STEP ONE: INTERNAL AND TOPICAL
It may be shocking to discover that conventional flea and tick medications DO NOT prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes from landing on and biting your pet. These medications simply attempt to kill the insect before transmission can occur. It’s not the fail-safe method many are led to believe and transmittable diseases can still occur!
However, taking a holistic approach to flea and tick prevention can be a bit unnerving. While no approach is bullet-proof, there are measures we can take to help reduce the risk of exposure. The body’s own immune system is the best defense against illness and disease. Parasites, viruses, and bacteria cannot thrive in a healthy host. Yes, of course healthy animals can contract diseases, but the likelihood of this occurring is significantly reduced when the body is functioning properly. The main focus of Bug Off is to provide just that: a healthy immune system.
So how does Bug Off work?
Our unique, proprietary formula contains the highest quality, human-grade, organic ingredients that help boost the immune system by supporting liver and kidney function which, in turn, helps eliminate built up toxins from the body. These ingredients help promote healthy skin and coat, support cardiac function, and reduce environmental allergies that plague many pets during the spring/summer seasons. The aromatic plants in Bug Off will help to slowly alter your pet’s scent, making it more undesirable to insects yet unnoticeable to humans. Preventing insects from landing on and biting your pet in the first place is the main goal. This method of prevention is typically a multi-level approach: oral as well as topical. Best results occur when we take a holistic approach and treat the pet as a whole, not just targeting one area. For even more protection, Bug Off is best when paired with one of our organic Bug Off topical sprays (or any other natural topical spray), and/or a raw amber necklace. Some even feed small amounts of fresh garlic with success. Prevention doesn’t just stop at a supplement or topical spray. We need to be cognizant of our surroundings. Keep your pet out of tall grass, where tick infestation is inevitable. There is simply no amount of natural or conventional medicine that will prevent ticks from getting on your pet in this type of environment. Check your area map to see where the hot spots are located. Check you dog for fleas and ticks after EVERY hike, or time spent outside (ears, mouth, neck, behind shoulder blades, under the chest, armpits, base of the tail, and undercarriage). Most transmittable diseases occur between 24-48 hours after bite. Store any removed ticks in grain alcohol, and take it in to your veterinarian for analysis.
STEP 2: HOMEOPATHY
Ledum Palustre (Led.) is an important remedy for puncture wounds from stings, bites, nail and thorn penetration, as well as tick-borne diseases. Ledum Palustre 200C is a very good, tried and true, homeopathic remedy that has proven to be a winner in the fight against tick-borne diseases. With Ledum, you don’t have to think about what kind of tick bit your dog. Ledum works to restore the body’s defense mechanism against all tick diseases.
Once the tick is properly removed (and stored in grain alcohol to take in to your vet for testing, if you still wish to), drop 2-3 pellets in 4oz of clean water. Dissolve for 5 minutes, shake well, and succuss (give the bottle a couple of firm thumps on your open hand). Draw up 1-2cc’s using a syringe, and drop on your pet’s tongue. You can also place the solution in a bowl or wide-mouthed cup. Give the remedy on a clean palate (no food should be the mouth). You don’t have to give it on an empty stomach, but just no food in the mouth so that it will absorb more quickly. It’s important to not mix into your pet’s food as it will hinder the effectiveness of the remedy. If you’re worried about the effectiveness, you can choose not to give any food 30 minutes before or after administration.
Dose 3 times a day for 3 days right after the tick is removed. If the tick was found after several days, then give 3 times a day for 3 days, then dose 2 times a day for a week. After the first week, dose twice weekly for a month, and then once per week for another month.
You can use Ledum prophylactically as well. Once you know that your dog is not infected, you can simply give Ledum once a week for prevention! If your dog does get bit by a tick during the season, Ledum will already be present in the body and will give your pet a leg up on the protocol.
I always recommend getting your dog tested for Lyme’s and other tick-borne diseases, especially following the treatment to ensure it’s been effective. If your pet tested positive to Lyme’s, following the protocol above is a great start, but depending on the severity of the case, other homeopathic or allopathic methods might be needed. Always consult with your homeopathic vet.
STEP 3: NATURAL DEWORMING
Raw pumpkin seeds are an excellent natural dewormer. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid called cucurbitin, which paralyzes and helps to eliminate the worms from the digestive tract. The downside of seeds is that they’re not very bioavailable.
Grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts contain anti-nutrients. The most notable one is called phytic acid or phytates. Humans, and animals with one stomach, are not able to digest phytic acid. Phytic acid inhibits the release of phosphorus and the absorption of other minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc. This can drastically affect the bioavailability of these nutrients.
The most common industrial method to remove phytic acid and its compounds is by milling it at high temperatures. This process also removes most of the nutritional fiber and minerals, leaving only a heap of nutrient-void carbohydrates. So, it would behoove you to avoid milled seeds.
In the natural world, most plants need moisture, warmth, and a light acidic environment to grow and germinate. These plants also contain an enzyme called phytase that is its natural way to neutralize phytic acid, releasing the phosphorus compounds. When we mimic this natural process through soaking, sprouting, fermenting, and roasting, we make these foods much easier to digest and increase nutrient bioavailability for absorption.
There are two ways that I recommend to remove phytic acid from seeds: soaking or fermenting.
Pink Himilayan or Sea salt will help create a more acidic environment and degrade the phytic acid. Soak for 8-24 hours. Rinse and blend into a paste.
Place 2 cups of raw seeds in a large glass bowl with clean water to cover. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Leave uncovered on the kitchen counter for about 8 hours or overnight.
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
3 cups filtered water
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
2 cups filtered water
10-12 tablespoons kefir whey
Ferment 24-48 hours
Feed 1 teaspoon per 10lbs body weight daily until the paste is gone. Refrigerate.
You can also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to ferment as well!
STEP 4: HEART WORM
The best preventative from heart worms is to PREVENT infected mosquitoes from landing on and biting your pet in the first place. Conventional heart worm medication does not prevent infection. It kills off worms once they’ve infected your pet.
Going the natural route for heart worm prevention is probably the most scary part of taking a holistic approach to prevention, and for good reason. It can be a very detrimental to your pet and a very expensive treatment.
Let’s first take a look at the mosquito life cycle so that we can better understand the process.
A female mosquito has to bite an animal that is already infected with heart worm. If that animal already has microfilariae circulating in their blood stream, that mosquito will ingest the microfilariae. Once they are inside the mosquito, it takes about 2 weeks or so for the microfilariae to develop into larvae. That same mosquito then has to bite another animal to infect it by transmitting these larvae into the other animal. The animal now has larvae in their tissue, where they will now mature and travel through the blood stream. In 50-70 days, they are now considered adolescent adults. From there, they will further travel into the pulmonary artery, where they will further develop into sexually mature adults. The earliest this will occur is about 70 days post infection. If left untreated, the animal will then become a carrier for the microfilariae, and the cycle will continue if it is bitten by a mosquito again.
Conventional heart worm medication does not prevent this cycle from happening. It just gives your pet a constant dose of insecticide in the rare case your pet ever gets infected.
Having a strong immune system is your pet’s best chance at preventing infection. Studies have shown that healthy immune systems have effectively attacked the infection altogether. However, just relying on the immune system isn’t quite good enough, which is why going the natural route to flea, tick, and heart worm prevention is very much a multifaceted approach.
There are several tinctures that have been used in heart worm prevention/treatment. I highly recommend using the instruction of a licensed holistic veterinarian for this, as some of these herbs are very strong and without proper instruction, can cause liver or kidney damage. There is an over the counter tincture made by Amber Naturalz that is easy to follow and many pet owners have had success with using.
The best thing you can do for you pet is to be proactive in their health. Look at what you’re putting in their bodies. Understand the life cycles of fleas, ticks, and heart worms. Understand the risk for your current geographical area. Keep your pets out of highly infested areas when possible. Use multiple resources to help you reach your goals with your pet’s health. Understand the risks of using conventional medications, and what they are actually doing inside the body, instead of listening to marketing schemes. If you choose that conventional is the best option for you, then use a milk thistle tincture in conjunction to support your pet during the dosing, and help to protect from liver and kidney damage.
Taking a holistic approach to flea, tick, and heart worm prevention is literally treating your pet from the inside out:
Use an internal supplement that helps to support the immune system and alter your pet’s scent to make them undesirable to insects.
Use a topical to help make your pet undesirable to insects.
Use an amber necklace that helps to thwart off insects.
Use holistic medicine as a treatment for diseases as well as using it prophylactically to prevent these diseases in the case your pet does come in contact with an infected tick.
Regularly deworm your pet to keep them healthy and thriving.
Enlist the help from a Canine Herbalist or a Holistic Veterinarian to help guide you through the process of using tinctures to protect or treat heart worm infection.
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