Tea Tree Oil and Pets

Turns out tea tree oil is very toxic to cats and dogs and can cause fairly violent nauseous reactions if ingested. Not good for a repellent. Must research best oils or buy commercially prepared repellents. I have peppermint and bay in my back yard. These could be dried and crumbled into a hollow fabric tube of a repellent collar. Not something I would put on my cat.

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Rats and Fleas

I killed 10 rats in my garden this summer. I now have much less rats but they left their fleas. I’ve never had fleas this bad. My flea population had been knocked down quite low. According a post on Mercola.com’s Dr. Becker vet segment, world rat populations are rising and this could be causing a drop in world wide wildlife populations, because their fleas can spread things like Lyme disease– yes, Borellia bergdorferi, the spirochete.

It’s too dry in California for nematodes right now and flea traps are cheaper anyway. Must set some up with some of those cheapo solar outdoor led lights and a soapy water trap. Meanwhile, I’ve been flea combing like crazy.

Organic Flea Control

Is it not ridiculous to be paying high prices for organic vegetables and then spending still more money to put poison on your pets to control fleas. Personally I’d rather put my dime to high-end pet food which can help build the immune system and make pets more flea resistant. I want to hug my pet! Then there is the theory that we are breeding super fleas with these poisons making fleas harder than ever to control. Certainly fleas become resistant to Frontline or Advantage, and then more and more toxic measures are recommended. With sick or neglected rescues it can be a hard decision to use Frontline or Advantage or not, but it can take up to a year to clear up fleas from the environment once they get going, so it’s best to be proactive one way or the other. And even if you still occasionally use something like Frontline, good flea hygiene and knowledge of the flea cycle is a necessity of pet ownership.

There are four stages to flea life: adult flea, egg, larva, pupa. Eggs and larva are killed easily with 30 seconds exposure to UV light or sunlight of which UV light is a component. UV lamps are available for purchase for use indoors but sunlight is free. The eggs are laid in the coat and then drop off into the carpet or outdoors. This is why short-coated dogs that are mostly outdoors have practically no fleas and flea combing is helpful to remove eggs as well as adult fleas. Outdoor fleas can only survive in the shade.

Adult fleas can be killed with flea traps: homemade or commercial sticky traps with a small night-light sized lamp– both incandescent or blue or green led work. Tree Tanglefoot can be smeared thinly on water proof substrate like plastic-coated tag board with your expired driver’s license or some such plastic card to make refills for commercial traps or to make homemade traps. Flea traps also help you keep tabs on your current flea population or lack thereof. Flea combing catches adult fleas as well as eggs and the dander and blood that feed larvae. Combs can be white plastic which is nice for visibility or metal which is slightly slipperier. A basin with water and a drop or two of dishwashing liquid to break the surface tension of the water is then used to drown fleas. Make sure and keep those combs good and clean to insure slipperiness and egg death. Some long-haired kitties especially may need to be brushed before combing. A wet comb can assist slippage on a less than ideally slippery coat. Say goodbye to hairball puking. Bathing dogs carefully from nose to tail, maybe with the assist of flea repellant made from essential oils to chase fleas off the face and ears can kill quite a few fleas, but it’s easy to miss some that climb out of the way of soap and water. Clean animals are easier to flea comb. Grooming and washing also removes flea eggs and dander and blood that feed larvae. Brushes and combs should be washed and/or sunned regularly.

The nefarious pupa stage is nearly impossible to kill with anything organic or poisonous, period. Washing bedding, for instance can wash away pupae, but who knows if they actually die or not. Although ordinarily, flea incubation period is about a month, it can be a bit of a variable mystery as flea emergence is triggered by warmth and movement and fleas can hibernate in the pupa stage indefinitely and even the larva stage can be extended.

For carpets, treat by sprinkling with regular unscented baking soda after vacuuming. Just rub it in and leave until the next time you vacuum. I like to use a stiff clean broom to rub it in. This not only kills eggs and larva in the carpet, it kills mites too and will leave you carpet smelling nice and clean and is completely non-toxic. No more sneezing or itchy nose when rolling around on the carpet. If you have rugs with good hardwood beneath though, be warned that the baking soda can be slightly abrasive if it can get through to the wood.

Diatomaceous earth is a dust made of tiny sharp micro sea shell skeletons that cut into eggs/larva/pupae and dry them out and kill them. Be careful where you use this stuff. I can recommend putting a little in your vacuum. This is probably more recommendable if you use bags. I have heard stories of diatomaceous earth destroying computers and other electronics in rooms with carpet that was dusted with it. I have also had it very uncomfortably cut into the bottom of my bare feet. Don’t put it directly on your pet. Avoid breathing it or getting it in the eyes. Apparently it is o.k. to eat it though, mixed in food. They give it to horses for worms.

Don’t use Borax. Borax is poisonous to mammals and fleas as well as permanent weed killer soil poison scorched earth effect. It’s naturally occurring, but it is also one of the reasons why Death Valley is called Death Valley.

Count on being able to sun and/or wash all bedding, couch or bed covers where pets reside. Cat trees should have some removable covers. This can be tricky in some cases. Sunshine or UV lamp could be used alternatively. Serious Velcro attachments can be helpful to hold covers in place. Pets especially dogs, don’t just have fleas– they tend to be dirty–so furniture covers are de rigueur for the health conscious pet lover.

If you have lots of outdoor shade and believe you are breeding outdoor fleas, special flea eating nematodes can be purchased online and spread in the shade.

That’s it! Enjoy hugging your pet again!