Food Additives For Natural Flea Control

Natural flea control is a healthy choice for your pet.

Most pet owners are aware of the pesky insect problem associated with owning a cat or dog. Fleas are irritating to both owners and pets, and serious skin ailments can occur in pets who are infested with fleas. While most commercial flea repellents contain toxic chemicals that can have an adverse effect on a pet, natural flea control through food is a viable and effective alternative.

History

Fleas are parasitic insects who survive from the blood of mammals. These wingless creatures have mouths capable of puncturing the skin and sucking blood from the host animal. Adult fleas reproduce quickly and frequently, and unless eliminated, they continue to thrive and multiply on their host, often jumping from host to host if more than one animal is available.

Significance

A pet’s reaction to a flea bite varies from animal to animal. Flea bites are painful to an animal and can cause intense discomfort at the puncture site. Secondary infections can result from excessive scratching. And in particularly sensitive animals, there may be an allergic reaction to the flea saliva, causing serious lesions to the skin. According to Pet Education, flea bites can transfer several types of diseases and parasites to the host animal, including tapeworm, typhus and plague.

Typical Flea Prevention

According to Earth Easy, each generation of fleas is more resilient and has an increased immunity to synthetic flea controls. As a result, pest control companies are increasing the amount of chemicals used within their products. Many flea elimination products contain ingredients that may be dangerous to humans, with the chemicals being particularly harmful to young pets and small children whose nervous systems are not fully developed. According to The Humane Society, in 2008, the Center for Public Integrity reported an estimated 1,600 pet fatalities were directly related to pyrethroids, the active ingredient in most pest control products.

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Prevention Through Odor

According to Natural Medicine, one of the oldest organic remedies to prevent fleas is garlic. One to three cloves of fresh garlic daily can be ground and mixed into a pet’s food. Another easy and safe way to add garlic to an animal’s diet is to purchase odorless tablets from a local health food store. This form of garlic can either be given to a pet whole, or it can be ground up and mixed into dried food. While the tablets themselves do not carry a discernible odor, fleas will detect a strong garlic scent exuded through the animal’s skin and be deterred from inhabiting the host animal. The effect of the garlic will be noticeable in approximately four weeks.

Vitamin B Supplementation

Brewer’s yeast is another natural additive that helps to repel fleas from a host animal. According to Mother Earth News, the key ingredient in brewer’s yeast is thiamine, better known as vitamin B. Fleas have a strong distaste for vitamin B. The standard dose of brewer’s yeast is 1 tsp. per day for cats and smaller dogs and 2 tsp. for medium-sized dogs. Very large breeds of dog can be given 1 tbsp. per day. The Brewer’s yeast can be mixed directly into a pet’s dry food. As with garlic, brewer’s yeast takes approximately one month to become noticeably effective.

Promoting Healthy Skin

Zinc is a dietary supplement that helps prevent fleas. Healthy skin is a key factor in preventing fleas. Fleas are naturally attracted to unhealthy skin because it is easier to extract blood from a thin, sickly layer of skin as opposed to a strong, healthy layer. According to Mother Earth News, adding zinc to an animal’s diet is directly related to the creation of healthy skin. But the typical diet of many cats and dogs is lacking in zinc. To supplement, animals should be given chelated zinc. Cats and small dogs require10 mg daily, and larger dogs require 20 mg. As with garlic and brewer’s yeast, the zinc can be added directly to a pet’s dry food.

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