Managing Fleas & Ticks

Managing Fleas & Ticks
It’s that season again! The weather is getting warmer.  Bugs and creepy crawlers are out and about.
With this lovely Shelter In Place order, some of us are taking this opportunity to spend more time outdoors with our pets.  I’ve seen more dogs walked and even cats walked than ever.
Some are on leashes, cats on harnesses and some are even in pet strollers!  #cutenessoverload
It goes without saying that we want to protect ourselves and our furry family members from nasties such as fleas, mosquito bites and ticks.
Depending on your location in the country, these pests may be more prevalent.  For example, when we lived in Maryland, we had to be vigilant against fleas, ticks and mosquitos all year round.  The weather was never really cold enough to kill off anything but the mosquitos.  
In the tundra of the Midwest, however, it seems we worry less about all of the above during the cold winter months and more during the summer.
These pests carry diseases.   
Some types of mosquito carry heartworm and they affect only canids.  That means dogs and fox but not cats.  
Ticks carry lyme disease.
Fleas, aside from causing flea bite dermatitis (super itchy skin), do transmit diseases such as murine typhus, tapeworms and mycoplasma, just to name a few.  Cat scratch fever is caused by Bartonella and can be transmitted from human.  
When I rescued O’Malley The Alley Cat, he came with fleas and bartonella.  While we were quick to treat him for fleas, it took a month to diagnose my younger daughter with Cat Scratch Fever.  
Prevention is definitely the key!
There are many different preventatives out there.

Some have to be applied monthly, some daily.  There are, of course, pros and cons to each.
There are pesticides manufactured by big pharma.  Some are oral, some are topical and each will address either fleas, or ticks, or heartworm.   
For example, the product called Revolution has an active ingredient Selemectin.  It can be purchased without a script.  It targets fleas and heartworm but not ticks.  If you are choosing to use Selemectin, then using Heartguard for heartworm is redundant.  Also, cats don’t need it.  Another drug will need to be used to keep ticks off your doggo.
These drugs are classified as pesticides.  The pet ingests drug orally or absorbs topically.  The pesticide is taken up in the tissue and when fleas bite the animal, they are poisoned by the pesticides in the blood.  The fleas and ticks die off.
Some of these drugs have been recalled by the FDA.  Some that we have been used to applying topically over the years are still in play but they carry a heavy warning…do not touch your pet for 24 hours, such as products containing Fipronil.  These drugs are teratogens and are dangerous to young children and pregnant women.   They are actually toxic for everyone and they are not meant for humans.
Over the last 4 decades we have seen an increase in diseases such as liver and kidney failure, cancers and some we can’t even pronounce.  I don’t ever remember seeing or hearing of these ailments in the 1980’s.  We can certainly attribute the toxicity level to the environment.  Our cleaners and pesticides.  
Some of the pesticides we use with intent to protect our pets.  I sometimes ask the question I doing the right thing?  I am poisoning my pets to protect them and my family.
Is there a better way?
Yes, there is, but it is less convenient.  You do have to think about it daily.
When I take my dog out several times a day, I do take her collar off, spray her collar with Terrashield.   I put the collar back on and we go outside.
We do go on hikes sometimes through farms and on properties that have tall weeds. Not only do I spray her collar but I also spray her legs and belly and back.
Now I have a Cane Corso and this is a short haired breed.  The oil also helps to give her coat shine and luster.
When I had 3 English Shepherds, I did use the Terrashield spray on them as well.  Riddick, Kratos and Blade had long flowing coats and on the East Coast they would pick up ticks in seconds.  I used to use Frontline and I would pick 14 ticks off each dog as they came in the house just from going in the yard.  Remember not all of the ticks would bite the dogs, some would fall off and bite humans.  I started to spray the paws and bellies with Terrashield every time they went outside.   Their long coats were super shiny and I didn’t pick off ticks either.  
All of my dogs were tested annually for heartworm and were clear.  
I also have cats.   Siberian Forest Cats to be exact with long flowing coats.  When my cats go outside, they are on a harness.  They are indoor cats but once in a while I take them out, only on a harness and only supervised.  Before I do that, I spray their harnesses with Terrashield and put the harness on and off we go.
I have never picked a tick off my cats and they have never had fleas.
Do NOT spray cats directly.
I have a few friends who like to push their cats in strollers.  If they are wearing harnesses, spray the harness before putting it on.
If you like, you can even spray the stroller carriage outside.
To me, Terrashield smells a little bit like chocolate.  I actually like the smell.  As a reference point, I also love cilantro and patchouli oils.  
There are people who dislike patchouli and cilantro, and Terrashield may not be a fav, so here is an alternative.  To the Terrashield spray, add 2 drops of Geranium or 2 drops of Citronella.  
If you like, you can even use those 2 oils, Geranium and Citronella by themselves to prevent pests from hitching a ride on your pet.
Why those 2 oils?

Well Geranium’s main constituents are citronellol, citronellyl formate, geraniol, guaiadene, menthone .
Citronella’s main constituents are citronellal, geraniol.

These two oils smell vastly different from each other but there are enough similarities that these two oils can help keep bugs at bay while being perfectly safe for use with your family as well.  You can touch, snuggle and kiss on your dog and cat immediately and nothing will happen.   In fact, you can actually apply Terrashield to your kiddos when they go out to play and to yourself!

I have also found that Geranium can help soothe skin conditions and is perfectly safe to spot apply to your kitty.  

Terrashield spray is already premixed and ready to use.

If you would like to change the smell of Terrashield spray, add 1 or 2 drops of either Geranium or Citronella to the Terrashield spray.

If you would like to use Geranium alone on your pet:
30 ml spray bottle
1 bottle of Geranium (15 ml)
Bring up with FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil)
Shake and spray.

If you would like to use Citronella alone on your pet:
30 ml spray bottle
1 bottle of Citronella (15 ml)
Bring up with FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil)
Shake and spray.

Don’t forget to do this before you head outdoors to spend some quality time together.


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