Flint River Ranch June Letter – Natural Flea/Pest Control for Dogs

Found June’s monthly column from  Flint River Ranch President Jay Margedant worth passing forward. Gives you reason to re-think pest control. While I admittedly recently dosed the dogs with what is a monthly regiment of Frontline Plus, I really want to eliminate as many chemicals from my life as I can. So I’m going to give it some additional research and start up asap. I already have the obsessive compulsive vacuuming thing down pretty pat!

Summer’s coming!   And so are the bugs! 

To FRR’s newest members, you may not have heard my suggestions on “Flea and Tick Control” so this may be new information for you.  For everyone else, I hope this will be a good reminder of common sense steps to take in flea and tick control at your home.

Effective flea and pest control is predicated on one thing.  Effectively stopping and eliminating one section of the egg, larva, pupa and adult life cycle.  Once you effectively control an aspect of the reproductive cycle of a pest, you’re able to control and hopefully eliminate future infestations in your house and on your pets.  I think I’ve found a good method to control several of these stages.

First, I don’t use chemical flea, tick or worm products on my three dogs or my wife’s cat.  I instead treat their living areas & yard with OTC natural insecticides.  I will treat their yard with an insecticide containing natural Pyrethrins, which works as an organic insecticide. (I’ve read that not only does Pyrethrin work to help kill offending insects but the residue acts as a deterrent also, driving away flies and such.)  I apply it via a water hose in the evening so that by the morning their area is safe from them to be in again.  This controls pests in the area they spend the most time in, the yard.

We are also diligent at keeping their bedding and our house clean and especially, well vacuumed.   Surprisingly, the simple act of vacuuming your house on more frequent schedule during these times will help to eliminate more insects in your house than before.  Bugs die pretty quickly once the wax on their shells is breached, they simply dry up.   Vacuuming up pests effectively scrapes their shells in the vacuum and helps dry them out.  Regular cleaning of your pets bedding also helps to eliminate any bugs that may be there.  For bedding, I like to use simple old blankets and quilts as their beds. It gives them a “target” to lie down on and there are easier to keep clean.  (I tried those big, thick foam beds, but found that they get dirty, accumulate pests and my Blood Hound destroys every one of them anyway.  So its simple quilts for me.)

Yes, there are times when I may apply a Neem Oil product directly on them. (Neem Oil helps keep all crawling and most flying bugs away from them.  It is a natural product made from the Azadirachta Indica, an evergreen tree.) I use this on all my dogs and even myself when I’m out and about in the yard and the bugs are plentiful.  It truly is a very effective bug deterrent.

I am pretty diligent in grooming and brushing my pets.  And of course, the helps in finding any issues before they get out of hand.  (A trainer told me a long time ago; if you’re going to pet your dog, you might as well brush them.  I’ve stuck to that and it helps in a lot of ways.)  This gives me time to inspect their bodies, helps keep excess fur off of my floors, helps them to feel good and they bond with me.

I don’t like to use chemical insecticides on them or more importantly, in them. I’ve never been sold on the chemical flea and tick treatments which are supposedly safe when applied to their coats.  The chemicals that are in these topicals affect the nervous systems and ability to breed with the insects. Who’s not to say it won’t have some negative impact on my pets?  Nor do I want to use a chemical collar on them.  Frankly, I’ve never seen one that worked very well anyway.   (There is also a recent news report about a kitten owner who took the advice of a store they shopped at and put a flea collar on a kitten.  The kitten passed away due to chemical ingestion from just wearing the collar in a couple of days. I don’t add this to scare you; I’m only trying to inform.  If you are on a pest control regiment from your Vet, stick to it.  I only offer alternatives that continue to work for me.)

De-worming pills and medicines are very much needed when there is an infestation or in high risk areas.  But I’ve found that for the past 14 years I have never had to use them on my pets and even though I know that there are some very good prevention medicines out there; one is a meaty chew for your pet, I still don’t use them.  Yes, our pets are continually checked and every year my vet and I have the same talk about the use of worm preventatives.  He’s a great vet and I will always follow his advice, but I’ve learned how to deal with the occasional pest that my pets run into holistically.  Besides, they already get enough drugs from forced inoculations.

But above all, I believe that their first and best defense against pests is their natural diet of Flint River Ranch products!  I know that by keeping their bodies as holistically strong in exercise, rest, and play, Flint River Ranch’s holistic nutrition is making them strong and able to naturally defend against these pest.   I hope that this article helps you if you have an insect pest issue. While you may not want to walk away from whatever product you may be using at this time, I do hope that by incorporating some of my practices; especially the continual feeding of FRR products, you’ll have a happy and pest free summer this year! (yes, I had to throw a plug in there!)

Best to all, and it’s already hot here in Atlanta!

Jay P.

Hope you enjoyed!