural_flea_control.html
- Five simple tips from Care 2: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-solutions-for-natural-flea-control.html
- Non-toxic tips from Care 2: ://www.care2.com/greenliving/all-around-non-toxic-flea-control.html
- My Home Remedies: http://www.myhomeremedies.com/topic.cgi?topicid=3253
- Pets WebMd offers some insight on flea & tick collars: http://pets.webmd.com/features/natural-insect-control-flea-and-tick-treatments-for-pets
Readers, any suggestions for FleaBitten?
Is there a rule of thumb in regard to frequency that a dog is bathed? I had once heard that bathing too often will rob a dog of essential skin oils. Is getting a bath once per quarter too often, not often enough? What are the drawbacks of not bathing a dog often enough (aside from having a smelly dog)?
The simplest answer is bathe them whenever they need it. Yes, there is some ‘conventional wisdom out there that says not to bathe them too often, but you can also buy better quality and milder shampoo for dogs now, so that’s less of an issue. So if Fido is starting to get a little ripe, or his coat is feeling a little sticky…get him (or her) into the tub.
Here’s some other insights from around the web.
Readers, what do you think – how often do you bathe your dogs?